What is Lactose intolerance?
Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance is the body’s inability to produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break-down lactose. When lactose isn’t fully broken down, it starts to ferment in the gut, which leads to excess gas and bloating.
Lactose intolerance can be present from infancy, but more often it develops in later life and can be brought on by certain events; bad stomach bugs or even from the over-consumption of lactose. The reasons for the prevalence of the intolerance is much debated – but centres around dairy being a fairly modern addition to our diets.
Lactose intolerance: it’s in the DNA
Infants have lactase as they need to digest mother’s milk. However, it’s thought that the lactase production gene is ‘switched off’ after that. In modern generations, the lactase gene has remained switched on to compliment out diet, however for many people and populations the gene stays ‘off’.
It is estimated that 65% of the world’s adult population has lactose intolerance in some form, and it’s often undiagnosed. It is more common in populations where dairy has been less common in the modern diet – ie. China.
Should you avoid lactose?
So how do you tell if you’re one of the 65%? If you notice you have gas, bloating, lethargy, nausea or diarrhoea following the consumption of dairy products, then there’s a chance you’re intolerant. Many experts suggest keeping a food diary to track correlations between symptoms and food. Or to be sure, there are a number of tests your GP can do to determine if you’re intolerant to lactose. It’s also worth noting that lactose intolerance is far more common than a lactose allergy. An allergy is a reaction caused by the lactose, rather than an inability to process it properly.
How Mr Protein can help
The most common forms of protein supplements tend to contain dairy, and therefore lactose. Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese making process and Casein is a milk-based protein. Taking lactose-based protein supplements every day can affect those with even mild and undiagnosed intolerance. It has also been found that regular intake of protein can cause intolerance levels to rise, especially with lactose.
All of the products on the Mr Protein site are lactose-free, so whether you’re intolerant or simply looking to cut down and alternate with Whey or Casein, have a look at our vegan products and see which is best for you.