what is lactose?
Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. It is a valuable source of energy and nutrition and plays a major role in your daily diet. Lactose is broken down in the small intestine. There, the lactase enzyme splits lactose into glucose and galactose so that the intestinal wall can absorb it. When too little of the lactase enzyme is present, lactose cannot be split so it cannot be absorbed in the small intestine.
what foods contain lactose?
Lactose is primarily present in dairy products but can also be found in other processed foods. Here are some common sources of lactose:
- Milk products like yogurt, custard, and quark
- Cheese, (primarily younger cheeses like cottage cheese and cream cheese)
- Cookies and cake
- Ice cream and milkshakes
- Whipped cream and other types of cream
There are also a lot of other products that contain lactose, but often in small amounts. There are even several types of medication that contain lactose.
Note that even in “lactose-free” (dairy) products there is often still a small amount of lactose present.
how to deal with lactose?
If you experience lactose intolerance, you can manage your diet effectively with these strategies:
- Lactase Supplements: Lactase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose. Lactase supplements can help individuals with lactose intolerance digest lactose more easily. Taking these supplements before consuming lactose-containing foods can alleviate symptoms.
- Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you suspect lactose intolerance or struggle with managing your diet, it’s essential to seek advice from a healthcare professional. They can provide personalized guidance, recommend appropriate tests, and offer dietary recommendations tailored to your specific needs.
- Lactose-Free Alternatives: The market offers a wide range of lactose-free products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. These products have the lactose removed or broken down, making them suitable options for individuals with lactose intolerance.
exploring lactase supplements
When dealing with lactose intolerance, finding effective strategies is key to managing your symptoms. Lactase supplements, containing the crucial enzyme responsible for lactose digestion can be a valuable ally. Here are three common types:
- Lactase Capsules: Encapsulated lactase enzymes provide a targeted approach to lactose digestion. Take one capsule with a glass of water just before consuming foods or drinks that contain lactose. This aids in the digestion of lactose and helps alleviate discomfort.
- Lactase Drops: These liquid supplements offer convenient dosing and can be easily added to lactose-containing foods or beverages. Simply add the recommended number of drops based on the lactose content of the item you want to consume. Wait 24 hours and a minimal 80% of the lactose is out of your product.
- Once-a-Day Lactase Pills: Designed for daily use, these pills contain probiotic strains that produce the lactase enzyme as a by-product in your small intestine. Take one lactase pill in the morning to combat potential symptoms you may experience after consuming dairy products.
conquering lactose intolerance
So, if you find that lactose poses a risk of gas in your stomach, it’s important to be mindful of your dietary choices. Remember, lactose is commonly found in dairy products, as well as some processed foods and medications. Opting for lactase supplements, lactose-free cooking, and plant-based milk alternatives can help you manage lactose intolerance more effectively.