10% of the French population is lactose intolerant, what can you do?


In France today, lactose intolerance is thought to affect between 10 % and half the population. Those affected suffer from a range of particularly unpleasant digestive problems: flatulence, gurgling, bloating, cramps, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. But what can you do if you think you are lactose intolerant?


What is lactose intolerance?

First of all, it's important not to confuse lactose intolerance with milk allergy. The latter affects around 2 % of the population and can be life-threatening. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, can occur at any stage of life.

Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder caused by insufficient production of lactase, an enzyme that enables lactose to be digested. Adults are often affected by this intolerance, as lactase becomes rarer with age. It can also follow illnesses that weaken the digestive system.


How is lactose intolerance diagnosed?

Although it is a common ailment, lactose intolerance can sometimes be difficult to identify, as its symptoms are similar to those of other conditions: irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, gluten intolerance, etc. Only a specialist, in this case a gastroenterologist, can make a precise diagnosis. Only a specialist, in this case a gastroenterologist, can make a precise diagnosis.

The doctor will usually begin by prescribing the elimination of lactose from the diet for 3 to 4 weeks to see if the symptoms persist. Depending on the case, the gastroenterologist may carry out an additional test: a breath test. This measures the amount of hydrogen in the air exhaled before and after lactose ingestion. Intestinal bacteria produce a greater quantity of hydrogen during the digestion of unabsorbed lactose, thus revealing intolerance.


How can lactose intolerance be treated?

Lactose intolerance is not a serious condition, even if its symptoms are a nuisance in everyday life. These symptoms are easy to reduce, as long as you limit your lactose intake. You need to identify precisely which foods contain lactose, starting with dairy products. This carbohydrate, made up of glucose and galactose, is found in varying quantities in whole or skimmed milk, milk powder, yoghurts, cream, fromage frais, butter and certain types of cheese.

Lactose is also a food additive used in a variety of preparations, including canned, tinned and frozen foods, ready meals, bread, cold meats, cereals, salad dressings, coffee and biscuits. It is also combined with the active ingredients of nearly 20 % of medicines on the market, to mask their unpleasant taste and optimise their absorption.

Don't always have a choice about what goes on your plate? Whether you're having dinner with friends, going out to a restaurant or just want to treat yourself, think about lactase-based food supplements. Take a look at Lactolerance, for example 1DayOur lactose intolerance supplements offer a full day's protection, so you can enjoy the foods you like without suffering. We offer you a wide range of food supplements dedicated to lactose intolerance, to be selected according to your level of intolerance and the length of protection you require.

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