How to cure lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance is one of the most common food intolerances, affecting up to 65% of the world’s adult population. (1) Many people choose to completely cut out dairy as a way to avoid the gastrointestinal symptoms that frequently come along with eating dairy foods. But is true lactose intolerance really the cause of their digestive distress, or are many people prematurely eliminating dairy because of a perceived inability to digest milk products? And is it possible to cure lactose intolerance, even as an adult?

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The major reason some people can’t digest dairy products is they lack the enzyme lactase, which is necessary to break down lactose in the small intestine. It has been determined that continued genetic expression of this enzyme, known as lactase persistence, is dependent on ancestry and racial background. (2) The ability to consume dairy probably gave early herdsmen a distinct survival advantage, allowing for the spread of the gene in certain regions of the world such as northern Europe and parts of Africa; today, only about 40% of the world’s adult population maintain full lactase function following childhood. (3, 4)  Lactase deficiency makes digesting dairy products more challenging for these individuals.

However, true lactose intolerance is rarely diagnosed by medical testing, and adults frequently mistake their gastrointestinal symptoms as a sign that they are unable to digest dairy products at all. Studies have shown that even diagnosed “lactose malabsorbers” are capable of consuming moderate amounts of dairy, tolerating an average 12 grams of lactose when administered in a single dose (the lactose content found in 1 cup of milk) with little to no symptoms. (5) Additionally, many adults who believe they have lactose intolerance are actually suffering from other gastrointestinal disorders such as SIBO, celiac disease, or IBS, and do not see significant benefit from eliminating dairy. Ultimately, there are many people who avoid dairy products without reason for doing so.

Why dairy is worth eating

You may be wondering why eating dairy even matters; after all, there are many examples of ancestral cultures that had no dairy in their diets and maintained superb health. However, it is believed that certain ethnicities may have had physical adaptations to their low calcium diet, and also traditionally consumed animal foods that are higher in calcium but probably not so appetizing to us Westerners, such as fish heads, bones, and skin. (6, 7) Therefore, they were able to meet their individual calcium needs without milk and dairy.

Calcium is a mineral that is difficult to get adequate amounts of in a modern Western diet without the inclusion of dairy. While the adequate levels of fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2 reduces the amount of calcium an adult needs to maintain bone health, it can still be challenging to get enough calcium simply from leafy greens and bone-in fish. Several studies have shown that individuals with lactose intolerance have lower bone density and are at higher risk for fractures and osteoporosis, likely due to their inadequate calcium intake. (8, 9, 10) This risk is possibly exacerbated by low K2 consumption, as grass-fed dairy is one of the best sources of vitamin K2.

Pastured dairy products, in particular, are also a good source of the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2 – which can also be difficult to obtain elsewhere in the diet. In fact, the only other significant sources of K2 are goose liver and natto, foods that aren’t typically eaten or easy to find. And, as I pointed out in a recent article, dairy is the primary source of the natural trans-fat conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may have anti-cancer and other beneficial properties.

So what can you do if you believe you truly have lactose intolerance but want to begin eating dairy again? It may surprise you to learn that the quality and quantity of your gut bacteria can play an important role in your ability to tolerate dairy products. By taking certain kinds of probiotics and consuming fermented dairy on a regular basis you can improve, if not eliminate, many of the symptoms of lactose intolerance that come with eating dairy.

Using probiotics to cure lactose intolerance

Studies have shown that supplementation with probiotics, in addition to consuming yogurt that has been enhanced with certain types of bacteria, can alleviate symptoms of lactose intolerance by modifying the metabolic activity of microbiota in the colon. (11, 12, 13) These bacteria may even produce their own lactase enzyme, and consuming lactose from dairy products can promote the growth of these bacteria in the colon. Over time, these effects can lead to greater lactase content in the gut, improved lactose digestion, and eventually the elimination of intolerance symptoms.

If you plan to use yogurt and probiotics to improve your digestion of dairy products, it’s important to start slowly and build up tolerance gradually. Often, negative effects from dairy consumption come from simply eating more lactose in one sitting than one’s gut can completely metabolize. I recommend starting with probiotic supplementation first, and focusing on bifidobacterium longum, a strain that has been shown to efficiently metabolize lactose. (14)

Jarro-Dophilus, a shelf-stable probiotic that doesn’t require refrigeration, is one option. Taking prebiotics is another way of significantly increasing bifidobacterium levels; in fact, some studies suggest prebiotics are more effective than probiotics at doing this. Biotagen is the prebiotic I use in my clinic. Remember to start at a very low dose and build up slowly over time with both pre- and probiotics to avoid any unpleasant side effects.

