“Can I take probiotics from dairy if I have lactose intolerance?”

July 20, 2009

This is one of the most common questions that I get about probiotics probably because intolerance to lactose, which is found in milk and other dairy products, is the most widespread food intolerance. It is the result of the body not being able to breakdown lactose, which results in a variety of digestive system responses such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. People who avoid dairy due to lactose intolerance may be at risk for bone disease or poor bone health due to lack of calcium intake. However, there is scientific evidence that demonstrates those individuals ability to tolerate fermented dairy products such as yogurt and other foods containing “friendly bacteria’. The main reason is that these products contain beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus or Lactobacillus acidophilus or some kind of bifidobacteria which help to breakdown and digest the lactose and therefore improve tolerance of the dairy food in those individuals who suffer from lactose intolerance.  Therefore, the answer is: Yes- if you have lactose intolerance, you should be able to tolerate dairy products containing probiotics. But, just keep in mind our individual differences- what works for one may not work for you.

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