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Lactose Intolerance

Lactose Intolerance


First of all, you probably aren't lactose intolerant, even if you've been told you are. The majority of supposedly lactose intolerant people are not, and can eat ice cream and small amounts of milk. (Williams, Nutrition and Diet Therapy, 6th ed, page 146). It is my understanding that the definitive medical test is the breath hydrogen assay, which you can have your doctor arrange for you to have done. Only about one in three people initially diagnosed lactose intolerant will turn out to be truly so.

There are several ways to proceed here: first, just avoid milk products completely.  Many people simply fare better without any dairy at all.  Try for a couple of months and see if you are one of them.  In his books, Abram Hoffer, M.D., writes how he did exactly this and how much better he's felt as a result: no more headaches. Dr. Benjamin Spock (yes, THE Doctor Spock) recommended against milk, even in growing (weaned) children.  Milks contains lactose, which is digested by the enzyme lactase.  Lactase production in humans decreases after age 5, and in other mammals not long after birth. A good argument for vegans, perhaps. Be sure you get enough calcium and other bone minerals from moo-less sources such as lots of fresh vegetables. Chinese cabbage, or bok choi, is especially high in calcium. In fact, all greens are a great non-dairy source of calcium, and whole potatoes are surprisingly good as well. The fruit with the highest calcium content I know of is, believe it or not, the fig! Molasses and almonds are two other ways to bone up without abusing Bossy.

If you are really hooked on the white of the cow (and I confess that this includes me), try limiting yourself to yogurt, kefir, and aged cheeses. These and other cultured milk products are very digestible. Speaking as a former dairyman (I milked over one hundred head twice a day), I will say that fluid milk is perhaps the least desirable dairy product of all, and is also the most likely form to provoke a reaction.

I personally speculate that lactose intolerance may be at least partly a result of a poor colon bacteria environment, from eating too much of the wrong foods, or even too much of the right foods. 


Ramig, V. B. Make your own yogurt. Mother Earth News Health, Nutrition and Fitness, No. 11

Rowell, D.  What acidophilus does. Lets Live, July 1983

Sandine, W. E.  Roles of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in human health. Contemporary Nutrition, 15:1, 1990

Savaiano and Levitt  Nutritional and therapeutic aspects of fermented dairy products. Contemporary Nutrition, 9:6, June, 1984

Sehnert, K. W. The Garden Within: Acidophillus-Candida Connection, Burlingame, CA: Health World, 1989

Copyright 2005 and prior years by Andrew W. Saul.


Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


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