Lactose intolerance is a condition that involves reduced ability of the body to digest the sugar lactose, which can be found in various milk products. While it does not usually damage the gastrointestinal tract, the severity of the condition is dependent to the amount of food or beverage a person consumes.
According to Mayo Clinic, lactose intolerance happens when the small intestine does not produce sufficient enzyme lactase to digest the milk sugar lactose. As per the publication, being lactase deficient means that the lactose from the food moves into the colon, rather than being processed and absorbed by the cells. Meanwhile, interaction happens between normal flora and the undigested lactose, which leads to the signs and symptoms of the condition.
As per Medscape, as high as 25 percent of the white population (prevalence in those from southern European roots) is approximated to have lactose intolerance. On the other hand, according to the publication, the prevalence of lactose intolerance is about 75 to 90 percent among Asian American, Native American, and black population. On a global scale, three-fourth is approximated as lactose-deficient. In general, the condition is usual among African, Asian, and South American populations. In terms of gender, both males and females are equally affected by lactose intolerance; but then, 44 percent is capable of digesting lactose during pregnancy. A predetermined cause is delayed intestinal transit and bacterial adaptation during pregnancy.
Signs and Symptoms
Lactose intolerance has the following symptoms. According to Web MD, the symptoms include pain, rumbling sounds or cramps in the lower belly, bloating, loose stools or diarrhea, and vomiting. The symptoms usually begin half and two hours after drinking milk and the severity of the condition is dependent on the volume of food or beverage consumed.
While lactase supplementation is part of the management of lactose intolerance, the following home remedies are also considered.
Alternatives for milk are seen as remedies for lactose intolerance. According to Top 10 Home Remedies, these include soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, and hemp milk, among others. They may be added to food choices like puddings and certain baked foods, as per the publication. Also, the person starts with small amounts and the best choices are the ones with vitamin D-fortified plant-based milks and calcium.
Lemon juice also serves as a remedy for lactose intolerance. According to Authority Remedies, it relieves the stomachache caused by lactose intolerance. To apply, lemon juice is added to warm water. Then, the solution is mixed with a little honey to improve the taste. The mixture is consumed before meals.
Another remedy for lactose intolerance is kefir. According to Vkool, it may be used as a probiotic to preserve the health of the digestive system. As per the publication, researchers learned that both kefir and yogurt have the power to manage lactose digestion and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance. In a survey, the participants who consumed reported that they had less the half flatulence frequency, as compared to those who drank milk. Kefir also contains high amounts of minerals like potassium, protein, and calcium, along with live bacterial cultures, which help break down lactose in the digestive system. In terms of consumption, half cup of kefir milk is prepared and consumed daily. The volume may increase overtime, depending on how the person tolerates it.
Lactose intolerance is less severe than gastrointestinal complications like gastric ulcer or colon cancer. However, it places discomfort to the person. Thus, medical consult may be necessary for proper assessment, planning, and implementation of interventions like home remedies.