August 05, 2013

Dealing With Lactose Intolerance

One of my sons never liked milk when he was growing up and now claims he is lactose intolerant.  For sure, it's no fun to have a stomach ache!  Lactose intolerance--a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the lining of the small intestine--causes an inability to fully digest the milk sugar in dairy products.  Signs and symptoms of lactase deficiency usually begin 30 minutes after eating or drinking foods that contain lactose.  They are:  diarrhea, nausea and sometimes vomiting, abdominal cramps, bloating and gas.  The condition can be congenital, or be the result of aging, or even the result of illness or injury.  The diagnosis can be made on the basis of symptoms or by means of blood tests.  There is no cure.  Relief is usually found by reducing the amount of ingested dairy products--smaller servings of dairy, saving milk for mealtimes, experimenting with an assortment of dairy products with varied amounts of lactose, or having lactose-reduced or lactose-free products.  Over the counter tablets or drops containing the lactose enzyme (Dairy Ease, Lactaid) taken before meals may aid in digestion.  Probiotics may also be of value.  It may  also be necessary, in consultation with a physician, to take calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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