April 20th, 2010
06:07 PM ET

Many who think they’re lactose intolerant aren’t, panel says

By Trisha Henry
CNN Medical Producer

30 to 50 million Americans fear they are lactose intolerant. But are they?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.milk.comstock.jpg caption="According to a new report, many people who think they're lactose intolerant may not be"]Most people have some degree of difficulty digesting dairy, experts believe. One recent report suggested that the symptom trigger was not simply consuming dairy, but specifically the amount and the form.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance - diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas and/or bloating - occur after drinking or eating milk products. While most babies are born with enough of a specific enzyme in the small intestine to digest milk, this decreases and levels off as we mature into adults. You shouldn't have more symptoms at 60 than at 15, assuming your diet stays the same, says Dr. Marshall A. Wolf, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

A 14-member panel, organized by the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Program, looked at more than 35 studies. The experts were surprised to learn that many people avoid drinking milk in fear of getting sick when their stomachs could most likely handle more than they think. People are self-diagnosing based on previous symptoms or their family and ethnic backgrounds without actually getting a diagnosis from a doctor, the panel concluded. The bottom line: People who think they are lactose intolerant need to consider whether they are getting enough nutrients before cutting milk from their diet. The panel also found that limiting consumption of dairy foods containing lactose can leave many people without the necessary amount of calcium and vitamin D important for bone growth, and can lead to osteoporosis and other adverse health outcomes.

"Many people, having observed symptoms of lactose intolerance, assume they are allergic to milk and therefore avoid it completely,” said Wolf, a member of the panel. “But it turns out, it's not an allergy, it's a quantitative problem. Even those without the necessary enzyme can digest small amounts” of dairy.

However he does say that there is still a lot to learn on this topic. "Theoretically, if you replace the nutrients you get in milk with other food sources, you probably would end up neutral but we don't know that."

The report suggests that lactose intolerant consumers should not be afraid to start incorporating more dairy into their diet. One tip, the experts say, is to drink milk at different times throughout the day rather than all at once. Also, eat or drink dairy products with other foods. The report also recommends yogurt and cheese as a better alternative to milk.

Visit the Consensus Development Program http://consensus.nih.gov/ to read more about the report.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. cvs ed products

    can erectile dysfunction caused by guilt https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile dysfunction medications

    April 17, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. how much is zithromax

    zithromax for bladder infection https://zithromaxes.com/ what does zithromax do

    April 18, 2021 at 03:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. viagra purchase from canada

    viagra canada purchase https://canadaviagrastore.com/ buy viagra online from canada

    April 18, 2021 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. alprostadil muse doesn't work

    alprostadil urethral suppository https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil urethral suppository otc

    April 18, 2021 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. what is tadalafil

    40 mg tadalafil https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil gel

    April 19, 2021 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. vardenafil 20mg

    vardenafil price https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil coupon

    April 19, 2021 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. vardenafil hcl 20mg tab

    vardenafil cost https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil 40 mg generic

    April 20, 2021 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. sildenafil 90 mg

    cheapest sildenafil india https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil 100mg canada

    April 20, 2021 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. canadian pharmacies ed pills

    canadian diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    April 21, 2021 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. canadian pills online

    canadian weight loss pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pharmacies ed pills

    April 21, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. anatomic

    Generaⅼly I do not read post on blogs, but I ѡish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so!

    Your writing stүle has been surⲣгised me.
    Thank you, quite nice article.

    April 22, 2021 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. levitra vardenafil 40 mg

    vardenafil coupon https://vegavardenafil.com/ buy vardenafil online without presciption

    April 22, 2021 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. can viagra be legally bought from canada

    do you need a prescription for viagra in canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra/canada

    April 22, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. canadian generic cialis 20mg

    cialis canadian discounts https://canadacialisstore.com/ is it safe to order cialis from canadian pharmacy

    April 24, 2021 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. sildenafil pills for sale

    sildenafil 2.5 mg https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ can you buy sildenafil over the counter in uk

    April 24, 2021 at 07:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. alprostadil injection instructions

    injectable erectile dysfunction drugs https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil generic prices

    April 25, 2021 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. plaquenil hydroxychloroquine

    tens 7000 erectile dysfunction https://plaquenilx.com/ does erectile dysfunction end

    April 27, 2021 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. plaquenil toxicity

    herbs for erectile dysfunction https://plaquenilx.com/ erectile disease quiz

    April 27, 2021 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. sildenafil citrate pills

    cheap sildenafil 20mg https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ where to buy sildenafil over the counter

    April 27, 2021 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. dolquine

    premature babies wikipedia https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine tablet

    April 28, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. canadian weight loss pills

    canadian weight loss pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian diet pills

    April 28, 2021 at 04:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Christa Degidio

    There are also those who like to use Nerve Stimulators in conjunction with other treatments for a complete body treatment. For each of these different ends, there are certain characteristics you should be looking for in the best muscle stimulator.


