The Probiotic Revolution


A Guide to the Many Health Benefits of Beneficial Bacteria

Lactose Intolerance

An estimated 30 million Americans experience lactose intolerance. The digestive enzyme, lactase, needed to digest lactose is either not in their gastrointestinal tract or simply not functioning as well as it should. Symptoms include bloating, gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea and other intestinal discomforts after consuming dairy products.
 
Probiotics are helpful for those suffering from the above-mentioned symptoms. These beneficial bacteria do not necessarily have to be consumed each and every time dairy products are consumed but it should be taken regularly.
 
Reporting in the February 2001 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from the Institute of Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition, Federal Dairy Research Center, Kiel, Germany, note that, "Yogurt and other conventional starter cultures and probiotic bacteria in fermented and unfermented milk products improve lactose digestion and eliminate symptoms of intolerance in lactose maldigesters."
 
These beneficial effects are due to microbial beta-galactosidase enzymes in the fermented milk products, delayed gastrointestinal transit, positive effects on intestinal functions and colonic microflora, and reduced sensitivity to symptoms. They continue, "Probiotic bacteria, which by definition target the colon, normally promote lactose digestion in the small intestine less efficiently than do yogurt cultures. They may, however, alleviate clinical symptoms brought about by undigested lactose or other reasons."
 
How to Use Probiotics for Lactose Intolerance
 
Be sure to choose a quality probiotic supplement containing lactobacillus and bifidus cultures. Be sure to follow the recommended label instructions or work with your physician to determine the optimal dosage. Consuming fermented dairy foods such as yogurt will also help to alleviate lactose intolerance, as will taking digestive enzymes containing lactase. Remember, all lactose intolerance problems cannot be cured by probiotics. So consult your doctor for this milk allergy problem.