Lactose Intolerance is a common problem with implications beyond the obvious bloating and flatulence. Some estimates place the figure as high as 75% of adults worldwide may have some degree of lactose intolerance. The problem occurs when the body lacks the ability to metabolize lactose. The symptoms may range from the discomfort of stomach pain, to nausea, diarrhea, ear infections and nasal congestion.
Testing can be done to get a more accurate diagnosis of the problem. Some of the common tests are the hydrogen breath test, blood test and the stool acidity test. If a dairy product is suspected of causing a negative health reaction, testing may be a good idea to distinguish between a lactose intolerance condition and a milk allergy. Milk allergies can be much more severe and may cause anaphylaxis, which can be a life threatening condition.
Dairy substitutes are available in the form of rice milk, soy milk and almond milk. If calcium and protein deficiency is a concern, you can substitute your dairy intake with nuts, seeds, grains and dark leafy green vegetables.
Some people believe that ingesting milk after weaning is unnecessary – unless by choice – and doesn’t carry the same nutritional and health benefits as plant based sources of protein and calcium.
Only humans consume milk after being weaned from their mother’s milk. Mother’s milk being the initial food source for the nourishment of babys, or calves in the case of cows’ milk. There is some thought that lactose intolerance is a natural reaction – or consequence – to the introduction of foreign matter into the human body.
Most animals do not consume milk into adulthood unless they are forced to drink it as a substitute for water. Although milk is 87% water, some of the other components in milk are the bacteria from feces, antibiotics, hormones and somatic cells.
Lactose intolerance, when considered alone is a condition that has workable solutions. Lactose-free product, dairy substitutes, or the complete elimination of dairy products can be considered. The choice to realize a healthier digestive tract is possible through diet and lifestyle choices.