Understanding Lactose Intolerance

Have you loved treats and foods made with dairy your whole life? Do you find that when you sit down for a bowl of cold cereal in the morning, or have a helping of macaroni and cheese for dinner, you often end up dealing with abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or even the feeling that you might vomit? These are all symptoms of lactose intolerance, an annoying condition that makes it hard for some people to digest dairy products. Lactose intolerance is a common health condition affecting many people of all ages, all over the world.

What You Need To Know About Lactose Intolerance

Although you might only notice the symptoms of lactose intolerance when you try to consume cheese, milk, ice cream or other food products made up primarily of dairy, it isn't exactly the dairy that's causing you to suffer. Lactose intolerance is a term used to describe people that have an inability or inadequate ability for the digestion of lactose, which is a sugar that is found in milk and products that are made from milk. Normally, people have an enzyme in their small intestine called lactase, which helps them to break down these sugars into simply forms of glucose that can be absorbed by the body. When this enzyme isn't available, or isn't produced in large enough quantities by the body, there's a good chance that individuals will start to experience symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Figuring Out the Causes of Lactose Intolerance

Because it's hard to tell whether or not your body is producing the right amounts of lactase over time, it can be difficult for people to understand the causes of lactose intolerance. Some things you should know:

  • Primary lactase deficiency usually begins about the age of two, when the body naturally starts producing less lactase (as result of weaning).
  • Children with a lactase deficiency typically lack symptoms of lactose intolerance until their teenage years or adulthood.
  • Some doctors think there may be a genetic link between parents with lactose intolerance and children who will develop symptoms of lactose intolerance, but this is still under research.
  • Secondary lactase deficiency results from injury or illness in the small intestine. Celiac disease, diarrheal illness, Crohn's disease, or chemotherapy can all be triggers for this type of lactose intolerance, which is more commonly seen in infancy.

Can Probiotics Provide Lactose Intolerance Treatment?

People who suffer from symptoms of lactose intolerance are usually desperate to find a way to be able to eat the dairy-based foods they know and love. If you're looking for a lactose intolerance treatment that really works, it might be time to consider probiotic supplements a part of your daily routine. By adding probiotics to your body through certain foods and a daily supplement, you can help restore the natural enzymes and microorganisms that live in your digestive system. Probiotics can help to break down the lactose before it has a negative effect on your intestines, causing symptoms of lactose intolerance.

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