Lactose intolerance is a common digestive disorder affecting many individuals worldwide. It occurs when the body lacks an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. What most people do not know is that dairy products contain many vital minerals and vitamins. Therefore, if you are lactose intolerant, it is important that you know how to obtain these vital nutrients to stay healthy.
recognizing the symptoms
The signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance can vary from person to person. They typically manifest within a few hours after consuming milk or dairy products. The most prominent symptoms may include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gas. Some individuals may also experience nausea, cramps, and rumbling sounds in the stomach.
It’s also essential to distinguish lactose intolerance from other conditions. For example, milk allergy is an immune system response to milk proteins, while lactose intolerance is a result of inadequate lactase enzyme activity. A dietitian can help you find out if you are lactose intolerant or if your symptoms have another cause.
what is the role of lactase?
Let’s delve into the intricate details and influence of lactose intolerance on our vitamin intake. Lactose, plays a role as an invaluable source of energy, especially for the growth and development of young people. It forms a dynamic duo of glucose and galactose and provides a tantalizing taste sensation in many dairy products. However, not everyone has an abundance of lactase enzymes, the essential catalysts responsible for breaking down lactose in our digestive system. If there is not enough of the lactase enzyme in your intestines it means that not all the lactose can be split. This cleavage is crucial, without it, lactose is fermented in the intestines. This results in unpleasant symptoms such as uncomfortable bloating, persistent cramps, and frequent, unwanted visits to the toilet.
lactose intolerance and vitamin deficiencies
Dairy products, like milk, cheese, and yogurt, are not just delicious but also nutrient powerhouses. They offer a wealth of essential nutrients, notably calcium, vital for strong bones, teeth, and overall skeletal health. Additionally, dairy provides vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B12 (cobalamin).
Vitamin B2 plays a role in energy production, cellular growth, and maintaining healthy skin and eyes. Vitamin B12 is crucial for red blood cell formation, the control of your muscles, and organ function. Deficiencies in these vitamins result in specific symptoms. Insufficient vitamin B2 intake leads to cracked mouth corners, inflamed tongue, dry and itchy skin, and light sensitivity. Insufficient vitamin B12 can cause fatigue, weakness, anemia, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, difficulty walking, and mood changes. By exploring alternative options, individuals can maintain optimal nutrition and overall well-being.
managing lactose intolerance
The primary treatment for lactose intolerance is to reduce or avoid foods and beverages containing lactose. However, completely eliminating dairy products from your diet can be challenging, as they are the most common source of essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin B12/B2.
Fortunately, there are several strategies for dealing with lactose intolerance and still getting enough nutrients:
lactase enzyme supplements are one of the most commonly used solutions for lactose intolerance. These supplements are optimal for breaking down lactose, enabling better digestion, and reducing symptoms.
- Lactose-Free Alternatives
Over the past few years, many new lactose-free or low-lactose products have entered the market. In these products, the lactose has already been broken down, making them easier to digest. If you put lactase drops in a lactose-rich product, you can also make low-lactose products yourself.
- Nutrient Substitutes
If you are allergic to dairy you must avoid dairy entirely, it is important to find alternative sources of calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, and other nutrients normally found in dairy. Fortified plant-based milk, leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds are excellent alternatives to consider. None of these alternatives has as many important nutrients as dairy products. Seek the advice of a dietician if you wish to follow a diet.
seeking professional guidance
If you suspect you have lactose intolerance or need help managing your symptoms, it is crucial to consult a dietician or health care provider. They can provide an accurate diagnosis, and personalized dietary recommendations and address any concerns you may have. A registered dietitian can also help you put together a balanced meal plan that meets your nutritional needs while keeping your lactose intolerance under control.
you are not alone
Living with lactose intolerance does not mean you have to sacrifice a healthy and enjoyable diet. By understanding your body’s response to lactose, adopting appropriate dietary adjustments, and exploring alternative food sources and fortified options, you can successfully manage your symptoms and ensure optimal nutrient intake. Here at Intoleran, we are your digestive experts. Our dietitians are always available to answer questions and help you further where they can. In addition to all the knowledge and lactose-free recipes we bring, we also have our products to manage the symptoms of intolerances.