Since you’re now reading this, chances are you probably have experienced inexplicably vague abdominal discomfort that is accompanied by belching, flatulence, nausea or even diarrhea after consuming dairy products. Have you wondered what is the cause behind this phenomenon? Today I’ll explain to you.
This condition is called lactose intolerance, meaning the inability to tolerate…well..lactose.. Essentially, lactose is an complex form of glucose found in dairy products. It is needed to be broken into smaller functional units before being readily absorbed into the gut. This cannot be done without the presence of lactase, an enzyme responsible for the cleaving action of its substrate lactose.
Hence when lactase is absent due to various reasons, lactose gets passed along the gut and metabolized by the gut bacteria instead. As a result, these bacteria release a copious amount of gas containing hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. This explains the gut symptoms you experience after consuming dairy products. Simultaneously, lactose also pulls water from the gut cells into its lumen causing diarrhea.
Studies have shown the level of lactase in our body decreases as we grow, probably influenced by the fact that infants become less reliant on (breast)milk to thrive after passing certain development milestones. Hence the phenomenon is more commonly seen during teenage years and in adulthood.
In some cases, lactose intolerance could be due to secondary causes such as in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS), Celiac disease or other medical conditions that trigger inflammatory response to the gut wall. So in my opinion it is best to be checked by your GP to determine the underlying causes of your symptoms if it’s disturbing enough to affect your day to day life.
In recent years, synthetic lactase tablets have been mass produced by different pharmaceutical companies and are now available in the market. It might be a good trade off if you don’t mind splurging a little cash in exchange for some milk indulgence.
Alternately, you are likely able to get away with the symptoms by tapering down the amount of dairy consumption, or at least by spreading consumption through out a longer time frame, or you can go cold turkey…to each his own…
All in all, lactose intolerance isn’t much of an issue if your diet doesn’t revolve around food that consist of a lot of dairies..
If you have any questions, do leave a comment at the comment section down below. If you enjoyed reading it, do like and subscribe to my blog for more updates. Thank you.