    April 28, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. canadian pharmacy tadalafil viagara cialis

    cialis on line purches canadian pharmacy https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian pharmacy cialis no prescription

    April 28, 2021 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. avana

    avana 200 mg buy avanafil usa

    April 28, 2021 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. sildenafil 80 mg

    sildenafil soft 100mg https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ cost of 100mg sildenafil

    April 29, 2021 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Kirsten

    I blog frequently and I truly thank you for your content.
    Your article has truly peaked my interest. I am
    going to take a note of your site and keep checking for
    new details about once per week. I opted in for
    your Feed as well.

    April 29, 2021 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. erectile dysfunction pills

    erectile curve https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile hardening cream

    April 30, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. canadian weight loss pills

    best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pills online

    April 30, 2021 at 03:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. cvs pharmacy male enhancement pills

    cheapest erectile med https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile disorder symptoms

    April 30, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. viagra canada pharmarcy

    anyone order viagra from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ buy viagra from canada

    April 30, 2021 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. avanafil

    avanafil avanafil 50mg

    April 30, 2021 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. canadian pharmacies ed pills

    canadian diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pharmacies ed pills

    April 30, 2021 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Rafael Beyda

    Other ingredients commonly found in high quality probiotic supplements are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium crickets, and other naturally occurring organisms. All of these can help restore the normal functions of the gastrointestinal tract, including proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.


    May 1, 2021 at 02:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. hidroxicloroquina

    chloroguine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ who makes chloroquine phosphate

    May 1, 2021 at 02:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Roger Straws

    They contain a range of beneficial micro-organisms including probiotics, which can help to replenish the levels of micro-organisms in the body. This can prove very beneficial for those who are experiencing digestive problems.


    May 1, 2021 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. do you need a prescription for viagra in canada

    buy viagra online from canada https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra without a doctor prescription in canada

    May 2, 2021 at 02:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. do you need prescription for canadian perscribition of cialis in usa

    buy generic cialis, canadian https://canadacialisstore.com/ buying canadian cialis

    May 2, 2021 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. counterfeit canadian drugs cialis

    canadian generic cialis 20mg https://canadacialisstore.com/ canadian generic cialis 20mg

    May 2, 2021 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian?

    canadian diet pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian diet pills

    May 2, 2021 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. dapoxetine

    priligy online dapoxetine tablets price

    May 2, 2021 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. http://electronicsrecycling23321.widblog.com/53033073/cd-dvd-burning-service-no-further-a-mystery

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a good article… but what can I say…
    I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

    May 2, 2021 at 22:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. avanafil

    avanafil dosage avana

    May 4, 2021 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. priligy

    buy priligy priligy dapoxetine

    May 5, 2021 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. dapoxetine

    priligy pills buy priligy usa

    May 6, 2021 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. american style fridge freezers in uk

    Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a
    similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam feedback?
    If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can advise?
    I get so much lately it's driving me mad so any assistance is very
    much appreciated.

    My site; american style fridge freezers in uk

    May 7, 2021 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. buy chloroquine online canada

    chloroguine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine side effects

    May 8, 2021 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. samsung rs68n8330b1/eu american-style fridge freezer - black reviews

    Hi there this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to
    know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so
    I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Here is my blog post :: samsung rs68n8330b1/eu american-style fridge freezer – black reviews

    May 11, 2021 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. fitbit charge 4 buy online

    Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no data backup.
    Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

    May 11, 2021 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. LICHFIELD SEO CONSULTANT & Search Engine Optimisation Lichfield

    I think that what you published made a ton of sense. However, think on this,
    what if you were to write a awesome headline? I mean, I don't wish
    to tell you how to run your blog, however suppose you
    added a headline that grabbed people's attention? I mean Many who think they’re lactose intolerant aren’t, panel
    says – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs is a little vanilla.
    You might look at Yahoo's home page and watch how they create
    news headlines to grab viewers to click. You might add a related video or a picture or two to grab people
    interested about everything've got to say.
    Just my opinion, it would bring your blog a little livelier.

    May 12, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. stornobrzinol

    I'm not sure why but this blog is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end? I'll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.


    May 15, 2021 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.