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Are You Lactose Intolerant?

lactose-intolerant-foodsHow do I know If I'm LI?

A well known fact about a woman's body is that it will weaken with age.  Part of this progressive weakness is the inability to absorb calcium and vitamin D that becomes more pronounced as we get older.  Therefore the possibility of having poor bone density or other health complications later in life is impacted dramatically.  But, wait, for those who believe that vitamin D mean you need a cow in the backyard; and before you run out and buy gallons of milk and pounds of cheese consider that dairy is not for everyone. Ask yourself if you are showing symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Facts: Women and Lactose Intolerance

Beefing up daily dairy intake is one way to prevent future calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies as well as to avoid health complications during the "Golden Years".  Vitamin D can be a life saver for women.

A woman's body needs vitamin D and Calcium to remain strong and healthy as she gets older and in order to prevent osteoporosis, brittle bones, bad teeth, heart problems or poor circulation.  This is why receiving the adequate amount of these essential nutrients daily is so important for women.

The reason this is a great concern for women is because being lactose intolerant means the body is rejecting a rich source of essential nutrients women need , such as vitamin D and Calcium.  Considering the necessity to consume diary products rich in essential nutrients is why getting the answer to am I lactose intolerant very important for women to determine.

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose is a large sugar compound found in the fat of milk and milk products. When ingested the molecule is transformed into glucose and galactose for easier lactose absorption by way of an intestinal enzyme called Lactase.

  • 1. Lactase is found in the lining of the small intestine and helps with the process of transferring the nutrients in foods and absorption of these nutrients into the body and blood stream.
  • 2. When the body is deficient in the production of the enzyme lactase, the activity of splitting the lactose component is reduced and the body is unable to absorb all the nutrients its needs, thereby causing intolerance to the absorption of milk products.

There are three conditions that can cause lactose intolerance, and according to researchers the most common condition is also a very serious condition that could lead to more severe complications later in life.

  • Congenital lactase deficiency - is a condition of lactase deficiency at birth. Although these cases are very rare, about 1 in 1000 babies are born with lactose intolerance; however 25%percent of congenital lactase deficiency births develop the lactase enzyme within their first two years.
  • Secondary lactase deficiency- is due to other intestinal health problems that may have destroyed the small intestinal lining, which depletes the production of lactase. Typically people with ulcers, Acid reflux and Celiac Sprue also are lactose intolerant.  Tests are available to determine these factors.
  • Developmental Lactase deficiency - also called adult hypolactasia is a progressive loss of lactase activity and production that can start as early as 5 years old and extend well into adulthood. This is the most common form of lactase deficiency that determines whether your lactose intolerant.

Levels of developmental deficiency occurrences are higher in some high risk groups of the population. Although common, developmental lactase deficiency can also be quite dangerous.   The complications with this condition can vary according to ethnic, age and dietary group factors. Again this is why lactose testing is so important.

The reason these complications are detrimental is because in many cases the women who could be lactose intolerant show no signs or symptoms of the conditions.  And without the basic knowledge of a serious condition such as the inability to absorb vital nutrients the situation can lead to worse undetected problems later.   Treatment can address future problems but often cannot reverse the effects or damage already incurred.

There are even cases where moderate to severe lactose intolerances were not detected because of the absences of specific symptoms.  This means that the probability for a women to be diagnosed late is high, since the cause for testing is based on persistent symptoms, which may not be prevalent.

Women should never take being lactose intolerant lightly, even if the symptoms are mild or moderate.  If you suspect you may be lactose intolerant consult with a physician and ask about being tested at your next check up. It may be time to ask a nutritional consultant; Am I Lactose Intolerant?

For a quick test try this lactose intolerance self test.

  • First - Fast 24 hours before taking the test.
  • Second - Drink a full 8 ounce glass of milk. Make sure to not eat or drink anything else during this test
  • Finally - wait at least 2 to 3 hours to notice any signs of indigestion, gas, bloating or nausea. If these symptoms are present following milk consumption then more than likely it is lactose intolerance.

To make sure you're on the right track, pre-establish the possibility of being lactose intolerant with this self test then talk to a physician about alternative choices to receive the vital nutrients you need before it becomes an irreversible illness.