Treating Lactose Intolerance:
Treatments vary from simply complete avoidance of lactose containing food (which is not easy) to buying treated food. Probably it is easier to supplement your your diet with commercially available lactase enzyme. The latter may also help babies with colic.
Although this may be possible in the future a cure remains very distant. Experiments done on rats, in New Zealand and in USA using gene therapy were very successful, effectively leading to a cure. These rats were able to start digesting lactose after being administered gene therapy orally in a liquid form. In proving that gene therapy may potentially be given this way, the work may, however, eventually lead to treatments for important human diseases such as diabetes.
Gene therapy works by introducing working genes into a recipient. These genes, attached to inactivated adeno-viruses, such as influenza and HIV, will then be delivered to the cells in the jejunum of the small intestines replacing the inactive genes. If all goes well, i.e. the viruses are not destroyed by the immune system, the viruses find their way, and most importantly the viruses do not cause harm to the recipient, the genes should take over and start producing lactase.
Gene therapy is usually reserved for severe and medically refractory disorders because of the toxicity, potential long-term risks and invasiveness of most gene transfer protocols. However, the experiments in rats showed that an orally administered adeno-associated viral vector lead to persistent expression of a beta-galactosidase transgene in both gut epithelial and lamina propria cells, and that this approach results in long-term phenotypic recovery in an animal model of lactose intolerance. A gene 'pill' associated with highly efficient and stable gene expression may become a practical and cost-effective strategy for even relatively mild disorders, such as lactase deficiency.
While we wait for gene therapy, fortunately, lactose intolerance is relatively easy to treat. No known way exists to increase the amount of lactase enzyme the body can make. Although some writers claim that by introducing gradually the intake of lactose, may increase the production of lactose to normal levels, their work has never been published in medical journals.
A lactose-free diet is an effective means of controlling the symptoms of lactose malabsorption in a person with lactase deficiency. However, some lactose-intolerant people can drink small amounts of milk (one cup) without symptoms. Those individuals that decide to avoid dairy products should take supplemental calcium.
A more effective way of treating lactose intolerance is by the intake of digestive enzymes. Tablets or capsules containing lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, should be taken immediately before having food containing lactose. Lactase enzyme liquid is also available to pre-digest milk, if incubated, which then can be consumed without suffering any symptoms. The intake of lactase digestive enzymes helps persons with LI to maintain a normal life without suffering the symptoms and in addition helps these persons not to sacrifice their bones with low calcium intake.
|Enjoy drinking milk simply by adding 4 drops of Lactase Enzyme liquid to a pint.|
Dietary changes that may be helpful
Although symptoms of lactose intolerance are triggered by the lactose in some dairy products, not all lactose-intolerant people need to avoid all dairy. Dairy products have varying levels of lactose, which affects how much lactase is required for proper digestion. Milk, ice cream, and yoghurt contain significant amounts of lactose—although for complex reasons yoghurt may not trigger symptoms in some lactose-intolerant people.
Many people with lactose maldigestion tolerate more lactose in experimental studies than in everyday life, in which their symptoms may result from other carbohydrates as well. Sucrose and the indigestible carbohydrates lactulose and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) have all been shown to produce symptoms in lactose-intolerant and milk-intolerant people. Moreover, other foods containing starch and gluten may also produce symptoms similar to lactose maldigestion.
Nutritional supplements that may be helpful
Supplemental sources of the enzyme lactase is recommended to be used to prevent symptoms of lactose intolerance when consuming lactose-containing dairy products. Lactase drops may be added to regular milk 12 to 24 hours before drinking to reduce lactose levels. Lactase drops, capsules, and tablets may also be taken orally, as needed, immediately before a meal that includes lactose-containing dairy products. The degree of lactose intolerance varies by individual, so a greater or lesser amount of oral lactase may be needed to eliminate symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Some reports say that researchers have yet to clearly determine whether lactose-intolerant people absorb less calcium while other emphasise the importance of calcium supplement in lactose intolerant people who do not use lactase digestive enzymes. As lactose-containing foods are among the best dietary sources of calcium, alternative sources of calcium (from food or supplements) are important for lactose-intolerant people. A typical amount of supplemental calcium is 1,000 mg per day.
Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements on their own do not appear to be completely effective in eliminating the signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance. In a preliminary trial, people with lactose intolerance were given Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements twice daily for seven days, but failed to show any improvement in symptoms or laboratory measurements of lactose digestion. However, Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements maintain a healthy digestive system and are of great benefit for Secondary type lactase deficiency for a quicker recovery after taking antibiotics.