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Got Milk?

  1. Mar 5, 2005 #1
    I was wondering about lactose intolerance. A dear friend of mine was just diagnosed with it :frown: and was asking me questions I just don't have the answer to. I was wondering if anyone knew anything about it.

    These are some of the questions she had: :confused:
    How does your body break down lactose?
    Why do some people have a lactose intolerance?
    Does your body really think that lactose is a poision?
    Is that why it makes you so sick?
    Is there anything that I can do to enjoy dairy again?

    Any comments?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2005 #2

    Monique

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    Actually, lactose intollerance is the norm in southern Europe, Asian and African populations. More interestingly, being lactose tollerant is a mutated phenotype. You can read more about it here http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn1787.

    Basically, you digest lactose with the enzyme lactase. In normal individuals this enzyme disappears after weaning, in people with the mutation the enzyme persists so that they are still able to digest it. The mutation arose in populations that practiced dairy farming.

    She might be able to tolerate dairy products that have been extensively heated (since that will break down the proteins), so maybe pasteurized milk is an option.
     
  4. Mar 5, 2005 #3
    Oh, cool. Thanks Monique. I didn't know that it was so common in the rest of the world.
     
  5. Mar 5, 2005 #4

    iansmith

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    I might be looking for mistake but lactose is a sugar not a protein. Even if the protein are break down it might not affect the sugar. As far as I know, heating does not have an effect the digestibility of milk in terms of lactose but it will have an effect if lactase are added.
     
  6. Mar 5, 2005 #5

    DocToxyn

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    The lactose is not a poison, just simply something that the body (without lacatse) cannot digest. This allows the lactose to pass to the lower gut and support the process of fermentation by bacteria which then produces hydrogen gas, lactic acid and other by-products that lead to the cramping, nausea, diarrhea, etc associated with lactose intolerance. In the system containing lactase, the enzyme breaks the sugar down to glucose and galactose, two more-readily handled sugars.
     
  7. Mar 5, 2005 #6

    Moonbear

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    Yeah, basically the problem is you don't digest the sugar lactose. The reason it makes you feel sick is the same as for anything you eat that isn't digestible, it passes right on through you, throwing off things like the osmolarity balance in your gut, leading to symptoms like diarrhea.

    Some people can eat some dairy products if they take pills containing lactase enzymes with them to help digest the dairy, or eat milks like Lactaid that have the enzyme added to break down the sugar for you (I have no idea if it tastes as good as regular milk). Some people can also manage to enjoy some dairy if they just limit their intake to very small amounts (perhaps just a splash of milk in a cup of coffee rather than a glass of milk) if they still have some ability to digest the sugar.
     
  8. Mar 5, 2005 #7
    Thanks for all your input. I will rely these back to my friend. She'll be thrilled this isn't the end of the world...(shes VERY dramamtic.:frown:)

    Thanks everyone! :smile:
     
  9. Mar 6, 2005 #8

    Monique

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    Hey misskitty, I'm curious: which things exactly does she have an intolerance for? I guess she must not be sure if it has just been diagnosed. Icecream, cake, whipped cream? I can understand that a glass of milk is out of the question, but how severe is her reaction to other products?
     
  10. Mar 6, 2005 #9

    Monique

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    I think you are right, the heating will help people with milk allergy, but not with lactose intolerance. I just read that non-fermented yoghurt is actually better digestible than fermented yoghurt, since the active bacteria in the yoghurt breaks down the sugar.
     
  11. Mar 6, 2005 #10

    Kerrie

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    Here is a twist...normally (unpregnant), my body will get horrifically ill if I drink milk. As of today, I am just ending my first trimester of pregnancy, and I absolutely crave it. So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to have a glass and deal with the consequences. To my surprise, the milk did not affect me one bit! I have been drinking a glass a day since (they say) it is good for you, especially for pregnancy. I eat a ton of cheese (which doesn't affect me like milk did) to get my calcium, but since milk doesn't seem to bother me now, I am drinking more of it (with some Ovaltine of course!). How do the experts here make of that??
     
  12. Mar 6, 2005 #11

    Moonbear

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    Hmm...I don't really know. I wonder if lactase can pass through the placenta; maybe the fetus is helping you out by producing the lactase? Alternatively, maybe the pregnancy hormones are altering your liver function (the liver does have a lot of hormone receptors and responds to endocrine signals) so you produce more lactase. Very interesting! Though, I don't suppose pregnancy will be a very highly recommended or popular approach to treating lactose intolerance. :rolleyes:
     
  13. Mar 6, 2005 #12
    mmmmmm Ovaltine ! When your craveing things its a sign that your body needs them.
    You must need something the milk/Ovaltine provides that your vitimens/cheeses are not.

    lol I actually did the pickles...I couldn't get enough of them, turns out my body thought I need the minerals from the brine, and it more then likely did.

    Hugs ! and congrats!
     
  14. Mar 7, 2005 #13

    She is allergic to milk, cream, ice cream, cream cheese, cheese, whipped cream, pretty much anything dairy. She used to just eat the stuff adn it wouldn't really bother her. Now she gets horribly sick to her stomach and wants to vomit. She also gets cramps. When she does get sick, she can't move because the pain is so intense if she does, it gets worse. Somtimes,depending on what she had, she'll get a migraine on top of it. The stuff really doesn't mix with her system. :frown:
     
  15. Mar 7, 2005 #14

    Moonbear

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    Allergic or lactose intolerant? They would have two different causes and two different approaches to dealing with it. If she's lactose intolerant, that's due to the lack of the lactase enzyme we've already discussed. If she's dairy allergic, usually that's a reaction to a protein in milk, casein being the most predominant one. With lactose intolerance, as discussed above, some people can find ways around it to enjoy small amounts of dairy, but if she's truly allergic, she really should avoid dairy entirely (though, in that case, Monique's suggestion of denaturing the proteins with boiling might help, though the milk won't taste at all the same, and I doubt you'd boil it long enough to denature all the offending proteins).
     
  16. Mar 8, 2005 #15

    She said allergic, her mother said her PCP told her intolerance. I really don't know who's right. Although, I would suspect it would be her PCP because thats her physician.
     
  17. Mar 11, 2005 #16

    DocToxyn

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    I looked up some alternatives to normal dairy products for a friend who also has lactose intolerance and found a creamery that uses buffalo (the "water" kind, not bison) to make its products. According to the manager their mozzarella does not contain lactose and the yogurt is well-tolerated by people with lactose problems as well. Check out their site.

     
  18. Mar 11, 2005 #17
    Thats a pretty cool site. I was wandering around it, there is a lot of good information on that site. So pretty interesting stuff that I didn't know about water buffalo and lactose intolerace. I e-mail her with a link to the site. Thanks :smile:!
     
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