Lactose intolerance is the inability to break down the lactose (milk sugar) in dairy products, due to a deficiency of the enzyme, lactase. Symptoms include fatigue and gastrointestinal difficulties (e.g., malabsorption, flatulence, abdominal distension, watery stools). On a world-wide basis, most people’s bodies do not retain the ability to produce lactase once they have been weaned. Lactose intolerance can be primary – or secondary, if related to another condition affecting the small intestine (e.g., celiac sprue, Crohn’s disease). Many people who are lactose intolerant are totally so; their bodies do not produce any lactase at all. Although they may not have any overt symptoms until they reach a certain level of milk intake daily, even one molecule of lactose can impair their digestive ability. For that reason total abstinence from milk products is highly recommended. This means totally eliminating milk, cheese, cream, ice cream, yogurt and food that contains milk solids, lactose or whey as a hidden ingredient. It makes no difference if the milk product is from a cow or a goat; the milk of all species contains lactose. The only milk products that are entirely lactose-free by their very nature are clarified butter (ghee) and hydrolyzed (pre-digested) amino acids from a dairy source. [Further reading: One’s Food is Another’s Poison.] In recent years there have come on the market a number of cheeses that claim to be totally lactose free.
See also the chapter, “It Begins with Digestion”, in NUTRITIONAL SOLUTIONS FOR 88 CONDITIONS (available at Amazon.com)