Lactose intolerance is the most commonly diagnosed adverse reaction to cows’ milk amongst children and adults. The main symptoms of lactose intolerance are digestive disorders including wind, bloating, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. These symptoms are caused by undigested lactose passing from the small intestine into the colon.
Figures vary widely depending on ethnicity, in the UK over 3.25 million people are thought to be affected although many may not be aware of their condition.
Find out if you are likely to suffer from lactose intolerance using our self-diagnosis tool.
Before lactose can be absorbed by the body it needs to be broken down into its two component sugars, known as glucose and galactose. This process requires an enzyme, usually produced by the body, called lactase. People who suffer from lactose intolerance cannot produce enough lactase to breakdown the lactose found in dairy products.
JUST MILK Lactose Free* has added lactase which breaks down lactose and makes milk easier to digest.
There are two reasons for lactose intolerance.
The first is a genetically inherited condition which, once it occurs, is permanent and cannot be reversed. The consequence of this condition is a drop in lactase production, and although there is not always a total lack of lactase, production may drop by 70-90%. This is known as primary lactase deficiency.
Secondary lactase deficiency is a temporary condition caused by damage to the lining of the intestine where the lactase is produced. Possible causes of secondary lactase deficiency include: gastroenteritis, uncontrolled coeliac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease. The symptoms normally disappear when the intestine has recovered, usually within 2-4 weeks.
Our self-diagnosis tool could help you to find out if you are suffering from lactose intolerance – it’s easy to use and only takes a few minutes!
If you think you are lactose intolerant you can test it with a two phase elimination diet.
Phase 1 is the elimination stage during which you remove all dairy from your diet over a two week period while introducing JUST MILK Lactose Free* to maintain your intake of many essential dairy nutrients.
After the two week elimination period, phase 2 is the reintroduction phase, during which you can bring dairy back into your diet.
If symptoms reduce during phase 1 and reappear in phase 2 it is likely that you could be lactose intolerant.
If you think you suffer from lactose intolerance you should seek advice from your GP. It might be helpful to keep a food and symptoms diary prior to your appointment to discuss with your GP and help with the diagnosis.
Your GP may suggest further tests to confirm the diagnosis, usually a breath test, but in some cases a blood test may be required.