We have all heard of that wonderful little thing called ‘lactose’ and I’m pretty sure you have come across many people who both are and claim to be lactose intolerant. In this article I will aim to briefly get an understanding as to what lactose actually is and what being intolerant to this actually could mean.
First off if we look at what lactose is. Lactose, simple is a sugar, found mostly within cow milk and actually built up of two different sugars, glucose and galactose and is broken down in the small intestine by an enzyme called lactase where it can be readily absorbed into the blood stream.
When we hear of people being lactose intolerant this is simply meaning that there is a lack of the enzyme lactase and the body struggles to break down this lactose into a form which is able to be utilised by the body. This can lead to very uncomfortable side effects such as nausea, headaches and migraines, cramps, bloatedness, diarrhoea and gas amongst other things.
Some people will also cross lactose intolerance with an actual allergy to cows milk, lactose intolerance is not an allergy and is simply the lack of the required enzyme and through not being able to digest the lactose that has been taken.
What causes Lactose intolerance?
You may have inherited a form of lactose intolerance, passed down through generations of the families.
You can develop an intolerance at different times of life at any age however the two forms of inherited intolerance are Primary Lactase deficiency which is basically low levels of lactase in the small intestine and can develop at any age and also congenital lactase deficiency which is a complete lack of lactase from birth.
Developmental Lactase deficiency – when a baby is born it could temporarily have an intolerance to lactose meaning that time is needed for the required amount of lactase to build up within the digestive system.
Secondary Lactase deficiency – this can happen at anytime and is caused by something disrupting the stomach lining for example a stomach infection, or maybe a reaction to a certain medication.
How can we treat lactose intolerance?
Many forms of lactose free products are becoming more and more readily available in the supermarkets, different forms of milk, yoghurts, desserts. This is always good to know if you suffer from an intolerance but do beware that these substitutes may be less nutritious than the original cow’s milk.
Secondary lactase deficiency may need to be more focused in treatment, things such as a drip may be needed in order to feed the nutrients to the body if the stomach lining is that bad.
Overall it is being aware of the fact of lactose is in the foods that we eat and looking out for these within the foods we consume. Some foods to watch out for may be:
And even tablets that we take also.
One reason I have touched on the lactose subject is once again looking at performance as per my previous gluten article. If your body is not able to digest the nutrients that what is the point in consuming these? If you are able to digest more nutrients, performance increases, gains are made, targets are hit and goals are smashed.
Look after your body, you are what you eat. On that note, it is treat day where did I put my chocolate? :)
As always if you would like any tailored training plans, specific to needs or diet requirements, fat loss, muscle gain, dairy free, gluten free and anything else give me a shout and we will be able to work something out specific to yourselves email@example.com or follow me on twitter @OJayPT.