Did you know that 75% of the adult population worldwide cannot digest milk well? In other words, the body becomes “lactose intolerant” when the lactase enzymes are eventually lost. According to NUH research, it has been estimated that 90% of Singaporean Chinese suffer from lactose intolerance. Are you one of them?
Lactase is an enzyme that digest or breakdown lactose (milk sugar) into the simple sugars glucose and galactose which is absorbed by the body. Human beings are born with high levels of lactase enzyme amount. However, after weaning off milk and when we start to eat solid food, the lactase enzyme reduces significantly, causing the common condition among adults – inability to digest high amounts of lactose products. Lactose is found in almost all foods such as milk, dairy products, egg, veal, cereals, potatoes, salad dressings, biscuits, candies and many more.
How Do We Differentiate Between Allergy and Intolerance
Only 2-3% of the population are actually allergic to dairy, which is a good news because food allergy symptoms are typically more life-threatening and chronic. A milk-induced allergy is due to adverse immune reaction to milk protein in most animals, commonly cow. The most common symptoms are skin hives (raised bump), skin rash(eczema) and eye or mouth swelling, vomiting, and wheezing. Typically symptoms first arising in skin, then the GI tract, and less commonly, the respiratory tract. Milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis in about 1–2% of cases, which is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.
Milk intolerance symptoms on the other-hand are not as severe typically but very hard to identify. The reaction to lactose intolerance can sometimes only appear after a certain threshold amount that the body finds difficult to digest or after a pro-longed period of time. Signs of intolerance include :
- Pain or cramps in the lower belly.
- Gurgling or rumbling sounds in the lower belly.
- Loose stools or diarrhea. Sometimes the stools are foamy.
Skin rashes and itching are other common side effect of milk intolerance which may not be commonly known. Here is a comparison table for easy reference and understanding :
|Dairy Allergy||Lactose Intolerance|
|Definition||A food allergy, an adverse immune reaction to one or more of the constituents of milk from any animal (most commonly alpha S1-casein, a protein in cow's milk)||The inability to digest lactose, a component of milk and some other dairy products. The basis for lactose intolerance is the lack of an enzyme called lactase in the small intestine.|
|Symptoms||- Skin hives and swelling|
|- Bloating & gas
- Trigger eczema flareup
|Life-threatening?||Possibly if anaphylaxis reaction occurs.||No. Extreme discomfort if chronic.|
|Who does it affect?||Milk allergy is the most common food allergy in early childhood.||Often start during the teen or adult years and continue for life.|
What are the possible dairy substitutes?
There are many milk alternatives that are easily available in the local supermarket or health stores : rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, soy milk.
OATerenergy PLUS is an enriched non-dairy, oat milk, which is made of USDA certified organic oat, with the brain building fats – DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega 3 fatty acid and lutein, the carotenoid for eyes. It is specially formulated to suit the rapid growing of children, maternity and nourishes the elderly. You may purchase it from their official online store, which also offers many other dairy-free milk alternatives. You may use coupon code “SS5OFF” for a 5% discount.
Dr OatCare™ oat beverage is a nutritious blend of natural ingredients consisting of Montana Embryo Oats™, 17 organic seeds, 9 mixed nuts, seaweed derived calcium and flaxseed oil, all are natural ingredients from U.S.A. It is available in some pharmacy and health store.
How to enjoy your cheese in comfort
Most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate some amount of lactose in their diet and do not need to avoid milk or milk products completely. Many food products contain milk in them. It is very challenging to totally av oid dairy. It is difficult to avoid food that contain dairy/milk, especially when you are out with your friends for dessert, cakes or ice cream. If you do not have a life threatening reaction to dairy, but only intolerance or occasional skin rash flareup, here’s the good news… You can enjoy your cheese in comfort by consuming Dairy Care supplement.
The active ingredient in DairyCare, aside from its lactase enzymes, is the probiotic culture Lactobacillus Acidophilus. These bacteria cultures are considered beneficial as it produces lactase enzymes, Vitamin K, and anti-microbial substances. DairyCare effectively delivers ACTIVE lactobacillus Acidophilus cultures to the small intestine, thereby producing the lactase enzyme required for lactose digestion.
The good news is that any intolerance to a food can be overcome by totally eliminating the food for 4 months. Then you may re-introduce the offending food a little bit at a time and observe for any reaction.
All the best!