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Colostrum and Lactose

ColostrumDecember 12

Many people experience digestive discomfort and for some, it’s caused by ingredients in certain foods such as the naturally occurring sugar in milk.

    This sugar is called lactose and if we can’t digest it, we can end up with symptoms including:

  • Digestive upset
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Irregular bowel activity
  • Queasiness

Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase. Without lactase, the body can’t breakdown lactose for digestion. Production of lactase decreases as we age so adults are more likely to suffer from lactose intolerance than children.

The prevalence of lactose intolerance varies between nations; in Australia and New Zealand it is estimated to effect less than 10% of the population. In most Asian populations the prevalence is much higher with statistics ranging from 15% to over 90% depending on the specific population studied.

The degree of lactose intolerance also varies, with some people happily being able to ingest small to moderate amounts of dairy based foods, while others have a much lower tolerance.

The good news is, colostrum is naturally low in lactose - 1 gram of colostrum has approximately 60mg (0.06g) - so it’s unlikely to cause digestive upset and may even help support healthy digestion so your system works smoothly and efficiently, as it’s meant to.

Colostrum does this by supporting the health of gut tissue, for naturally efficient absorption, digestion and elimination. Colostrum and probiotics may also help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. The amount of lactose in a daily serve of 2 grams of pure colostrum is less than a teaspoon of milk in your cup of tea - If you are able to tolerate a small amount of milk or yoghurt, then you are likely to be able to tolerate a moderate daily intake of colostrum.

It is advisable to start any colostrum product at a low dose to test your tolerance, building up slowly to the full dose. If you have a severe lactose intolerance or dairy allergy we recommend that you contact your healthcare provider for specific advice on how to proceed.

colostrum cows in a dairy farm field {.lazy}

Keech A (2009), Peptide Immunotherapy: Colostrum: A Physician’s Reference Guide, AKS Publishing, USA.

Marks J for MedicineNet, ‘Lactose Intolerance (Lactase Deficiency)’. Accessed 31 May, 2011. http://www.medicinenet.com/lactose_intolerance/page5.html

Food Reactions, ‘Prevalence, Age and Genetics of Lactose Intolerance’. Accessed 31 May, 2011. http://www.foodreactions.org/intolerance/lactose/prevalence.html

Basilisco G, Report on study by Melnick M, ‘Could Lactose be all in Your Head?’ May 18, 2011. Available: Time Magazine Healthland

Borissenko M, ‘Lactose Intolerance, Dairy Products & Colostrum’, Institute of Colostrum Research, July 2003.

Qiao R, Hung CY, Zeng G, Vonk RJ, Li L, Ye S, ‘Study on the lowest acceptable intake of cow’s milk for healthy adults’, Wei Sheng Yan Jiu (Journal of Hygiene Research), 2006 Nov;35(6):747-9.