Would you like to enjoy ice cream, a milkshake or a glass of chilled milk, but would you prefer to give up dairy products because of poor health? If you have unpleasant digestive problems after eating dairy products, you probably suffer from lactose intolerance.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose is milk sugar, for proper digestion of which we need an enzyme called lactase. It breaks down milk sugar lactose into simple sugars, glucose and galactose, which are absorbed from the intestine into the body. If lactose is not broken down, then when it is digested, there is an excess of gases and acids that cause problems.

Interestingly, infants dependent on breast milk have almost no deficiency of this enzyme (congenital absence of lactase is called alactasia), but its amount naturally decreases with age – problems with the digestion of dairy products are more pronounced in the elderly. Lactose intolerance is genetically determined, in some populations it is more common (Europe 5-17%, USA 44%, Africa and Asia up to 80%). In addition, lactose intolerance may be temporary – for example, after an infectious diarrheal disease. In this case, it will subside over time.

Lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerance and cow’s milk allergy (ABKM)
Lactose intolerance is often confused with cow’s milk allergy, as both problems may have similar symptoms. However, unlike allergies to cow’s milk proteins, lactose intolerance is not an immune response of the body. Milk allergy is an immune response to proteins, and lactose intolerance is the “only” inability to digest milk sugar. In addition to digestive symptoms, cow’s milk allergy also includes skin problems (urticaria) or respiratory diseases (cough, runny nose, shortness of breath). Allergy to cow’s milk proteins is usually a childhood problem and usually disappears before children go to school. As we have already said, lactose intolerance, on the other hand, also occurs in the elderly.

What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
In the case of lactose intolerance, after drinking milk (for about two hours), typical digestive problems occur:

Flatulence, bloating, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea
In rare cases, lactose intolerance and constipation may be a manifestation.
In addition to digestive symptoms, lactose intolerance may be less noticeable, then there are symptoms such as fatigue, depressed mood, pain in the extremities, internal restlessness, dizziness, sudden sweating, headaches, exhaustion, nervousness, sleep disorders, acne or disorders. concentration. In general, lactose intolerance can significantly reduce the quality of life.

Exclusion of dairy products from the diet is not an option
The exclusion of dairy products from the diet may seem to be the simplest solution to the problem of lactose intolerance. However, this is not necessary, besides dairy products are an indispensable source of protein, vitamins and especially calcium, which is important at any age for a good condition of bones and teeth. This is due to the fact that a certain amount of lactose is usually tolerated, and if you choose suitable dairy products and monitor the amount consumed, you can enjoy them – for example, fermented dairy products or some cheeses (for example, cheddar, mozzarella, emmental), which have a naturally low lactose content (lactose is naturally consumed by lactic acid bacteria during their production). Another option is to directly choose products marked “low in lactose”.

Help from the pharmacy for lactose intolerance
Fortunately, we live in a time that, thanks to scientific knowledge, helps to cope with many of our ailments. Of course, you should not deny yourself the enjoyment of dairy delicacies one hundred percent. If you are lactose intolerant , you can buy a drug at the pharmacy that will help fill in the missing lactase . In addition to lactase supplements, prebiotics and probiotics also contribute to better lactose tolerance – foods that positively affect the composition of the intestinal microbiota, which is usually important for proper digestion.


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