In addition to this supplement, I suggest consuming a few spoonfuls of a high quality full-fat yogurt every day, with each meal if possible. This will introduce beneficial bacteria into your gut that are effective lactose metabolizers, and by slowly increasing the amount of yogurt you eat every day, you may be able to work up to eating two or more servings of fermented dairy every day.

If you tolerate the yogurt well, and want to try diversifying your dairy intake, my next recommendation is to start including full-fat hard cheeses (raw if possible); these cheeses are great sources of calcium and vitamin K2 and are very low in lactose. One ounce of hard cheese contains about a third of the recommended intake of calcium, and gouda is the best source of vitamin K2 of all cheeses. (15) These hard cheeses are extremely low in lactose, and make a nutrient-dense addition to a whole foods diet. As you become more tolerant of dairy products, you can try higher lactose items such as soft cheeses, cream, and even fluid milk. Just remember to stick to the full fat and grass-fed versions as often as possible.

Of course, another option to try is raw milk. Anecdotal evidence from raw milk drinkers around the country suggests that many people who cannot tolerate pasteurized milk have no trouble drinking raw milk. (16) Research conducted on this theory, however, indicates that truly lactose intolerant individuals do not experience any benefit from drinking raw milk over pasteurized milk. (17) Some feel this result suggests that while many people believe themselves to be lactose intolerant, there is only a small percentage of people who are truly lactose intolerant from a clinical perspective.

The best way to figure out which dairy products work for you and your digestive system is simply to try them yourself. By taking the time to introduce lactose fermenting bacteria through probiotics and high quality yogurt, you may find your lactose intolerance symptoms decreasing over time. Of course, if you’d rather eat fish heads to get your calcium, feel free to skip the dairy!

Have any of you ever cured yourself of lactose intolerance? What method did you use? Let me know in the comments below!

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Comments Join the Conversation

    • Nics says

      Hey Dalton, I’m 14 and also suffer lactose intolerance. I cut out dairy but kept finding myself going back to Ben & Jerry’s for a pint of half baked lol my fav. I personally love whole foods unsweetened almond milk (cant stand too much sugar in liquids) but have you ever tried Lactaid milk? It’s literally milk that won’t cause discomfort. I’ve never tried it because I learned to love almond milk. There are many really tasty alternatives to being dairy free. But the cheese makes me want to throw up lol I just gave up on that. I have a friend who was lactose like me but she just kept on eating dairy and her body got used to it I assume, because now she can have all the dairy and her stomach won’t hurt her. Now this obviously does not sound like the best option but I would just say find something u like that substitutes dairy!

      • Rachel says

        HI! I had the same problem with absolutely hating soy/almond milk in any variation or flavor. I use/drink Lactaid milk almost everyday! Growing up I was not lactose intolerant but I slowly developed it over my adolescence; I just couldn’t give up dairy products but especially milk. I’m almost 20 now and I take dietary dairy supplements (before I eat any dairy) and I drink Lactaid! (They also have ice cream!) I give Lactaid a 10/10 on the milk scale (:

  1. John says

    Starting around the age of 18, I had issues digesting dairy. By my early 20’s I couldn’t even eat a slice of bread if it had “milk”, in the ingredients. A couple of Doritoes and I was bloated,feverish and felt razor blades shooting thru my intestines followed by diarrhea. This lasted till I was 36 and for a week. Nothing was exiting my body despite 3 meals a day. Someone suggested I eat some dairy products since that always made me go in the past. I ate ice cream, pizza and most important, I think, yogurt. After a day or two, I had bowel movements again. Tentatively I continued eating dairy to see what would happen. Nothing happened. I was cured. I eat yogurt every morning because I believe that is what fixed me. The constipation kept the yogurt in me long enough to introduce the bacteria back into my digestive tract. What do you think?

