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Lactose intolerance: Why neglecting disease is dangerous

Lactose intolerance: Why neglecting disease is dangerous What you should now about lactose intolerance (Photo: Freepik)

Lactose intolerance most often develops in adulthood. The allergist Ohga Tarnavska shared some information about this condition and said who is most susceptible to it, reports RBC-Ukraine.

People who have lactose intolerance may ignore symptoms for a long time and may not even suspect that their unpleasant reactions are due to dairy products.

Facts to know about lactose intolerance

"Lactase is an enzyme produced in the small intestine. Symptoms of lactose intolerance usually begin 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming products containing lactose. Common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, and gas," explains the doctor.

The reason for these symptoms is that lactase converts milk sugar into glucose and galactose, which are absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal lining.

"If you have a lactase deficiency, lactose in food moves to the colon instead of being processed and absorbed. In the colon, normal bacteria interact with undigested lactose, causing symptoms of lactose intolerance," says Tarnavska.

Factors inducing lactose intolerance

Here are some facts about the disease including factors that can make a person more prone to lactose intolerance include:

  • typically, this problem arises in adulthood and is rare in children
  • the most common occurrence is among people of African, Asian, Latin American, and American ethnicities, as well as among Indians
  • premature infants may have reduced lactase levels because the small intestine does not develop lactase-producing cells until late in the third trimester
  • the presence of conditions affecting the small intestine
  • problems with the small intestine that can cause lactose intolerance include bacterial overgrowth, celiac disease, and Crohn's disease.

How lactose intolerance is treated

"The treatment depends on the cause and severity of the symptoms," says the allergist.

A doctor may recommend the following things:

  • exclusion of dairy products from the diet Implementation of a special diet
  • gradual reintroduction of dairy products in combination with others
  • consumption of food in small portions
  • replacement of dairy products with soy milk or soy cheese
  • consumption of products with lactose
  • consumption of yogurt with live bacteria
  • addition of calcium-containing (almonds, broccoli, leafy greens, grains) and vitamin D-containing (oil, egg yolks, liver) foods to the diet
  • taking lactase enzyme supplements

Can healthy individuals consume lactose-free products?

Healthy individuals can consume lactose-free products, especially those made at home, explains the doctor.

"However, if the product is purchased at a supermarket, it is necessary to carefully read the product label because synthetic elements are often included in the composition, and there is nothing beneficial for our body - neither nutrients nor trace elements. Overall, this is almost 80% chemicals. Consequently, the body may react with an allergic reaction to such a product," says Tarnavska.

Earlier, a dietitian shared information about food that you should consume to maintain healthy joints.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.