Lactose intolerance: symptoms and natural remedies

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Lactose intolerance: symptoms and natural remedies
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Lactose intolerance is caused by a lactase deficiency, an enzyme which allows our body to digest milk.  When the lactose is not transformed into glucose or glactose by the lactase, it then starts to ferment in the intestine which provokes uncomfortable digestive symptoms.  What are these symptoms and what alternative products exist? 

What are the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?

Symptoms can vary from one person to the next and can depend on the amount of lactose that you have absorbed.  Here are the main reported symptoms by people who are intolerant to lactose which generally appear between 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingesting products which contain lactose:

  • Gas;
  • Bloating ;
  • Abdominal cramps; 
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea
  • V omitting;
  • Headaches;
  • Fatigue;
  • Muscular and joint pain etc.

In Britain 30 to 50% of adults suffer from incomplete lactose digestion . If you experience many of these symptoms or if any of them are very common or troublesome, consult your doctor.

What causes this intolerance?

For young infants, lactose intolerance is very uncommon.   If a child does suffer from an intolerance it is very rare illness called congenital lactase deficiency.

  • For children: Some can suffering from a temporary lactose intolerance after suffering from gastroenteritis.  However their intolerance will stop when the intestinal mucous heals.
  • For adults: Lactase activity decreases progressively with age, due to a normal adaptation diverse diet and not to an illness.

The intolerance threshold for most people who are lactose intolerant is relatively high so that a reasonable consumption of dairy products provokes no digestive symptom.  (This could be a bowl of milk per day as an example).  Sometimes this intolerance can be associated with a problem with the small intestine like coeliac disease, gastroenteritis, giardiasis or Crohn’s disease which can sometimes take several weeks to cure

Be careful not to confuse a lactose intolerance with an allergy to milk proteins as this is rarer and can be more serious.  This allergy provokes digestive, respiratory and dermatological symptoms.  In contrast to a lactose intolerance, this allergy can lead to serious complications.

How to avoid a shortage of calcium?

People intolerant to lactose should find alternative sources of calcium from non-dairy products.  So as to help you out, here is a list of ingredients that are rich in vegetable calcium:

  • Kale (150 g) : 195 mg of calcium
  • Spinach (150 g) : 156 mg
  • Broccoli (150 g) : 114 mg
  • Cooked white beans (150 g) : 90 mg
  • Cress (50 g) : 79 mg
  • Dried almonds (30 g) : 75 mg
  • Celeriac: 60 mg
  • Green beans (150 g) : 60 mg
  • Three dried figs (40 g) : 64 mg
  • One orange (130 g) : 52 mg

Vegetable milks

You can also replace dairy products with vegetable milks.  Here is a sort list of the types of milk that you can buy instead:

  • Rice Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Spelled Milk
  • Wheat Milk
  • Millet Milk
  • Buckwheat Milk
  • Quinoa Milk
  • Barley Milk
  • Soya milk
  • Chickpea Milk
  • Peanut Milk
  • Sunflower Seed Milk
  • Sesame Milk
  • Hemp Milk
  • Linseed Milk
  • Pumpkin Seed Milk
  • Chestnut Milk


Related articles:

Lactose intolerance: at least 10 symptoms to watch out for

Soya milk: Is it good for your baby’s health?

What foods should you avoid when you are ill?