8 Ways Lactose Overload Is Making You Sick

nutrition Dec 14, 2021
8 Ways Lactose Overload Is Making You Sick
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Butter does have lactose, but not mayo? Many of you suffer from bloating, gas, diarrhea, and nausea without thinking about lactose as the cause. In this article, we will talk about 8 Ways Lactose Overload Is Making You Sick.




In the presence of an adequate amount of lactase, lactose is hydrolysed into galactose (Gal) and glucose (Glu), which are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, together with H2O molecules. Image from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6265758/


What is lactose sugar?

Lactose is a sugar. By this, I mean it is made of two basic carbohydrate building blocks termed monosaccharides. These simple carbs are galactose and glucose.

Yet, it is not these innocent, simple building blocks that wreak havoc on your gut, but rather the combination of the two together in the form of lactose.



Where does lactose originate?

Lactose comes from dairy products, usually from animals that produce milk to feed their young. Here in America, the most common source is from cows.

These cows produce milk meant to feed their young. However, we hijack this process, lending a nutrient-dense source of food for ourselves. These foods are high in carbohydrates, fat, and protein, often containing microbes and immunoglobulins to enhance immunity.

Milk products include milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and butter.
Dairy does not include eggs, mayo, or other things often found in the dairy aisle. I will also note that milk is present in many other grocery stores but should label it.

How has lactose helped our ancestors

As stated above, milk products are nutrient-dense. Thus as human beings, we were lent a significant evolutionary benefit from using milk products when food was scarce. Namely, during the winter months where crops could not grow and animals were tough to find, having access to animal milk was nutrient-dense and freely available.

However, with inventions like refrigeration, canning, preservation, salting, and fermentation, we could keep perishable foods. Therefore, our need to utilize lactose was not as vital.

The genetics behind lactose overload

As lactose was is no longer required as a nutrient source, our bodies lose the ability to break down lactose as we age. The ability to break down lactose is a genetic mutation, and the inability to break down lactose is our default. Think about it, isn’t it more normal to imagine one species consuming the milk of its species instead of another.

Lactose overload is simply a return to baseline, which leaves the lactose disaccharide in your gut, and that is where the fun begins.



Why lactose overload causes symptoms

With lactose in your small bowel, undigested (brown back down into glucose and galactose), the microbiome will interact with it and ferment it. This fermentation process generates gas which can cause belching, flatulence, and bloating. Also, since it is undigested, it will act as a laxative, drawing water with it, leading to diarrhea, pain, and burning on the way out due to the pH.

The lactose interaction with your gut is also essential. Some people’s immune systems see milk products as foreign. They will develop allergies (via immunoglobulin E to cause rashes, wheezing, and anaphylaxis) or sensitivities (feeling awful and developing symptoms from the milk products via immunoglobulin G). You can test for both a Genova panel or Cyrex food sensitivity analysis (Click HERE for more).

So how to determine if you have lactose overload.

As stated above, we can offer this here at Maximal Being as a part of a Revitalize Your Gut Health plan. However, at home, you can experiment independently by eliminating milk products (again milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and butter, along with milk-containing foods) for at least 6 WEEKS. Changes within the gut do not occur in days, but it will take weeks to repair the lining and your gut microbiome.

If you get complete relief, bingo, you have lactose intolerance. If you get a partial replacement, you likely have lactose intolerance plus something else (gluten intolerance, for example). If you do not get relief, then dairy is most likely not the culprit.

Can you still have milk products and no experience overload?

A few caveats exist to this lactose overload problem—the first being where the lactose originates. Here in America, we have mainly A1 cows, while in Europe, there are primarily A2 cows. A2 cows tend to have a hump on their neck and be solid colors, while A1 tend to have spots or have solid brown or black colors. A1 cow product has a higher amount of lactose than A2 cows.

As lactose intolerance is more gray than black or white, sometimes just changing from A1 products to A2 can reduce or remove symptoms.
Additionally, some people can tolerate pre-digested dairy such as yogurt. In this case, bacteria (Lactobacillus) will break the lactose into glucose and galactose for you, making it easy to absorb.

It takes some experimenting, but Greek yogurt is usually the first dairy product, so I recommend reintroducing it. To this point, sometime after eliminating lactose or other common food sensitivities, then reintroducing it, you may be able to tolerate lactose again, primarily due to a shift in your microbiome to more Lactobacillus, believed to be essential (good).

Other Ways to Battle Lactose Overload

Other products in yogurt (like artificial sugars) can also cause symptoms like diarrhea, so start with plain Greek yogurt (plain Greek yogurt is better for you globally anyway). If the flavor bores you, add your natural tastes, such as berries or nuts, or nut butter.

Like how yogurt works, you can take lactase tablets or use Lactaid milk. Lactase is the enzyme present in the human body that digests lactose, making lactose, glucose, or galactose absorbable.

Finally, you can use products without lactose, such as soy, almond, or coconut-based dairy products.

Try it, you may prefer it. Just be aware that some of these food producers may add sugar to their products because they think you want that. Read our article on tracking sugar for more on why you may wish to pick unsweetened milk alternatives.



Summary of Lactose Overload

Dairy products remain a staple in the American diet, hiding in much food. Remember dairy includes milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and butter.

Lactose issues, sensitivity, intolerance, and allergens are common in the lactose sugar’s immune reaction and maldigestion. Diagnose with advanced testing or by Eliminating it for at least six weeks. Use lactase enzyme products, substitutes, or yogurts to assist with feeling better, or reach out to us at Maximal Being to help Revitalize your Gut Health.

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