Thursday, September 29, 2011

About Lactose Intolerance

I'm allergic to dairy.
You've probably heard someone say that before right?
But what exactly do they mean?
There are two "allergies".
1) allergic to the milk protien
2) Lactose intolerant - I'm going to go more in depth into this one.

So being lactose intolerant isn't actually an allergy.
Let's first do a little background.

The sugar in milk is called lactose.
In order to digest lactose you need to be producing an enzyme called lactase.
Most mammals stop producing lactase while they are young, thus becoming lactose intolerant. But, typically *sigh*, humans have to be different.
A large proportion of humans have developed lactase persistence. This is where the body continues to develop lactase, instead of stopping, although adults do have lower rates of lactase production than younger people.
Interestingly, people from African and Asian areas have much lower rates of lactase production. When you think about it, European people, back in the day, continued to eat a lot of dishes that used milk, and other products that included milk. Where as people from Africa/Asia weren't particularly likely to do so.
Another interesting point, human milk is quite high in lactose compared to other milks.

So I guess what I'm trying to get at is you aren't allergic to lactose, it's an enzyme deficiency (lactase deficient). I could theorise that us lactose intolerants are more normal, and more following the natural order like than everyone else.

To aid in digesting lactose, you can eat those slightly pricier yogurts (you know the ones: Acidophilus!, Cultured Yogurt!, Bacteria!, Lactillobactus!). The bacteria in the yogurt (unless you leave it sitting on your bench or in your bag all day, in which case it will be teeming with bad bacteria that will make you sicker) contains lactase or aids production of lactase, so some lactose intolerants can have these yogurts because the bacteria in it helps digest the lactose in the yogurt.
Am I making sense? i get the feeling I'm going in cirlces. I'm sure you get what I mean.

So anyway, I'm onto tub 2/4 of my gut repair vomit enducing powder, then I can start the desensitisation.

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