    • Lilly says

      I went to see someone for my digestive troubles and she told me that my body didn’t like dairy and that if I 100% cut it out for 6 months I would be able to reintroduce it to my diet without too much difficulty.

  2. Robert Hill says

    I do something called Quantum Allergy which is a way of getting rid of any intolerance-lactose, wheat etc.However, if you have a lack of lactase in your body, thje issue is different, and may not have a solution'(certain ethnic races have this).Intolerance to anything is an energy inbalance and can be rectified.For testimonials from many clients you can go to the site
    I give sessions and the results are usually quite fast.This is a different way of approaching it.payment is by donation

  3. says

    I went on a diet with no dairy for a month lost 17 plbs
    of course i did other things also.
    As soon as i ate a few things with dairy my gut would bloat like the cows bell.
    My voice would go horse for about 2 hours after eating dairy.
    the horseness has stop now. it lasted for about 3 months
    I have extreme gas.
    It is really hard cause so much food has some kind of dairy in it.

    I would welcome any advise you could offer to help

  4. Khulekani Sibiya says

    I usually develop heart burn sensation if I ate any thing that have a protein content whether it milk or meat.
    am I lactic intolerant what.
    how can I cure it?

    • EM says

      Protein in some form or another is found in more than just animal byproducts. Many vegetables, beans, and legumes are all protein-rich, so it’s unlikely that you are sensitive to protein in general–there are many proteins, and you need protein to survive.

      If fatty foods give you heartburn, try replacing some meat and dairy with vegetarian alternatives to see if that helps.

  5. Chris Meyers says

    Ok I don’t want to sound harsh or insensitive, but most of this obsession with lactose intolerance, especially from those with northern and western European (or actually any area with caucasians upto and including India), is just nonsense. Easiest way to cure your “lactose intolerance” which doesn’t really exist at all is the following:. Go on a one week diet of nothing but milk. Yeah youll feel some discomfort initially, but after a day or two, when your body realizes ‘hey absorb the milk or youll get no other food’ you will digest the milk just fine. Three quarters of this lactose intolerance nonsense is just in your heads because of anti dairy propoganda out of the processed food set who have reduced dairy consumption in this country. Trust me, chances are you arent lactose intolerant, theres nothing wrong with you, and your body will get used to it if forced to. Thats why stuff like this gradual yogurt thing work for most people, because it was all psychological to begin with and your body can adapt to sustain itself on just about anything if it has to. Man up, drink that milk even if it causes you ‘discomfort’, do it every day, and within a week youll be fine.

    • charles scheele says

      All in my head, eh? Well then I must have been a brilliant baby. I’ve had lactose intolerance since birth. But it shows my interest in overcoming it by my presence here.

      Trust me, I really wish I wasn’t lactose intolerant. Some low lactose products (hard cheese for example) I can take in small quantities. High lactose products are a different story in any quantity.

      So, I don’t think you are callous, just dogmatic in thinking we are all brain-washed. I didn’t even have an opinion until I turned two!

    • killian says

      Intllerance is real. I unfortunately just got it. About 2 months ago i got really bad food poisoning and was on an IV for a bit since i couldnt even swallow water without puking. after i found that i had stomach pains whenever I ate. I thought maybe i was still sick so just left it. weeks later i think something is wrong and see a doctor. Turns out that the bacteria that caused my food poisoning had attacked the cell wall of my intestines, destroying lots of my biotics and lactaze production. I had a high dairy diet and I am used to drinking 2-3 cups a day and cheese and sour creams so i never in my life thought i would be lactose intollerant. Low and behold after one day of not eating any dairy i felt like a million bucks (apart from the internal crying that i cant even eat milk chocolate ;_:)
      They say that what happened to me is more common than you may think and my body may repair itself, but i will be waiting 1-2 years and there is only a 75% chance of lactose tollerance. So essentially because of some bad indian chicken, I get a permanent food dissability, potentially for life. oh joy…

      • Sasha says

        Have you ever tried Kefir? It’s lactose free, but may help rebuild your healthy gut bacteria? You should research it and look into it. I buy it from the supermarket, the plain one, they also have flavored ones. I add a bit of maple syrup to the plain Kefir milk and drink some everyday.

