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Temporary lactose intolerance inevitable??


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Hi today is milk reintro day and not feeling great. Stomach pain and queasiness after yog for bfast and a halloumi salad for lunch ( possibly overkill?)

My medical consultant friend told me I'm bound to get some reaction, as while off milk your body stops producing lactase, but that it will increase again one I'm eating it more regularly and it will settle down. This goes against what the reintro advice says as I understand it ( the kicking shin stuff). So I'm confused.

Any wisdom please on this? I've read the milk manifesto which presents strong arguments against it from a hormonal perspective but I've badly missed the taste pop of cheese..........

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  • 2 weeks later...

In all the time I have spent with dieticians, nutritionists & allergists, and throughout my own studies I have always been led to believe  that a period of exclusion is more likely to resolve an intolerance than create one - although granted we are talking more in terms of an 8wk period of exclusion here as opposed to 30 days.

It's also worth bearing in mind that humans are the only mammals to continue ingesting milk (& notably milk from another mammal) beyond weaning - our bodies simply do not require it once we start eating actual food. The lack of lactase production is actually evidence of this rather than a result of avoiding dairy, and it's production naturally starts easing off anywhere from 12mths to 5yrs of age, but can continue into adulthood in some instances.

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Hi Britgirl, sorry you were not feeling well after having some dairy. I'm not a mod, but I am a registered dietitian and I can confirm what your friend said: the body stops or slows down lactase production if there is no lactose around to be digested (pretty efficient)! It's normal for even lactose-tolerant individuals to experience some digestive upset after reintroducing dairy, and in that case, those symptoms should subside after the body starts producing more lactase. It might help to choose dairy foods that are lower in lactose, like hard cheeses and yogurt. Or I suppose one could introduce dairy using only lactose-free products (like Lactaid cheese and milk) to see if you have a reaction to dairy independent of lactose.

Today is my dairy reintro day, and if it's helpful, I'll share my way of thinking about this question. I expect to have some gastrointestinal symptoms (cramps, diarrhea, belching, or gas). I'll be on the lookout for them and how mild or severe they are. But I'm also looking for other symptoms, like acne, fatigue, "brain fog", PMS symptoms when the time comes, stuffy or runny nose -- because I could be sensitive to other things in dairy besides or instead of lactose, like whey protein, caesin, etc.

I also will be paying attention to how much I enjoy dairy and if it's as delicious as I remember. :)

Once I go through the rest of my reintro, I will likely experiment with dairy over a longer period of time (especially because some of those symptoms may take longer to show up).

I hope this is helpful. And if others, health professionals, or mods want to add to or respond to my thoughts, please do.

I'd also like to hear more about what Whole30 wisdom would say!

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