We all love ice creams and cold refreshing milkshake smoothies, especially in hot weather. It’s hard to digest the fact that there are people who cannot enjoy milkshake smoothies and ice creams because their body is not capable of allowing them. This food sensitivity is known as lactose intolerance. When you are intolerant to lactose, also known as dairy sensitivity, your body starts to show some symptoms after consuming milk and milk products. There are chances to have dairy sensitivity if you take a glass of milk and after a while, your body starts to show unusual symptoms. Symptoms can include diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, abdominal pain, eczema, and sometimes a runny nose. It can either be lactose intolerance or milk allergy depending upon the symptoms. Read on to learn more about dairy sensitivity and its symptoms.
Dairy and dairy products:
Dairy is a term for milk which obtain from mammals. The majority of dairy goods derive from cow’s milk. However, some dairy products are made from sheep, goats, and certain other animals’ milk. Dairy products are a great source of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. These vitamins and minerals are vital to human health.
Milk has been used by humans since the beginning of recorded time to provide both fresh and storable nutritious foods. It is an essential component of the diets of ~6 billion people. The world production of milk reaches 730 million tons/year. Yes! That’s a lot of production and consumption. Milk is a liquid and is commonly seen as a drink that includes between 12-13% total solids. Therefore, it should be classified as food. In contrast, many “solid” vegetables, such as tomatoes, carrots, and lettuce contain more than 6% solids.
Dairy products are products made with milk. A list of dairy products includes:
- Ice cream
- Condensed milk
- Dried milk.
What is dairy sensitivity?
There’s a great deal of discussion about “Dairy sensitivity,” but it basically refers to a non-allergic reaction to dairy products. When we talk about dairy sensitivity, we normally mean lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is considerably more common than an allergy to a dairy protein (whey or casein).
It is possible to experience a non-allergic, non-intolerance-related reaction to milk if it is spoiled or if you consume too much of it. However, the medical explanations for a person’s inability to consume dairy products are lactose intolerance and milk allergy. Dairy sensitivity is just a broader term.
Difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy:
Basically, dairy sensitivity is when a person consumes milk; its body reacts as a result of histamine production. This histamine release response to milk protein i.e., casein, or whey. And its symptoms include gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, runny nose, fatigue, rashes, eczema, etc. These symptoms can occur immediately or they can delay by several days depending upon the type of sensitivity. Dairy sensitivity can occur due to some reasons like lactose intolerance and milk allergy.
The immune system of our body involves milk allergy. The body will react to milk proteins and consider them harmful foreign bodies. This allergic reaction might range from moderate to severe (rashes, trouble breathing, and loss of consciousness). Dairy allergies are common in children. 2 in every 100 children under 4 years old are allergic to milk.
Now, let’s talk about lactose intolerance, which is a prevalent dairy sensitivity.
Lactose is a carbohydrate (or sugar) found in dairy products. When we consume dairy products, lactose is generally broken down by an enzyme called lactase. Lactase produces the lining of the small intestine.
If you lack the enzyme lactase, you will be “lactose intolerant.” Lactose intolerance affects the digestive tract in the following ways: If you have it, your body does not produce the enzyme lactase, which is required for lactose digestion. Instead of digesting lactose normally in your stomach and small intestine, undigested lactose goes into your colon where it is broken down by bacteria and produces bloating and gas. It’s irritating, but, it’s not harmful. Lactose intolerance causes gastrointestinal pain, bloating, or diarrhea within 30-120 minutes of dairy consumption.
Lactose intolerance is common in grownups, with around 30 million Americans suffering from it by the age of 20.
Symptoms of dairy sensitivity:
Bloating is caused by an increase in water and gas in the colon. This causes a stretch in the gut wall, also known as distention.
The cells lining the colon cannot absorb carbohydrates such as lactose, but they can be broken down and fermented by microflora. Microflora is the naturally occurring bacteria that live there. This fermentation causes the release of short-chain fatty acids, as well as the gasses hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide. The resulting increase in acids and gasses can lead to stomach pain and cramps. This stomach pain and bloating can cause nausea and vomiting in some people.