    • Bec says

      That is the most ignorant statement ever. I ate a spoonful of Greek yogurt today and have been in pain all day. I have gradually progressed into lactose intolerance as has all of my family and my baby was born with it. Lactose intolerance is not a fad. You don’t see lactose free bakeries popping up. You don’t see doctors coming out with statements saying they were wrong all along about it being a real thing. That would be gluten. Lactose tolerance (yes tolerance) in adulthood has only been around for a few thousand years and mostly in Europe, middle eastern, and African countries. Most Asian countries cannot tolerate lactose. Do some research before making ridiculous claims.

    • says

      I have been tested for lactose intolerance and never built up enough to build up enzymes that aren’t there. To the ignorant person that said man up? I would like you to read up more on what this is. It’s not a damn pepper eating contest. It’s your body still trying to digest something that it doesn’t have the resources to digest. You probably believe in evolution too.

    • Jamie says

      Chris, this is the stupidest thing I’ve read in a year!!
      What else is our heads? Viruses, common cold, diarrhea, head aches, flu, etc?? Get real dude.

      I loved milk and was drinking a lot of it until I started to have simptoms and I suffered for 1 years, drinking it every day and not able to know why I had so many issues like bloating, diarrhea, enormous amounts of gas, etc.

      When I found out and took dairy out or changed to lactose free milk products, I started to live normal life again.

      So next time, you talk about “it’s all in your head, maybe check your head!

    • Meera says

      Lactose intolerance is real. My little baby was diagnosed with it and he is not more than few months, way tooo young to consider the possibility that its ‘all in his head’ ‘its just psychological’ and such other nonsense. Lets face it no other mammal except humans drink the milk of another mammal. And certainly no species on earth drinks milk beyond its infancy. So there is nothing at all strange about a lot of people’s inability to digest this foreign protein.

    • Frank says

      All in my head? How would you explain getting gas, major bloating and then needing to run to the bathroom 30 minutes after consuming something that you did not even know had milk but finding out afterward? I had to literally take a highway exit and run into a coffee shop to let it out!

    • Baughbe says

      Yeah, it’s all in my head since I was 12 years old and didn’t know what lactose was that yogurt and milk make me throw up and any other lactose-containing products make me really sick. I’ve been testing my limits for years. It’s not mental, dumbass. It’s chemical. It’s hard being a lactose intolerant dairy addict. Of all dairy products, milk and yogurt are the only ones that make me actually vomit. So I guess this guy’s diet of probiotic and yogurt is half-out. I’ll try the probiotics and see if it helps.

  6. jemima says

    After taking sweetened condensed milk 3 days ago I had constipation and a bloated stomach,I started having eggy burps. I woke up at night and felt like throwing up so I took baking soda after which I had loosed stools. Yesterday I didn’t take the condensed milk and I had no symptoms. Today I took the condensed milk and the symptoms began again,I had eggy burps,bloated stomach and I threw up and had loose stools. Am I lactose intolerant? I’ve been taking milk and other diary products including condensed milk a lot for seventeen years now with no symptoms until 3 days ago

    • cis says

      Despite the similar-sounding names, lactate and lactose aren’t actually similar chemicals. Though both can occur in foods, including dairy products, they’re not used by the same way in the body. Further, if you’re lactose intolerant, that doesn’t mean that you will have trouble processing lactate or eating lactate-containing foods.

      Lactate is a negatively charged molecule formed from a compound called lactic acid. Some bacteria make lactate when they metabolize sugars. Humans also produce lactate as a byproduct of metabolism, though only under certain conditions. Specifically, says Dr. Gary Thibodeau in his book “Anatomy and Physiology,” you make lactate when your cells process sugars for energy in the absence of oxygen, such as when you’re engaging in a hard sprint or power efforts during exercise.
      Lactate in Food

      Lactate can occur naturally in some foods, and in other cases, it’s added. Fermented foods like sourdough bread and yogurt contain lactate naturally. This is because these foods are manufactured by allowing bacteria to convert a certain amount of the sugar in the dough or dairy into lactate, yielding a sour flavor and change in texture. Because lactate changes a food’s acidity, it can make it hard for pathogenic bacteria to grow in the food. As such, lactate is sometimes added to foods as a preservative.


