Dairy and Lactose Intolerances
Dairy and lactose intolerance.
As a naturopath I often see people who tell me they are lactose intolerant, only to heal their gut, choose good foods and they are good to go again! So for the love of dairy, let’s get educated 😉
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is an enzyme deficiency. People who are lactose intolerant lack the lactase enzyme, which is needed to break down lactose (milk sugar) into simple sugars for digestion. Without the lactase, the undigested lactose makes its way into the large intestines causing digestive upset.
- Some people just naturally lack the enzyme, this can be from birth or develop as they get older. This is when dairy specific digestive enzymes containing protease and tilactase are your best friend!
- Damage to the intestinal lining which is responsible for producing lactase in the gut.
- Dysbiosis: certain bacteria produce lactase that helps breakdown and absorb lactose. If your gut doesn’t have these species (lactobacillius & bifidobacteria) or you have too many bad ones over powering the good guys you may struggle digesting dairy. This is the same problem for those with Small Intestinal Bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) etc.
- Raw (unpasteurised) milk contains lactase enzyme to help breakdown lactose. Problem is in our endeavour to kill all bacteria by heating (pasteurising) kills off the lactase, making commercial milk harder for people to digest. Problem is in Australia it is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption. So best bet, buy a dairy cow 🙂
Dairy allergies are different altogether and are common in around 5% of young children with symptoms such as itchy skin, hives, rashes, diarrhoea, stomach pains. If someone has an actual dairy allergy, they have an allergy to the protein and staying away from dairy all together is best. If someone decides to have some dairy or accidentally has some, a dairy digestive enzyme may reduce the symptoms and damage to the gut.
Not allergic but want to eat dairy?
1. Avoid short term
- Cut out all dairy products for 1 week
- Take notice of any changes to digestion, skin or sinuses?
2. Heal your gut
- Eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, coconut yoghurt
- Take a digestive enzyme, gut healing powder and a probiotic (ask your health care professional for specific strains).
3. Reintroduce with good forms
- Greek yoghurt, A2 milk, cheese and butter are easier to digest so start with these. Make sure when choosing your products you read the label and avoid colours, flavours and additives as these are often a cause of digestive symptoms as well
DID YOU KNOW? 😉
Many people with a dairy intolerance react to A1 casein. This is commonly present in our high-producing cows for dairy farming in Australia. Milk that is exclusively A2 has been shown not to produce the inflammatory response of A1. So milk from jersey cows as well as goats are traditionally A2, so worth trying for those struggling with commercial dairy. It is said the Australian dairy industry switched to A1 producing cows in the 1970’s which explains why everyone back then drank glasses of milk without problems.
- As we’ve discussed, dairy products can be pretty hard to digest and can be difficult to source quality products and be expensive. As well as many health conditions doing better off it all together. So keeping dairy as a minor part of the diet is a good idea
- Switching to dairy free milks (like coconut milk) in cooking/baking
- Try water, coconut water, or dairy free milk in smoothies
- Have dairy free milk or yoghurt for breakfast
- Downsizing your flat white (Large < Regular, Regular < Small)
- Switching your second flat white to an almond milk one
- Dark chocolate has less dairy than milk chocolate
If you have done all this and find that dairy still causes digestive symptoms, don’t despair. Indulging in that chocolate for special occasions or holidays like Easter and Christmas can still be done with a dairy specific digestive enzyme formula containing tilactase and protease. Taken when you are about to consume dairy (or after if you have forgotten), this will give your body the enzymes it needs to break it down, causing you less symptoms! Winner!
Love Alissa & Kristyn ❤
**Always read the label. Follow the Directions for Use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. This medicine may not be right for you. Read the warnings before purchase.**