Dairy is a great group of foods. They can be found in all shapes and sizes and many varieties are rich in protein, low in carbohydrates and fats and sometimes they even contain probiotics which in turn have positive effects. In addition, dairy is tasty and easy to use. Think of the whey shake that you drink after every workout, the bowl of cottage cheese or skyr before bed, the milk that you use for you Night Protein or the cottage cheese that you put on your sandwich.
Yet there is also a disadvantage to dairy, namely lactose. Lactose is the milk sugar that dairy products naturally contain and a large part of the population has an intolerance to this to a greater or lesser extent. It is not entirely known how large that group of people in the Netherlands is. The estimates range from 'only' 2% of the population (but with 17 million inhabitants, that is easily 340.000 people!) To even 1 in 7 inhabitants! In addition, lactose intolerance occurs relatively rarely in the Netherlands because a lot of dairy is consumed and drunk, while in other areas of the world the percentage of people with a lactose intolerance even rises to 90%!
If you are lactose intolerant yourself you know how annoying this can be, but perhaps it offers Lactase then the solution for you! But let's start from the beginning ...
What is lactose intolerance?
As we mentioned above, lactose is the milk sugar that occurs naturally in dairy products. In milk, the basis of most dairy products, the proportion of lactose is around 4 to 5%. To properly process lactose from dairy, the body must produce an enzyme called lactase.
This lactase enzyme ensures that the lactose from your food in the small intestine is properly broken down and processed. In people who are lactose intolerant, however, this does not happen well, as insufficient or even no lactase is produced by the body. As a result, the lactose is not properly digested and ends up in the large intestine, where it will ferment. This process can cause you to experience symptoms such as nausea, bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain and diarrhea. So it's not great if dairy products are an important part of your diet!
In addition, lactose intolerance does not have to be congenital. Studies have shown that as people age, the body can produce less lactase. This can ensure that you get more and more troubled by dairy products at a later age, while this was never a problem in the past!
It is important to remember that there is a big difference between a lactose intolerance and a cow's milk allergy. With the lactose intolerance we are talking about in this article, your body cannot produce enough lactase. With a cow's milk allergy a much more intense reaction occurs that can even cause skin complaints, respiratory complaints and irritation and swelling. If the latter applies to you, this article will unfortunately not help you.
A life without dairy ?!
A lactose intolerance can therefore ensure that you prefer not to consume dairy. Every time you drink a shake with a bloated feeling walking around and having to go to the toilet every hour is no fun after all. Does a lactose intolerance mean that you can never eat dairy products again? Luckily not…
First of all, lactose intolerance is a very broad concept. Of course, some people do not tolerate dairy products at all, but for most it is limited to a number of products. For example, pure milk may not be as suitable, but pure, filtered products are like Whey Isolate or skyr no problem. If you notice that your lactose is intolerant, it is wise to test how serious that tolerance is and whether there are products that you actually tolerate.
If, unfortunately, that also offers no improvement for you, we have another solution, fortunately. lactase enzymes!
Lactase enzymes = enjoy your dairy without the disadvantages
Fortunately for everyone who suffers from the above there are nowadays lactase enzymes in supplement form available! This lactase enzyme improves the digestion of lactose in people who have difficulty digesting lactose. Research  has shown that when tested the amount of lactose in the body was up to 50-60% lower than when the lactase enzyme was not taken! Safety was also tested and even at higher doses no harmful effects were found .
A real outcome for anyone who experiences discomfort after eating or drinking lactose-containing products. So you no longer have to look for alternatives to your familiar whey shake, which often taste a little less good. You can also continue to eat your bowl of cottage cheese or skyr without any problems, as long as you add some lactase enzyme!
Written by Mathias Jansen