Categorized | Lactose in the News

Three out of four Indians have no dairy tolerance: Study – Times of India

LUCKNOW: No matter how much ancient knowledge emphasizes its importance, three out of four Indians have no tolerance to get milk. Researchers at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences have concluded thus in a study on lactose intolerance in India. “We took subjects from different centers including Lucknow and Bengaluru and found that over 74% were lactose mal-absorbers which means they cannot digest milk, ” said Dr Uday C Ghoshal, who led the study project.

The inability to digest milk sugars called lactose is due to insufficient amount of an chemical called lactase in the gut. Produced in the small intestine, lactase is responsible for breaking down lactose into two smaller sugars”glucose and galactose”so that they may be assimilated in the bloodstream.

The capability to absorb milk naturally decreases even as we grow. And the problem shows up in the mid-30s as functional gastrointestinal troubles like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastro-esophagal reflux disease (GERD). While IBS is known to affect about 5% Indians, an estimated 8-20% individuals suffer from GERD.

Besides the large population of milk mal-absorbers, the study found Indians more sensitive than their European or United states counterparts. “Globally, the gold standard to judge milk intolerance is based on 50 grams of lactose. The level of problem a European faces at 50 grams is seen in Indians with half the lactose, ” mentioned Dr Ghoshal, adding that intolerance combined with stress and fast food culture was aggravating the problem. Researchers furthermore studied regional variations in lactose mal-absorption and found it a lot more rampant in South Indians. While 82% people in southern says were affected, 66% north Indians complained of the problem.

The most important long-term health consequence of lactose intolerance is calcium deficiency leading to osteoporosis. Less commonly, calciferol deficiency may occur and substance the bone disease. Both these health concerns can be prevented easily by calcium mineral and vitamin D supplements. The SGPGI researchers also relate milk intolerance to poor bone health. “The real problem is that many lactose intolerant people who consciously or unconsciously prevent milk do not realize that they need a product, ” he said.

The findings reason why one out of three Indian women in 30+ age group suffers from osteopenia, a pre-osteoporosis condition. Orthopaedic department faculty of King George’s Medical University, Dr R N Srivastava added that Indians also had a very high rate of hypovitaminosis (deficiency of vitamin D) and dependence on vegetarian diet complicates the problem of weak bone tissues further. “Low vitamin d level indicates no absorption of calcium, dairy being the commonest source. Calcium supplementation is perhaps the only option for most of us, inch he said.

: milk intolerance is basically person’s incapability to digest milk sugars called lactose.

– lactose in body is broken down into less complicated sugars glusose with the help of an chemical called lactase.

: intolerance happens due to low levels of lactase in body either due to congenital reason, developmental (natural decline in body’s enzymes due to aging) or secondary (like faulty ways of eating and stress or anxiety) factors.

– abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, flatulence (passing gas), abdominal bloating, abdominal distention, and feeling sick are common symptoms of lactose intolerance. If treatment is not taken, problem may inflame to cause irritable bowel syndrome or GERD.

: often people think that they may avert dairy intolerance induced problems by staying away from milk and its products. This is true to some extent and some food items containing lactose include:

Bread along with other baked goods

Prepared breakfast cereals

Quick potato, soups, and breakfast drinks


Lunch meats (except those that are kosher)

Salad dressings

Candies and other snack foods

Mixes for hotcakes, biscuits, and cookies.

– But many other food items furthermore contain lactose which may cause troubles. One should learn to read food brands with care, looking not only for dairy and lactose among the contents but also for such words as whey, curds, milk byproducts, dry milk solids, and non-fat dry milk powder. If any of these are listed on the label, the item contains lactose.

– In addition to food sources, lactose can be “hidden” in medications. Lactose is used as the base for more than 20% of prescription drugs approximately 6% of overthe-counter drugs like birth control pills, tablets for gastric acid and gas.

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