  7. cis says

    Lactose is only (a small) part of the issue.
    I am concerned about the casein and the connection between casein and cancer (particularly breast cancer, it seems).
    How about Dr Campbell’s work and the China Study? And the fact most people find that drinking milk makes them put on weight? And the acidic pH of milk/dairy? And the fact the US and New Zealand (largest consumers of dairy in the world) have the worst rates of osteoporosis in the whole world?
    Historical analysis of dairy consumption in the UK show that people are drinking less milk than ever but eating more cheese. Not sure that has helped as people are becoming fatter and osteoporosis is certainly not declining.
    Please write a more comprehensive article about the other aspects of dairy.

    • Chris Meyers says

      Oh give me a break. With all the garbage currently in the food supply, from processed vegetable oils, to sugar and corn syrup in everything, to all manner of unnatural foods, you think that milk, which is just about as natural a substance as there is and produced by a mammal is somehow dangerous? Milk has absolutely ZERO to do with why Americans are fat. You can lay that down solely to fructose and fructose containing sugars like sucrose (or regular sugar) which is added to just about everything. Milk contains glucose and galactose only, no fructose and isnt it amazing that when mammals in nature produce a milk for their young, it has (oh my god) no fructose and uses glucose as a primary sugar? So no, milk will not make you fat, is infinitely better than any procesed food, and is even better than any grain products as well. You might want to sit back and think: ‘what foods have we added to the normal diet that we didnt have for centuries before?’ Milk ISNT one of those things. Vegetable oils are, processed sugar is, processed food with no fiber is. Milk and its sub products like butter, yogurt are infinitely safer as a fat source, as a sugar source, as everything. The alternative is what made us fat.

      • says

        Yeah Chris you may want to back it down some. I agree that we ingest all sorts of ugly things.

        • ResearchingMama says

          I’ve done extensive research on food because of major food allergies in my children. Based off that research, I developed a diet for myself. Well, let’s call it a lifestyle change. I cut out white sugar and processed bread/pasta. Lost 30lbs. in 3 months. My daily “go to” treat was a fruit smoothie (sweetened with a banana) with homemade yogurt (started with whole raw milk…lots of cream on top!). So my almost nonexistent dairy diet, now contained dairy every day and I still lost 30lbs. This supported everything I had researched…fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat. It’s all about how you condition your body to burn. (By the way, I resisted this theory as well. It went against everything I had read and learned in health books growing up. But put to the test, my meats and milk were NOT the enemy.) Now three years later, I’ve kept the weight off and convinced my husband to do it. He’s tried MANY other diets and finally tried my “homemade” diet. He lost 12lbs. in 5 days. Others are telling him he can’t eat this or that on a “diet”, but again, fat isn’t making him fat…the proof is in his now 20lb. weight loss. It works!

      • Auti says

        Actually, milk does contain caseine. Caseine is an animal protein, and is proven to be one of the most toxic carcinogens. Also, the issue with osteoporosis isn’t with NOT drinking enough milk, the problem is when a human consumes an animal protein, whether it be a steak or a glass of milk, it is a very acidic food for a human stomach, so in order for the human body to buffer the acidity, it uses calcium to do so…where does the human body store calcium? In the bones…what happens when your body draws calcium from your bones to buffer the acidic animal proteins? Osteoporosis…
        Now on another note, certain dinosaurs had fangs, talons and other such meat shredding devices….as do tigers, bears, lions etc…deer do not, dinosaurs that were vegetation eaters do not,….humans don’t either….if we were meant to be meat eaters I feel that we would have been built to hunt and kill like other carnivores in nature.

        Last thing is this…we are the only animal species that consumes the milk of another animal….so why don’t we drink tiger milk? Kangaroo? Hell….the milk from your house cat? Because it’s gross!

        Last point….I hate to point fingers….but truth is, cow milk’s primary purpose for existence is to feed baby cows right?
        After the birth of a new born calf the average weight is what?
        The average steer calf is expected to put on 65-75lbs a month. Or 500-600lbs by the time they reach 9 months.
        I doubt all the grass grazing is the main cause of such vast weight gain in such a short period of time….so what could it be?….
        COW MILK….

        Also these are not opinions…I’m just stating the scientific and physiological facts.

