Are You More Likely to be Lactose Intolerant?
UP TO 90% OF ETHNIC POPULATIONS CANNOT PROPERLY DIGEST LACTOSE.
Many people around the country sadly say goodbye to their favorite dairy products because they have difficulty digesting lactose. In fact, it has been estimated that seven million Canadians suffer from lactose intolerance.1
Ask anyone affected by lactose intolerance about the underlying cause of their problem, and they will probably say it's due to their genetics. However, there are many factors affecting how populations adapt and react to lactose besides genetics, including diet, climate, and even ethnicity. In Canada, these factors translate into 20% of the population being affected by lactose intolerance.1 One of the main reasons for this percentage is the diversity of ethnicities in the country.
Lactose Intolerance Rates by Ethnicity:
Certain populations have a higher likelihood of being lactose intolerant. In North American adults lactose maldigestion can be found in approximately 79% of Native Americans, 75% of blacks, 51% of Hispanics, and 21% of Caucasians.2
In fact studies show that lactase deficiency occurs more often in people of American/Canadian Indian, Asian, African, and Hispanic descent than those of European descent. Experts believe that those ethnicities that haven't had lactose as part of their ancestral diet have a greater chance of being lactase deficient.3
The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that the prevalence of primary lactase deficiency varies among ethnicities, and is dependent on the use of dairy products in their diets. Populations who incorporate more dairy products into their diet had a lower incidence of primary lactase deficiency. This is well represented in the population of Northern Europeans, who have as few as 2% with primary lactase deficiency.4
PRIMARY LACTASE DEFICIENCY RATES
5. Heyman, MB. Lactose intolerance in infants, children, and adolescents. PEDIATRICS 2006;118(3):1279-1286. Available at:
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/3/1279. full Accessed on February 23, 2015.
Additionally, approximately 20% of Hispanic, Asian, and African children younger than 5 years of age have evidence of lactase deficiency, while children of Caucasian decent don't develop symptoms of lactose intolerance till after age 4 or 5. However, most people don't show signs of being lactose intolerance until late adolescence or adulthood.4
Adding Dairy Back into your Diet:
Regardless of your ethnicity, your body needs calcium, potassium, and vitamin D - key nutrients found in dairy products. Diary consumption has been associated with several health benefits, including bone health, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and lower blood pressure.5
Instead of saying no to dairy, include LACTAID« Lactase Enyzme Supplements whenever you consume foods that contain lactose. LACTAID« Supplements help make dairy products more digestible for those with lactose intolerance. Now you can once again enjoy your favorite dairy products, and help ensure you get the vitamins and minerals you need.
1. Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. http://www.cdhf.ca/en/disorders/details/id/13
2. Scrimshaw NS, Murray EB. The acceptability of milk and milk products in populations with a high prevalence of lactose intolerance. Am J Clin Nutr. 1988;48(4 Suppl):1079. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=3140651. Accessed on March, 6, 2015.
3. Healthwise staff. Who is affected by lactose intolerance? Healthlink British Columbia website. Available at:www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthtopics/content.asp?hwid=ue5392 Accessed on February 23, 2015.
4. Heyman, MB. Lactose intolerance in infants, children, and adolescents. PEDIATRICS 2006;118(3):1279-1286. Available at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/3/1279. full Accessed on February 23, 2015.
5. Jung, M, Strategies to increase consumption of milk products. Dairy Farmers of Canada Dairy Nutrition Website. Available at: www.dairynutrition.ca/data-on-consumption/qualitative-data/strategies-to-increase-consumption-of-milk-products Accessed February 23, 2015.