Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, the sugar primarily found in milk and dairy product. Lactose intolerance has been recognized for many years as a common problem in many children and most adults throughout the world. Lactose intolerance is caused by the decreased production or absence of the enzyme lactase (beta D galactosidase). Lactose has an important role in human nutrition. It appears to enhance the absorption of several minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and zinc. It also promote the colonic growth of Bifidobacterium and is the sources of galactose, which is an essential nutrient for the formation of cerebral galactolipids.

Common symtoms of lactose intolerance which may range from mild to severe include nausea, cramps, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea. These symptoms of latose intolerance begin about 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating or drinking foods containing lactose. The severity lactose intolerance symptoms depends on many factors, including the amount of lactose a person can tolerate and a person's age, ethnicity, and digestion rate.

Medical nutrition with healthy food therapy
Lactose intolerance has no cure and no treatment can improve the body's ability to produce lactase, but symptoms on lactose intolerance can be controlled through diet management. Dietary control of lactose intolerance depends on
individual's learning through trial and error how much lactose the person can tolerate. The symptoms of lactose intolerance are alleviated by the following ways :
a. Dietary restriction
1. Avoidance of milk and other lactose containing foods
2. Foods containing lactose
Although milk snd fodds mode from milk are the only natural sources of lactose sugar, it is often added to prepared foods. Food product that may contain lactose are : breads and other baked goods, margarine, salad dressing, candies and other snacks, etc.
3. Lactose free formulas
4. Lactose free, lactose reduced milk

b. Oral lactase-replacement therapy
For those who react to very small amounts of lactose or have trouble to limit their lactose containing food intake, the lactase enzyme is available witout a prescription to help them digest lactose containing food. The lactase enzyme available as tablets are taken with the first bite of diary food.
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