Lactose Intolerance • Natural Home Remedies

Lactose Intolerance refers to the inability to digest lactose, which is a component of milk.and some other dairy products, due to lack of the enzyme lactase.

Lactose Intolerance - Image of milk spilling over almonds

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling worse after ingestion of lactose-containing foods
  • Gas
  • Headaches
  • Pain or cramps
  • Rumbling sounds in the intestines
  • Vomiting

PREVALENCE

The NCBI estimates that about 75% of the world’s population loses the ability to digest lactose at some point. Asian countries may have the highest rate of lactose intolerance.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

After tests to rule out other gastrointestinal problems, your doctor may suggest you eliminate or reduce ingesting of foods that contain lactose.

SELF TREATMENT

DIET

A healthy immune system and hormonal balance are the first lines of defense against physical disorders. For a healthy system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent nutrition plan.

The easiest way to relieve your symptoms is to reduce or eliminate all lactose-containing foods from your diet, which may include soups, dairy creamers and other prepared foods, as well as milk and yogurt.

FOODS THAT YOU MAY TOLERATE OR THAT MAY HELP

  • Almond milk
  • Anti-inflammatory foods
  • Bone broth
  • Coconut Kefir
  • Coconut oil
  • Cottage cheese
  • Fermented dairy
  • Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, Kvass, Kombucha, coconut kefir)
  • Ghee may improve digestive function
  • Goat’s milk
  • Hard, aged cheeses
  • Lactaid milk
  • Oat milk
  • Rice milk

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID OR REDUCE

  • Lactose-containing foods
  • Yogurt consumption should be reduced but you may not have to eliminate it.

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Apple Cider Vinegar in water
  • Chamomile tea
  • Gentian root tea
  • Ginger
  • Green tea
  • Lemon juice before meals
  • Pau d’Arco
  • Peppermint tea
  • Rice tea

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Cumin seeds
  • Fennel seeds (chew some seeds before and after meals with lactose)
  • Ginger
  • Licorice root (caution for pregnancy(
  • Saffron is said to eliminate gas formation and pain (caution for pregnancy)
  • Turmeric

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically on your skin in a carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, etc.) or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress. Find recipes for blends on the web or create your own.

  • DeGize (commercial blend)
  • Fennel
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Cocoa powder may aid in digestion of lactose; have a spoonful before a meal
  • Lactase enzyme
  • Lactase, taken with offending foods
  • Magnesium
  • Prebiotic
  • Probiotics
  • Mary’s Thistle
  • Vitamin K if you are deficient

HYDRATION

Adequate hydration is necessary for healthy digestion. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½-1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

Exercise keeps the pelvic floor muscles strong and will help in peristalsis to move food through your digestive tract. That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

SLEEP

Studies show that lack of quality sleep affects the production of disease-fighting antibodies. If you wake in the morning after 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep feeling unrested, you aren’t getting enough sleep or you have an underlying health condition.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Avoid dairy with fish or fresh fruit (Ayurveda).
  • Check food labels on processed foods.
  • Drink raw milk, which may be more tolerable..
  • Eat grass-fed versions of dairy products whenever possible (for the CLA and K2).
  • Eat other foods together with dairy foods.
  • Eating yogurt with live bacteria (esp. bifidobacterium longum) which may produce lactase and promote the growth of lactase in the colon. Try eating a few spoonfuls of yogurt with each meal.
  • It may help to build up a tolerance by having just a little dairy at each meal but avoid having it without other foods.
  • Most people with lactose intolerance are able to digest some dairy products without excessive discomfort.  Trial and error will show you what you can and cannot tolerate.  Your problems with digestion may well lie elsewhere, as with IBS or Celiac Disease.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

If you give up dairy, be sure to eat other calcium-rich foods or take supplements.

NOTES

  • People with Crohn’s or celiac diseases often have trouble with lactose.  While estimates report up to 75% of people (in the world) have too little lactase (in varying degrees), true and severe lactose intolerance may be quite rare and is rarely diagnosed by medical tests.  African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, or Native Americans appear more likely to suffer.
  • Dairy is an important source of calcium in the western diet and also of Vitamin K2.  Dairy is the primary source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is thought to contain anti-cancer properties.
  • As we age, we produce less lactase, leading to intolerance.  This condition also can result from cancer treatments, surgery or other illnesses.
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