Why can people with gallbladder
disease not eat dairy? And you don't really mean no dairy, do
you, but less dairy? Or at least low-fat? Isn't it the fat that is the problem here?
If that was the only issue, one could just eat low-fat cheese. But too often there is an underlying intolerance
or even allergy contributing to the gallbladder problem. More people these days have an actual "lactase deficiency"
which means that they do not make enough lactase which is the enzyme that digests the lactose. Lactose is milk
sugar and is a very large molecule that is not easily absorbed. Lactase breaks down or splits the large molecule
of lactose, into two smaller sugar molecules, glucose and galactose. These two other sugars can more easily slip
through the spaces in the wall of the small intestine and into the blood stream where we want them. When there
is not enough lactase produced to perform this job, uncomfortable symptoms result since the lactose that is not
broken remains to move on down into the large intestine and is fermented there by certain bacteria which produces
large amounts of gas.
What are the symptoms of lactose
The most common symptoms include cramping or pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea, which begin about 30 minutes to
2 hours after ingesting foods containing lactose. Nausea is also possible. Notice the similarity to gallbladder
symptoms? This is one reason why eliminating dairy from your diet when working with your gallbladder is important.
Let's find out what is causing what. And also, why deal with extra discomfort that can be avoided?
How can I tell if I'm lactose
The easiest way to test for a deficiency of lactase is to eat dairy along with 5000 units of lactase and see if
your symptoms subside. Adjust your dose yourself to work with your symptoms. Many of the lactase supplements contain
mannitol which in itself can cause cramping for some people. See a list of brands without mannitol listed below.
Some people cannot tolerate much dairy (lactose) even with the lactase enzyme supplement. They may have an actual
allergy to a protein in the dairy instead. The most common protein allergy is casein. Symptoms may include itchy
skin, rashes, hives, eczema, black around the eyes, chronic bronchitis, runny nose, asthma, ear infections, watery
eyes, stomach cramps, bloating, and diarrhea. I recommend an allergy-clearing program which removes all possible
allergens from the diet and supports and repairs the gut for 3 weeks. Then "provoke" the allergy by adding
one food at a time and watch the reaction. If you do it right, meaning truly remove all allergens, then the reaction
is not mistakable. You don't need blood tests for this; you will feel it. This is called the Clearvite Allergy Provocation Diet.
How did I get lactose intolerance?
Some people develop it with age, based on a genetic component. For others it develops with the onset of gut inflammation
or other digestive disease which compromises the gut contributing to lack of the lactase enzyme. This is because
lactase is made in the lining of the small intestine.
What can I do about it?
If the lactase enzyme works for you, use it. Dietary control of lactose intolerance depends on each person's learning
through trial and error how much lactose he or she can handle, with or without a lactase supplement. If you still
have symptoms, then suspect a casein allergy and avoid dairy. (Allergy tests for casein are available.) Just realize
that your body is put under stress every time you eat something you are allergic to and be good to yourself. It
affects your gallbladder, your gut, your adrenal glands (energy levels) and your immune system and more. If you
continually subject your gut to the inflammation caused by an allergic reaction to dairy, you may develop "leaky
gut" where the walls of the intestines become permeable and large molecules of food that should not penetrate
the walls do, and the immune system attacks them as foreign invaders. This opens up a door to poor digestion, nutrient
deficiencies, developing even more allergies and autoimmune diseases.
So why can many people who are
lactose intolerant drink raw milk without getting symptoms?
I had a patient once who could not tolerate dairy at all - at least in this country. When she went home to Yugoslavia
she would drink fresh, raw milk from on the farm and had no intolerance at all. The naturally-occurring enzymes
including lactase (the enzyme that breaks down the lactose) that are present in raw milk are destroyed in the pasteurization
process. So it would probably depend on just how lactose intolerant you are. And some people tolerate goat's milk
better than cow's as well.
Although not much fun, avoiding obvious dairy products is possible. The problem is that both the primary sugar
and the primary protein in cow's milk, lactose and casein are often added to foods for flavoring, for emulsification,
for consistency or for added protein. Crackers, breads, baked goods, salad dressings, lunch meats, candies and
other snacks, cake and cookie mixes, margarine, instant potatoes, soups, and breakfast drinks etc are all made
using some form of dairy. The only way to tell for sure whether it is added to a food product is to read the food
label. Besides the obvious words like milk or lactose you are looking for whey, casein, caseinate (calcium, lkldfhh,
klhdf or any other caseinate) sp? If you decide giving up dairy is not for you but intend to eat limited dairy
then don't waste your allotment on hidden ingredients in these foods. Instead, chose your dairy products carefully,
like cultured or fermented cheeses which have the added benefits of the supporting the digestive system with good
If you do give up dairy
We have a product called GlutenFlam which is helpful in reducing inflammation caused by both gluten and casein. It is not something
you take along with your dairy or gluten - it just won't be effective enough. Rather, it is for someone who is
completely off either of these allergens but may inadvertently be exposed, like in the foods mentioned above. You
just take 2 at night before bed so that your body can better manage those trace amounts you ingested during the
Temporary Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is usually considered a chronic problem that has to be managed for the rest one's life. Temporary lactose intolerance may occur due to food poisoning, infection (gut or other) and/or
antibiotic treatment. This can be best treated by replacing the gut flora with probiotics for 5-7 days.
Brands of Lactase that do not contain mannitol include:
and Natural Brand Milk Digestant. The latter contains rennet.
contains no mannitol and no fillers and has other digestive enzymes included.