ALLERGY HOTLINE COLUMNS
LI Symptoms Cures?
Most of the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance (LI) are produced by bacteria that live in your colon. These bacteria pounce on any undigested lactose that reaches them and ferment it, producing huge amounts of gas in the process.
There are lots of these bacteria - over forty varieties, according to one study. But they arenít alone down there. Your colon naturally harbors dozens of other species of bacteria as well. And some of these have the marvelous ability to manufacture lactase. This lactase can digest the unwanted lactose, taking it out of your system and eliminating the symptoms that it can cause. In fact, many people who test positively for LI suffer no symptoms at all, mostly because their intestines are filled with these wonder bugs.
Because the acidophilus bacteria is one of these "good" bacteria, people have for years been touting the use of acidophilus milk, even though most studies have said that it doesn't work.
But why take the chance of drinking milk to get acidophilus bacteria when you can just put them directly and safely into your system? That's the idea behind DairyCare. The instructions on the package say to "Take two capsules in the morning for approximately 10 hours of relief. For continuous relief take 2 capsules in the morning and 2 capsules at dinner for one week. After a week take 1 or 2 capsules every morning for continuous relief."
Do they work? Maybe. Those people who take the time to write me certainly think so: the mail is running at least five to one in favor of glowing recommendations.
But thereís always a but. I canít find any medical evidence that these tablets work. The closest I can come is a study that compared acidophilus milk to bulgaricus milk and said the bulgaricus milk was hands down better tolerated, even though the concentration of acidophilus bacteria used was many times higher than in a DairyCare capsule. Bulgaricus is the bacteria is yogurt, and yogurt is about the best tolerated dairy product, so this finding makes sense. But I donít know whether this study can be applied to pills.
If you do want to give DairyCare a try, their web site. Or call 800-903-3222.
I mentioned DairyCare specifically only because the firm is promoting itself like crazy, and I get asked questions about it regularly. I canít tell from the promotional literature whether there is anything distinctive about the product or whether the manufacturer is merely good at PR. I do know that you can easily find any of dozens of other manufacturers of acidophilus tablets, both in supermarkets and natural food stores, although thereís no way of telling whether they would work as well as DairyCare, better, or at all.
WARNING! If you do try other brands, CHECK THE INGREDIENTS! Many brands of acidophilus contain whey and even lactose. DairyCare does not. Many other brands are also dairy-free, just not all. Be careful what you buy!
One more complication. Other brands may contain additional ingredients, such as the enzyme rennet. As with almost all non-pharmaceutical products, no studies have been done that I know of to say whether any combination is an improvement over the pure product. People do seem to respond to these products - or to the marketing. In this world, thereís often no way to tell the difference.