      • Baughbe says

        Is sugar and all of its subdivisions bad for you? No. The reason Americans are so fat issss….
        Quantity control. You can have anything you want (that you’re not allergic to) and not get fat. As long as you use the appropriate servings of food per day. A serving size is a half a hamburger. What do we usually get? A double patty burger with fries and a sugar (or harmful chemical additive DIET) packed soda. Breakfast? Pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice/milk. Stop looking so hard at the ingredients and try looking at how much they’re stuffing in their face. An 8″ long, 1″ thick steak at a restaurant alone is too much meat, then piled on with mashed potatoes and salad, followed up with a fat slice of pie. Yeah, it’s totally the sugar.
        Look at a normal serving size in Japan or France. It’s a LOT smaller.
        Too much of a good thing is bad for you.

  8. Sarah Hodson Grady says

    Whenever I eat dairy, even just a bite of grass-fed ghee, I get a major flare of Rheumatoid Arthritis.


  9. nicola murphy says

    Hi Chris. I cut out lactose last year after having eaten it all of my life as someone suggested it’d be good for my sinus problems. When i tried to reintroduce it i then had a very severe reaction. I recently tried to introduce a couple of spoons of probiotic yogurt every day to increase my tolerance. All was fine was around for 10 days and then suddenly i felt dreadful: diarrhoea, dizziness, terrible headache, cramps. I’m 31 weeks pregnant and am worried about my baby being lactose intolerant. Any supplements you can suggest that are safe for pregnancy? I read about Beano Dairy Defense…does this work? Many thanks, Nicola

  10. Aila says

    Hello I am struggling so bad every single time I eat something that contains just a little tiny bit of dairy I get super bloated I mean super Duper bloated it looks like I’ve gained so much weight no matter how much I workout can someone please help me I used to be lactose and tolerant when I was really little after four years old a completely went away now I am 22 years old and it has came back very badly when I work out my body tones up but my stomach won’t because of the bloat just a tiny Bit of dairy causes my stomach to blow up I don’t know what to do I love to dress up but it affects my clothes can someone please give me some advice will this forum help me should I see a doctor what is the true resolution ?

  11. Maggie says

    Hi Chris
    The situation I am dealing with is complex
    could I speak with you so I am dominating this chat?
    I can give you my number!

    • Catherine Wessling says

      To speak with Chris, you’ll need to wait until he opens his clinic to new patients again. Join his email list if you haven’t already and you’ll get notified when the next open enrollment is scheduled.

  12. carrie says

    I could eat dairy just fine until about 3 weeks ago. A friend of mine gave me some of his kefir culture and I started eating it daily with my morning oats. Now I seem to be completely unable to eat any dairy (except butter). I feel that one or more of the bacteria or yeast in the kefir has destroyed the bacteria that help digest lactose. I am going to head out and buy some acidophilus tomorrow and hope that it will help – will I be able to find any prebiotics or biotagen in a health food store or do I need to see a doctor or specialist?

  13. amanda in austin says

    For any of you that have constipation from lactose, as I do, I use a wonderful product made of dates, prunes, prune juice and raisins called fruit-eze that is a delicious jelly that needs no refrigeration – I drink it with my gluten/wheat free fake, delicious coffee called Dandy Blend containing roots of Dandelions and other herbs. Both products are only available online!

    I also have acid reflux and I have found read further into the side effects of baking soda, which I was taking, and although it does help one to go to the bathroom, it can be bad for you if you take too much. I have laid off of it for now. Fresh crushed garlic in honey is good for the stomach if you don’t mind the aftertaste or if it doesn’t give you acid==look up the health benefits of garlic as an anti-bacterial, good for heart problems etc. :) To your health! Amanda

  14. FrequentFlyer says

    Hi Chris,

    I recently read a headline somewhere telling of a major long-term study which suggests milk isn’t as healthful as many think it to be. Have you come across such a study? Are these claims misguided? I also remember something about milk causing a bile buildup in the body that may be linked to cancer… Just some the the negative press I’ve come across at one time or another.
    I’m a 38 y.o. circus artist performing aerial acts six days a week, so I follow your advice (along with Dr Cate Shanahan’s, Mark Sisson’s, the Jaminets’, etc) as much as I can. I love dairy products amd have recently begun drinking the odd glass of whole milk from grass-fed animals and hope to continue. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    • Thomas Anderson says

      Beware the rantings of the anti-milk crusaders. Whole milk in its natural state is an extremely valuable food. Low-fat and skim milk have “vitamins” added which may increase one’s risk for bone thinning, allergies and several types of cancer. There is no reason for anyone to drink defatted milk. It should be taken off the market.

