Are you lactose intolerant or do you know someone who is? Ever wonder what the effect on bone health might be with the lack of Calcium?
Learn more about your body and your skeletal system
What exactly is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is when the body is lacking in the enzyme lactase. Lactase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose within the small intestine. Without this hormone, consuming dairy dairy products leads to stomach pain, bloating, and flatulence. Believe it or not, being lactose intolerant is quite common. It affects almost 65% of the world's population (this % is highly influenced by genetics/race), leading many people to cut out dairy completely. This significantly reduces one's calcium and could lead to a deficiency, putting them at a risk for chronic disease.
The human body uses 99% of calcium to keep bones and teeth strong, thus supporting the skeletal structure in the body. The other 1% of calcium is used in muscle contractions, blood clotting, and nerve function. Focusing on bone health, calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones throughout one's lifespan. Avoidance of dairy is associated with reduced bone density and fragility fractures.
- Provide protection to our fragile organs; our ribs protect the heart and lungs
- Structure the human body; without bones we would be essentially a blob of tissue
- Assist in voluntary movement; muscles for movement are attached to our bones
- Osteoporosis- Thinning of the bones
- Osteopenia- Bone mineral density is lower than usual; precursor to Osteoporosis
- Rickets- Weakening and softening of bones in children
Non-dairy products to get more calcium
Fortified Drinks- It is common for there to be calcium-fortified products like almond milk, soy milk, and orange juice to take the place of a glass of milk in the morning. One glass of calcium-fortified orange juice can have up to 300mg of calcium, about as much as a glass of milk! Be sure to check the label.
Salmon- Three ounces of canned salmon has 181 mg of Calcium plus it is from an animal and will be better absorbed in the body!
Nuts- Almond and Brazil nuts make a great snack on-the-go and they are also loaded with calcium. One serving of nuts has about 110mg of calcium
Ideally, what is the BEST solution for bone health?
Due to the nutritional deficiencies associated with the lack of dairy, it is recommended that those who are not lactose intolerant consume three servings of dairy per day to ensure optimal bone health. Keep in mind that this is only OPTIMAL for bone health. If this lifestyle would bring painful results, consider speaking with your doctor.
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Source: Hodges JK, Cao S, Cladis DP, Weaver CM. Lactose Intolerance and Bone Health: The Challenge of Ensuring Adequate Calcium Intake. Nutrients, 2019; 11 (4)