Understanding Lactose Intolerance in Infants, Toddlers & Children.
Lactose often gets a bad rap, but it is the primary carbohydrate source in breast milk. Many people self-diagnose their children with lactose intolerance when they experience digestive discomfort after drinking cow’s milk. But what is the truth about lactose – and what else might be causing the symptoms? Read on to learn more.
Lactose is essential
Lactose is a milk sugar naturally occurring in all milks (including breast milk), that provides fuel and energy to all the cells of the body, and is critical for optimal growth and development. It is made up of two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. Lactose is molecularly identical regardless of the source (goat’s milk, cow’s milk or breast milk).
Research shows lactose may also contribute to the absorption of calcium, help regulate gut microbiota and support immune function.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactase is the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of lactose. As we age, lactase may be deficient or lacking altogether. Lactose intolerance is associated with inadequate breakdown and malabsorption of lactose. When this occurs, bacteria in the colon ferment the undigested lactose, leading to digestive discomfort with symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, and bloating.
Congenital lactose intolerance is rare in young children
While there are rare disorders in which infants are unable to break down lactose in breast milk or formula, most infants produce lactase to digest lactose provided by their mother’s breast milk.
Lactose intolerance may be a common problem in older children and adults, but it is uncommon before 2 or 3 years of age.
What else may cause digestive discomfort?
Many parents diagnose their young child’s digestive discomfort as lactose intolerance when a more appropriate term to use may be cow milk sensitivity, which may be related to the protein in cow’s milk and not the lactose.
Lactose intolerance should also not be confused with cow milk protein allergy (CMPA). Cow milk protein allergy is an allergic reaction to the protein components in milk, not the sugar. Individuals with cow milk protein allergy (CMPA) must avoid all milk products, including goat milk.
As KABRITA Goat Milk Formula contains lactose, it is not suitable for children with diagnosed lactose intolerance. It’s also not suitable for children with a cow milk protein allergy. KABRITA Goat Milk Formula is naturally easy to digest and may be suitable for children with cow milk sensitivity* or those avoiding cow milk.
*not suitable for children with a confirmed cow milk protein allergy (CMPA)