As much as 70 percent of the world have a hard time digesting dairy. To make things more challenging, dairy is in nearly everything. Avoiding it can be difficult and not to mention undesirable. Who doesn’t long for a cheesy slice of heaven at the local Pizzeria? If you are lactose intolerant, there are medications that can help you.
The crux of the issue is that most adults have either stopped producing a digestive enzyme called lactase or it is significantly reduced in their gut as they age. This enzyme is essential to the digestion of milk and dairy products. This is because dairy contains a molecule called lactose and it is very hard to digest. People who are unable to digest this molecule are referred to as lactose intolerant. However, for those with lactose intolerance (LI) there is hope. With regular intake of lactose intolerance medications, these people may be able to enjoy dairy once again.
Why We Use Lactose Intolerance Medications
Many people don’t have the ability to efficiently digest the lactose found in dairy products. Not to worry, lactose intolerant medications and supplements are a proactive way to mitigate the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance in people with this sensitivity. These medications work quickly to break down lactose and prevent symptoms like bloating, gas, cramping, diarrhea, headache, and abdominal pain. When we use these medications regularly they will break down the milk sugar in dairy and thereby reduce digestive discomfort for those that are lactose intolerant.
What Are Lactose Intolerant Medications
Lactose intolerance medications help the sufferer prevent symptoms. When taken with meals, lactase enzymes begin to break down the lactose a person has just consumed. If you are lactose intolerant and medication is not taken, uncomfortable symptoms may result, depending upon the level of sensitivity. The best time to take a lactose intolerance medication is right when you consume dairy.
Where to Buy
Lactose intolerance pills, chewables, and capsules can be bought from a variety of places. They are sold at local markets and are typically found in the big box stores like Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens. They can also be found online via Amazon or the product website.
Which Lactose Intolerant Brands are Best?
- Guardian Caplets have 9000 FCC Units/per one caplet. This brand has very positive reviews with a 4.7 out of 5. It’s easy to swallow and comes in individually wrapped packets. As a bonus, it does not have Mannitol, which some people have reacted negatively to in other brands.
- Lactaid Fast Act Caplets & Chewables have 9000 FCC Units/per one. On average reviews are very good. The Amazon rating was 4.8 out of 5. It is available at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and the Lactaid website.
- Costco’s Kirkland Signature Brand has 9000 FCC Units/per one. This brand is very popular and has very positive reviews as well. It also comes in convenient individual packets. It also does not have Mannitol, which some people say they react to negatively. As an added bonus, this product is gluten-free. This brand has a very high rating of 4.8/5.
- CVS Health Dairy Relief Fast-Acting Chewable Tablets have 9000 FCC Units/per one. They come in single-serve packets, have a vanilla flavor, and are kosher. It is only available at CVS.
- Schiff Digestive Advantage Lactose Defense Formula only has 3000 FCC Units/per one capsule. Reviews are high at 4.8/5. It is available at CVS and on Amazon.
If you react severely to lactose, buy lactase enzyme brands that have at least 9000 FCC units per unit or serving size. The term FCC stands for Food Chemical Codex, a unit of measurement denoting the amount of lactase present within the supplement. These are over-the-counter lactase enzyme medications.
Supplements vs Medicine
First, let’s talk about the difference between a supplement and medication. Medication is classified as a drug and is regulated by the FDA (American Food & Drug Administration). Supplements are regarded more as a food product. The reason this matters is that supplements are not as well regulated as drugs are. Medications go through a strict screening and testing phase to prove their effectiveness and safety. Supplements however have no such regulation and do not need to pass rigid clinical trial testing.
This is not to say that we should abandon supplements, as they can often be of great benefit. So the question then is, how do lactose supplements help people who are lactose intolerant? Supplements are a great resource and just like medications they can help lactose intolerant individuals with their symptoms. They do this by providing a natural or botanical substance that has the same effect as it’s corresponding drug equivalent, and often without the side effects. Natural medicinals and supplements are another great way to combat lactose intolerance.
How Probiotics Can Help
Probiotics contain living bacteria present within natural living foods. These bacteria benefit and add to gastrointestinal flora. The special properties of probiotics include improved immune system function, better absorption of nutrients, and overall intestinal health. In relation to those who suffer from LI, there is mounting evidence that the probiotic bacteria found in fermented milk products, like yogurt, for instance, can be used to mitigate the common symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.
Speaking of yogurt, many people with LI are able to tolerate it. This is because most yogurts contain living bacteria that help break down the lactose present within it. The common beneficial bacterias found in yogurt are:
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum
- Streptococcus Thermophilus and Salivarius
- Bacillus Coagulans
When you go to buy a yogurt product, look for a list of these bacteria in the ingredients. If you prefer to take your probiotics in pill or drink form try some of these products:
- Now Brand Probiotic 10
- Garden of Life Brand 50 Billion
- KeVita Strawberry Acai Coconut Sparkling Probiotic Drink
For this same reason, many people report that they have reduced LI symptoms when consuming raw milk as well. Raw milk has present within it all the natural and beneficial bacteria that enable its easy digestion, even for those with LI. Raw milk is controversial and considered unsafe by governing food authorities. However, many first-hand accounts, from a variety of people, relate that they can enjoy commercial milk products if they also drink a cup of raw milk. If you decide to investigate raw milk further, find organic reputable farmers to buy from locally. Availability may vary depending upon your state’s regulations.
For those with LI, avoiding dairy is the best policy. However knowing you have a back-up plan, in case you do consume dairy, can be of great comfort. Talk with your doctor about what options are best for you. With lactose intolerant medications and supplements you now have the opportunity to enjoy dairy again. For those of us that just can’t live without dairy, this is the best of news.