Reducing Lactose Intolerance

On a totally unrelated note, when jozjozjoz mentioned latose intolerance, it reminded me of an experiment I tried.

I, like many Asian Americans I know, turned lactose intolerant a few years ago. And it totally sucked ass. No more Cold Stones and Ben & Jerrys. Goodbye Pizookies. Hello soy milk.

To be fair, this isn’t a case just for Asian Americans. A lot of people are lactose intolerant, all around the world. It’s just that, historically, many Asian groups don’t regularly consume milk in their diets, leading to the natural state of lactose intolerance.

So why would I want to be able to drink milk? I’ll give you three reasons: Cold Stones, Ben & Jerrys, and Pizookies. I have a thing for sweets, what can I say?

One day, a friend casually mentioned to me that yogurt contains live bacteria that aids in lactose digestion. Hmm, I thought. So I did some research and found that:

When yogurt is consumed, bile acids disrupt the cell wall of the bacteria in yogurt. This releases the enzyme beta-galactosidase (related to lactase) into the intestines, where it can enhance lactose digestion.

Not any yogurt will do. It must contain live active bacteria.

This is because yogurt contains acidophilus, a dietary supplement often used to reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

With this in mind, I decided to try this very unscientific experiment:

  1. Eat yogurt every day, for two weeks
  2. Drink a glass of milk at the end of each week

The results?

Week 1
Lactose intolerance still there. And how. I admit, I didn’t drink a full glass of milk. But the effects were the same.

Week 2
Lactose intolerance… gone! Holy crap! (Or lack thereof.) Hello ice cream, goodbye soy milk! I’ve been drinking milk semi-regularly since then, with no problems at all.

I can hardly say this experiment is reliable or conclusive. What worked for me may not work for you – just like acidophilus works for some, but not others. If you want to try this, consult your doctor or nutritionist first. After all, maybe humans are lactose intolerant for a reason. (And if you’re allergic to milk, that’s a very different ball game.)

Now pardon me while I enjoy this cup o’ Cold Stone ice cream. Mmmm!

(Flickr photo credit: NickPiggott)

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About Mike

I'm an idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student. And what, you want to Internet-stalk me too? Why, sure.
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