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HeatherAdministrator

Reged: 12/09/02
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Worldwide prevalence of lactose intolerance
05/02/12 10:31 AM

Lactose Intolerance is a Global Problem

More adults are lactose intolerant than lactase persistent

Reviewed By: Robert Carlson, M.D
By: Charles Poladian
Published: Apr 26, 2012 01:59 pm

Drinking milk as an adult may seem like a common practice but or most of the world, it is not. The reason is due to most adults stop producing the enzyme lactase which breaks down lactose.

Milk can be quite beneficial and is a source of Vitamin D and calcium. A milk allergy or lactose intolerance can lead to some serious health consequences but there are ways to get past this common problem.
Lactose Intolerance is More Common than Uncommon

According to a 2009 study from the University College London, the ability for adults to break down lactose follows the history of dairy production in Europe. The domestication of cows which led to the cultivation of milk occurred approximately 7,500 years ago. Through natural selection, lactase persistence became common among Europeans.

Lactase persistence is the ability to produce the enzyme lactase throughout one's life. Most individuals stop producing lactase after a child is weaned off of their mother's milk. Because of this, most adults around the world are lactose intolerant.

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), between 30 to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. That may seem like a large number, but it is actually quite small compared to stats across the globe.

Lactose intolerance affects approximately 95 percent of Asians, 50 to 80 percent of Hispanics, nearly 100 percent of Native Americans and 60 to 80 percent of African Americans. Lactose intolerance only affects approximately two percent of individuals of Northern European descent.

That means that the ability to break down lactose is not normal rather than the inability to break down lactose. Next time you are drinking milk, think about how strange that is compared to the rest of the world.
Dealing with Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance can lead to stomach pain, gas, cramps, diarrhea or vomiting. The symptoms are not life threatening but can quite problematic which will lead to people avoiding dairy products.
While many individuals have lactose intolerance, that is not the same as a milk allergy.

A milk allergy is a response to a protein and not lactose, which is a sugar. The protein in question is casein and the body reacts much the same way it would to other allergens such as dust mites, grass pollen or tree pollen. Milk allergy may trigger hives, stomach pain, vomiting, wheezing, itchy eyes and anaphylaxis.

Approximately two to five percent of all infants have a milk allergy. Luckily, most grow out of this by the age of three however some children may have a lifelong allergic reaction to milk.

For children with a milk allergy, there are ways to treat the allergy and reduce the symptoms. One approach is through immunotherapy which exposes the allergy sufferer to a small dose of the allergen, gradually increasing the dose over time. This causes the immune system to alter its response to the allergen and reducing symptoms.

A small study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Childrens Center showed the benefits of dry milk powder to reduce allergy symptoms. The study involved 30 children, 10 children received liquid drops of milk extract under the tongue, 10 children received one gram of milk protein a day and 10 children received two grams of milk protein a day.

Reviewed by:
Robert Carlson, M.D
Review Date:
Monday April 23, 2012
Last Updated:
Thursday April 26, 2012
Citation:
University College London, "The Origins of Lactase Persistence in Europe"

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, "MILK ALLERGY"
Johns Hopkins Childrens Center, "Milk Powder Better than Liquid Drops to Treat Milk Allergies"

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, "Lactose Intolerance: Information for Health Care Providers"
National Center for Biotechnology Information, "Vitamin D"
Office of Dietary Supplements, "Calcium"

Source: dailyRx


http://www.dailyrx.com/feature-article/more-adults-are-lactose-intolerant-lactase-persistent-18700.html

--------------------
Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. Shes the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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