There are some health risks you should be aware of if you are lactose intolerant.

Milk contains a great deal of essential nutrients and vitamins your body needs to grow and stay strong. If you’re lactose intolerant it is important to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients, especially calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is particularly important for women because it keeps bones strong and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

If you are lactose intolerant, it is important to find other means to get these essential nutrients. For instance, there are many nondairy foods that contain calcium, including:

  • Broccoli, okra, kale, collards, and turnip greens
  • Canned sardines, tuna, and salmon
  • Oranges
  • Calcium-fortified juices
  • Soy products such as soy milk, tofu, and soybeans
  • Almonds

* Try the USDA Nutrient Database and search for calcium to find foods to fit your needs.

Another option: Rice Dream (non-dairy beverage), distributed by Imagine Foods, Inc. is truly a dream come true! It has 30% of your daily value of calcium per serving (the same amount as milk). I buy Organic Original Enriched (it is also available in chocolate), and although it takes some getting used to when compared to milk, it is great on cereal and used in hot chocolate or coffee. For more information, contact Imagine Foods, Inc., 350 Cambridge Ave., Suite 350, Palo Alto, CA, 94306.

To absorb calcium, your body needs vitamin D. Most people get enough vitamin D by being out in the sun for short periods of time each day. Vitamin D is also found in fortified milk, fortified soy milk, butter, margarine, egg yolks, and liver.

If you don’t know whether you are getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients found in milk products such as magnesium, potassium, protein, and riboflavin, you might want to talk to your doctor.
Kids and Calcium

Q: What if my 5-year old can’t drink milk?

A: It seems hard to believe, but healthy bone-building habits during youth can greatly impact risk of osteoporosis (the brittle bone disease) later in life. That’s because bones don’t reach their peak density or thickness until the age of about 35, so maximizing calcium intake from childhood until this age is what helps bones become as strong as possible. The best time to start working on osteoporosis prevention is with kids and young adults, especially females since they’re at higher risk. If your child can’t eat the recommended 3-4 servings of dairy foods daily, try calcium-fortified juices, cereal and breads. Tofu processed with calcium and salmon canned with edible bones are also excellent sources, while greens, sunflower seeds, blackstrap molasses, and dried figs are good sources. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about supplements if you’re still concerned they may not be getting enough calcium.

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2 Responses to “Health Risks on being Lactose Intolerant”

  1. Justin Rizzo Says:

    I think it is ridiculous that people with lactose intolerance need to pay more in order to get around lactose. My younger brother (12) and I (23) are both lactose intolerant and we have been through it all: yogurt, avoiding lactose, hidden dairy,….and we hate it, especially soy and rice milk. Is there anything out there that me and my brother can take to be normal?!!?

  2. Molly Says:

    Lactase supplements can make it way easier to get kids the calcium they need (the vast majority of kids would rather drink a glass of milk than eat a serving of kale, after all.)

    Find out how to treat lactose intolerance with liquid lactase and probiotic supplements here.

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Disclaimer: No medical doctor has reviewed the contents of this website/ blog. This website/blog was development for the purpose of providing a central place for lactose intolerant individuals to come to share basic information and personal insight. It is advised that you check with your physician or medical advisor before acting upon anything learned from this site.