      • FrequentFlyer says

        Also, we don’t have access to raw milk as of yet. Whole milk (organic, grass fed) is the best we can do for now.

  15. ken says

    As a teenager, many decades ago, I had severe daily abdominal pain followed by bouts of diarrhea. I loved milk and had no concept of lactose intolerance but did discover that if I ate really strong cheese I had much less abdominal pain. As an adult and years later when I was told I might have lactose intolerance, I went off milk and over the next year gained 15 pounds, going from a previous very thin 130# to an acceptable to me 145# (5’10”). I still drink milk, but varieties low in lactose, as well as kiefer and yogurt. I suspect ‘strong’ cheeses contain lactase in one form or another and that’s why it helped tolerate lactose containing milk.

  16. nancy says

    Some of my medications have a small amount of lactose in them. they say that can’t hurt me but when I take them I get bloated, constantly have an urge to defecate. Can a little in medications do that?

    • M says

      Nancy that would totally depend on the medication. The GI is VERY sensitive to many medications. I would talk to a holistic doc or naturopath. Are the medications you take connected in any way to digestion issues? You see how your question is a bit complicated! If medications create digestive symptoms for you, you probably alreaday have IBS. If you have IBS then you have to look at diet. The DigestiveHealth Institute is a good place to start.

    • Kim McIntosh says

      Nancy, the same things happens to me. I get medications that contain no lactose or have them compounded and they do not bother me. It has nothing to do with the medication in my case and everything to do with the lactose. I am also sensitive to dairy proteins, having been tested twice, the last time while I was only having microscopic amounts without realizing it and test still came up with positive antibodies to dairy proteins. I wonder if I am allergic/sensitive to milk proteins I could also be allergic/sensitive to lactose. Sure makes life difficult!

  17. Roland says

    Dairy in general is very difficult to digest and has a very high fat content. Also puts a hige strain on your digestion which can cause other problems. Its best to eliminate dairy from your diet and consume alternatives like almond milk and coconut milk – youll stay healthier and live longer :)

  18. KP says

    For the people who have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance (LI), what test did your doctor use to diagnose it?

    I’m from the UK, and I visited my doctor because I have reason to suspect that I had developed LI, but I was told that there is no test to diagnose LI on the NHS.

    • Gabriel says

      I have been diagnosed with LI, they made me fast 12 hours, then I had to drink a solution of lactose and water. Then they did a diabetes sugar test every 30 minutes to see if my body absorbs it. In normal people, the lactase enzyme will break down the lactose into sugar, and their blood sugar is supposed to rise. My blood sugar did not rise, therefore I am LI. My body is unable break it down.

    • Rikkert says

      There’s also a test, which my son did recently in a regular hospital, in which you get water+lactose on an empty stomach, and then every half-hour the hydrogen content of your breath is measured. Apparently this also tells you something about intolerance for lactose.

  19. tivo says

    I don’t know if I’m lactose intolerant, but I get sick immediately after ice cream or cereal. I have noticed this only seems to happen though with regular dairy..I don’t have any problems if the dairy is organic non GMO. Has anyone else noticed this??
    I wonder if I am just allergic to GMO’s?

    • chris says

      Your thoughts on the concept of “GMO” is wrong. educate yourself, orange carrots are a product of the swiss wanting to plant more orange carrots for there king. Another example is bananas are all clones. Check out scishow on YouTube about gmo’s

  20. NJ JOE says

    Daily probiotics, & (almost) daily Greek yogurt. I still wouldn’t drink a glass of milk, but dairy foods with less lactose, like Greek yogurt & aged cheeses are no problem.

    • Sheeny says

      So true! One cup of milk kills me, but for some reason I can have a bowl of yoghurt and my Cracker Barrel cheese (hard cheese, not soft cheese!) without any consequence! Unfortunately indian deserts have a lot of dairy in them and I’ve learnt to stay away from the more milky ones (which are my favorite ones, though a bit or two is usually ok). I have tried A2 milk recently, and I was amazed because I had a glass of it one night and it was fine! I take no probiotics or lactase supplements because I found it didn’t work for me (lactase tabs anyways). But nice read, maybe I’ll try the probiotics again

  21. Robert Hill says

    Very interesting site.I have been helping people to become lactose tolerant for the last three years with a ninety-five per cent success rate.
    Like you say those that are lacking lactase which is an enzyme from birth are difficult to help but those that have developed it some time in their life can be helped.In a few short sessions, usually half an hour,and often in one session it can be overcome.For anyone who is interested, they can contact me for a Skype session.