Diarrhea is defined as frequent stools with increased volume and liquidity. It is more common in babies and toddlers as compared to adults. Lactose intolerance causes diarrhea by increasing the volume of water in the colon, which increases the volume and liquid content of the stool.
The colon microflora of a lactose intolerant person becomes efficient at fermenting lactose into acids and gasses. This results in more lactose being fermented in the colon, which further increases the production of the gasses hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide and hence, resulting in increased flatulence.
The amount of gas production varies from person to person due to variations in the efficiency of the microflora along with the rate of gas reabsorbing in the colon.
Constipation is another rare indication of lactose intolerance; it is very less common than diarrhea. It characterizes by hard, infrequent stools accompanied by bloating and discomfort. As bacteria in the colon ferment undigested lactose, they produce methane gas. Methane is thought to slow down the time it takes food to move through the gut, leading to constipation in some people. This effect is seen in some people suffering from IBS and bacterial overgrowth.
Things to do if you have symptoms:
Not all people with malabsorption have lactose intolerance. It is really important to get yourself checked by a health professional before eliminating dairy from your diet because symptoms of dairy sensitivity can be general and overlapping. Many people think that they have lactose intolerance because of the symptoms they’ve experienced, but, they absorb lactose normally.
Genetic test for lactose intolerance: The lactose intolerance genetic test looks for four genetic variations that control the production of the enzyme, lactase. If the variations are present (lactase persistence), then a lack of lactase is likely to be temporary or the symptoms are due to some other cause.
Hydrogen breath test: Health professionals often diagnose lactose intolerance using the hydrogen breath test. This method involves ingesting 50 grams of lactose and testing increased levels of hydrogen in the breath, which are caused by bacteria fermenting lactose in the colon.
Lactose tolerance test: Lactose intolerance can be addressed with different amounts of lactose. According to research, many people may consume 12 grams of lactose, the amount in around 1 cup of milk, without experiencing symptoms or relatively moderate symptoms. Keeping tolerability in mind, you might not have to avoid all lactose-containing meals and beverages, such as milk or milk products.
- Drink tiny amounts of milk at a time with meals.
- Add a little milk and milk products to your diet one at a time and watch how you feel.
- Consume yogurt and hard cheeses, such as cheddar or Swiss, which contain less lactose than other milk products.
- Lactase preparations can be used to aid in the digestion of lactose found in milk and milk products.
No need to worry, if this is not working for you and you are still experiencing symptoms. But, if you actually have dairy sensitivity, then eliminating some dairy products will help you in managing your symptoms. Some people may experience symptoms even if they are avoiding milk.
Products hiding lactose:
There are some products hiding lactose in it such as:
- Candy, including milk chocolate
- biscuit, and cookie mixes
- Salad dressings and sauces
- Baked products
One must read the nutrition labels before using such products. Dairy products are not a mandatory part of our lives. You can still have a balanced diet without dairy products and fulfill your nutritional requirements. Dairy products are rich in calcium. But we other calcium-rich sources that well tolerate people suffering from dairy sensitivity or lactose intolerance.
Many foods that do not contain lactose are also sources of calcium. Examples include:
- Fish with soft bones, such as canned salmon or sardines
- Broccoli and leafy green vegetables
- Almonds, Brazil nuts
- dried beans
- Products with labels that show they have added calcium, such as some cereals, fruit juices, and soy milk
Good sources of calcium that include green vegetables such as spinach and green cabbage, calcium-enriched products and mineral water should be added to your diet. Aged cheeses such as parmesan or older Gouda also contain a lot of calcium along with Apricots, and kiwis which should be a part of your diet. Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium. Be sure to eat foods that contain vitamin D, such as eggs, and certain kinds of fish, such as salmon
Health should be our priority. We must keep looking for things that are built to support our health such as HealthCodes DNA. HealthCodes DNA’s genetic test for lactose intolerance coupled with lifestyle health coaching and consultations will facilitate you in diagnosing your problem and providing solutions. After getting the results of your test, you can easily start following a new diet and take a step towards a better lifestyle.