Positions on dairy in a "paleo" diet aside...
I am lactose intolerant, which I started noticing when I was in high school and my daily carton of milk gave me digestive upset (well, I was sure this was it - could have been my sandwich bread, too). There had been a lull between that and my elementary, when I drank lots and lots of milk every day (it was not "cool" in middle school to buy milk!). So at 16, I stopped drinking milk, but kept eating ice cream, yogurt, cheese, etc. and suffered from mild to moderate bloating when I did. I ended up wising up and purchasing lactase enzyme supplements at some point in college, and took a few whenever I ate ice cream, but when I started getting very worried about symptoms, particularly in social situations, I would take enzymes for ANY dairy, including hard cheese and yogurt. My punishment seems to be that I had a dish of ice cream a month ago, with no enzymes, and suffered such severe GI distress that I could only eat "gentle" foods (broth, eggs, etc.) for a few days. A few years ago in college, I probably would have only had a bit of bloating and a little gas.
If I drink pasteurized cow's milk (or ice cream, milkshakes, etc.), it seems that no amount of enzymes will keep my gut from rebelling, badly. Raw milk produces a few rumbles, but nothing really awful - without supplementing enzymes. I have been popping a cautionary lactase supplement whenever I eat hard cheese, but perhaps I am doing myself a disservice here since a couple of years ago I doubt it would have bothered me without the lactase.
So I guess my questions are - can supplementation make intolerance worse, and is it possible to reverse this course? I have heard the latter suggestion bandied around, but never encountered any solid anecdotes or research on the subject. I do love my aged cheeses and heavy cream - it doesn't give me acne; my blood lipid profile is excellent; and I am not at all overweight.
There is a topic on the Danny Roddy blog - something like "Lactose is not the problem - you are" which might be worth a read...
I don't know if this will help at all.
I have seemed to be lactose intolerant for years (can manage butter and cream but even they give me digestive issues) but every now and then I give in and eat cheese. Then it isn't just stomach - asthma begins to kick in too. It's a b***er!!
Have you checked out Art Ayers's (of coolinginflammation) work on food intolerance? Basically he regards most intolerances as a lack of the correct gut flora to digest that particular food, and that consequently you can overcome the intolerance by acquiring the appropriate gut bacteria. In the case of lactose this can potentially be done by regularly eating small amounts of yogurt or kefir which contain lactose-digesting bacteria. I'm simplifying here - you should definitely take a look at his blog if you haven't already.
Having said that, the lactose content of aged cheese is very low, so if that gives you problems, perhaps it isn't lactose but casein to blame?
I was severely lactose intolerant before quitting gluten (this was pre-paleo). Quitting gluten let my poor abused celiac gut heal. Now I can eat dairy with abandon, although I notice that raw dairy doesn't congest me the way regular dairy can.
I also did some testing for casein intolerance at that time, and it turns out I do fine with casein. A lot of celiacs/gluten intolerant folk can't manage it.
My lifelong dairy intolerance was apparently a matter of incomplete/incompatible gut flora.
History: As a child I didn't like the taste of milk; I used it in cereal with lots of sugar and I was okay with ice cream but actually preferred sherbet. I thought sour cream and cottage cheese tasted like spoiled food.
Result of deep nutrition: There was no change in the first 5 months. In the 6th month, I purchased water kefir grains and began drinking water kefir. In the 7th month I discovered I could eat yogurt with fruit and it tasted good--a definite first. I began making it at home and eating some every day or two, and now I can eat the yogurt plain as easily as with fruit. I've also tested ice cream and have no problem with it either.
The changes seem to involve my taste sense as well as my stomach and gut. What used to taste "spoiled" now tastes good. What used to cause stomach heaves and unhappy guts is now simply processed--although a serving of ice cream does cause a transient increase in gas.
I believe my new-found ability to handle yogurt and ice cream is directly attributable to drinking water kefir. If I were to stop drinking the kefir, I have to question whether I'd still be able to enjoy the cream/yogurt/ice cream.
For me paleo has definitely made it worse. I have been lactose intolerant all my life but in the recent years i have been able to tolerate coffees with low fat milk (due to the added water), most cheeses, frozen yogurt and yogurt. Ice cream was definitely a no-no.
Then I went paleo and all it took was 10 days of no dairy to now be completely be unable to digest any diary apart from Kefir. I guess my body was screaming at me not to touch it anymore and if I really am dying for a milky coffee I go either bulletproof or digestive enzymes.
I have been lactose intolerant for years. Decades. I had a direct reaction from eating a milk product to the toilet…in 20 minutes. Dizziness, bloating, gas, diarrhea, aches and pains every day of my life. Even a few fainting sessisons. Alright, now sit down for this one… Cause if you are like me your life is about to change. I quit coffee one day for no particular reason. After the few mandatory days of headaches, I accidentally ate an ice cream without my lactaid pills around. Lo and behold, no diarrhea. I wrote it off as a good day. Next day yogurt. Nothing. No reaction. It has now been a month and my poopsters are hard as nails and I am loading up on lactose both to keep proving it to myself but also to make up for all the lost years of indulgence. No doctor or nutritional specialist caught this. I am an absolutely new man. Good luck….
My sister did when she was younger. She was lactose intolerant and continued to eat the stuff. Whatever she wanted, practically. She would get sick...all the time. But she toughed it out and after a few months could eat whatever she wanted.
I have no problem drinking raw cream and eating raw butter. What I've found after started doing this my mild lactose intolerance has become much better - very close to nonexistent.
It's the same I've heard from other people eating yogurt or other fermented dairy products as some of the bacteria/cultures are basically the same as in raw dairy products.
Bottom line. Have some raw cream. It also tastes way better than pasteurised!
I can't answer your question about supplements but I used to be lactose intolerant also into my 20s but I love milk so much I'd force myself to drink it at that time. Eventually my body gave in and over several years I'm not intolerant AT ALL. Going on 14 yrs now I can drink milk all day and have no problem. I also saw it on tv recently that it can be reversed this way but I don't recommend it if you don't want to force yourself.
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