Do probiotics help with lactose intolerance?
Mounting evidence shows that probiotic bacteria in fermented and unfermented milk products can help with the clinical symptoms of lactose intolerance (LI). The effectiveness of probiotics in the treatment may vary depending on strain and severity of your lactose intolerance.
In this article, we’ll be taking a quick look at probiotics and they may help or affect you if you are suffering from lactose intolerance.
We’ll be looking at what kind of probiotic may be good for lactose intolerance, and if you can take more mainstream probiotics like Align to help you with your lactose intolerance and if this can all help with these issues and others like IBS. Let’s take a look.
What probiotic is good for lactose intolerance?
Probiotics like Lactobacillus, contain β-galactosidase or lactase intracellularly which means ingestion of lactase-containing probiotics may help lactose-intolerant individuals, either consumed with food or taken separately in supplement form.
The thought is that these kinds of probiotic supplements could help with your intestinal lining and the digestion of dietary lactose. This could help people who are suffering from malabsorptive symptoms from too much lactose.
This can also help you with other stomach problems as well such as diarrhea and helping to reduce the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). There’s also some research that shows that it can help with the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease as well.
Does Lactobacillus help lactose intolerance?
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) like Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus bulgaricus may help with digesting lactose contained in fermented dairy products. This could be beneficial to people who are suffering from lactose intolerance.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study for Lactobacillus Acidophilus to help with lactose intolerance, 38 volunteers were asked to test probiotics for their condition, alongside a placebo control group.
They took one capsule every day for 4 weeks, followed by a 2-week washout period. They scored the symptoms of their diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and overall symptoms in comparison to before and after taking the probiotics for 4 weeks.
They reported that probiotics were able to help reduce their abdominal symptoms and make them feel better than not taking it in comparison to the placebo group.
However, as this was such a small number of people to have on a study like this – more research may be needed. This is still a good sign though for helping to improve your gut’s health when suffering with lactose intolerance.
Can I take Align probiotic if I am lactose intolerant?
Since Align® contains trace amounts of lactose, it may or may not be okay for those with lactose intolerance, but it depends on how sensitive you are. If you are interested in taking this supplement, please speak with your doctor first.
The main thing we would say is that the capsule and chewable form of Align contains a milk protein – which is definitely kindling to the fire that is lactose intolerance.
For people who don’t have lactose intolerance, Align is a probiotic that has a relatively low side effect profile. It’s also gluten-free and a good option for those who are suffering from celiac disease.
However, as we’ve mentioned, this is still a product that contains a milk protein, which could have some degree of lactose in it which could trigger you depending on how sensitive you are to lactose.
In our opinion, we believe you are better off with a prebiotic in this case. A prebiotic is a fibrous complex that can help feed the natural healthy bacteria that is already in your gut. This avoids pitfalls that are associated with probiotics like Align as it contains no milk protein, and is completely lactose free.
Probiotics for Lactose Intolerance and Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
As long as the probiotic you’re using doesn’t contain any lactose, you should be fine to use a probiotic to help reduce the symptoms of your lactose intolerance and / or irritable bowel syndrome. Although not as effective as actual medicine – and you should definitely speak to your doctor first, a probiotic can help to establish better gut health to make your condition more manageable.
If you are looking for a product that can help your gut health, that is gluten-free, lactose free and doesn’t introduce any unfamiliar bacteria into your gut, we suggest you go for a prebiotic. This allows you to support your natural gut bacteria and get a healthier gut environment without having to introduce new bacteria.