    • Pat says

      Months after responding to this post, I simply observed and reduced my dairy intake: 2 slices of pizza vs the entire Large Pizza. 1 1/2 scoops of ice cream vs 4 enormous sized scoops with whipped cream. For me just reducing my overall dairy intake did the trick along with choosing higher quality cheeses. But still no milk…since I discovered the great taste of Almond Milk, Coconut and Rice milk.
      I agree indeed Chris’ site is super awesome!!…and no respect to the insight throughout the site but I’m curious about the methods of Robert Hill, especially if this is the Dr. Robert Hill who wrote in the Journal of Biological chemistry in 1971 “The purifications and properties of the A Protein of Lactose Synthetaste…?”

    • brandy says

      Help! I have even a small glass of milk and i feel like death..idk how I became this way..I love dairy but lately can’t anymore..even my 2 yrs daughter is this way do I get over it .

      • Pat says

        Brandy…seriously…just stop drinking and eating it…especially with your child. If you REALLY stop to think about the cows that feed on “government only knows what”…and then the process in which the milk is being extracted from the “animal” …then you stopping the consumption of dairy products would seem like a task of major ease. Give Rice, Almond and Coconut milk a try…these are great alternatives…even for cereal. I suffered for most of my life from dairy intake because my family was ignorant to the idea of such the diagnosis. As an adult I became vigilant about what I put in and on my body. Transformed me forever. Just food for thought. We have freewill….no one is making you eat or drink dairy. Be conscious of what you intake. peace.

    • Hans says

      I was recently diagnised with Lactose Intollerance. Just few months ago. I am 28 years old and love diary. It is very hard for me to resist milk. I just do not understand how it happen. No one in my family has a history of intollerance. I just want the best possible solution to get it cured.

      • Ash says

        Hi Hans,

        I saw your comment and thought I would throw this out there as I feel your pain. Have you had any stomach bugs or stomach upset recently? Particularly food poisoning or gastroenteritis? I have tolerated lactose all my life however in January this year I got food poisoning and noticed since then that milk upsets my stomach. I get severe bloating and wind whenever drinking milk. I switched to lactose free milk or non-dairy such as rice milk etc and the issues went away. I have since been trying to slowly reintroduce lactose without success however this may be the cause of your issues too?

        • pat says

          Food poisoning can only be proved if everyone eating
          The same food got sick. I worked in a restaurant where one customer said she got food poisoning. After there was a further investigation while the investigation took place it was discovered that no bacteria or other reason for food poisoning existed. However, it was discovered the customer had all allergic reaction to certain ingredients.. Food poisoning. No! Allergic reaction. Most definitely.

          • killian says

            what?! you just “proved” that this guy didnt have food poisoning because you own restaurant had a woman that claimed food poisoning but it was her allergies. completely non connected incidences

    • nivashini says

      Is there cure for babies age 1…my so was fine until 8 months suddenly he is having lactose intolerance problem…He is currently on lactose free milk…any suggestions. ..

    • Vicky lindsay says

      My daughter and her 4 year old and 2 two year old twins seem to be lactose intolerant. Do you have anything written down on how to eliminate it?
      Or details about skyping?

    • Radha says

      Hello Robert Hill,

      Could you please give me your skype ID..I want to contact you for some help with lactose intolerance.

  22. Denielle says

    I’m lactose intolerant and I’m trying to find a way to get rid of it I became lactose intolerant when I was pregnant with my son even since I was pregnant with him even after I gave birth i was lactose intolerance what should I do

      • Robin Praszker says

        I have been using lactose pill since I was in high school I am going on 6 years out of high school and the pills just stopped working. I am curious if my stomach used to produce a small amount of lactose but I have lost them now. So possibly before the pills were able to supplement, but now the pills can’t work alone?

        • VICKI says

          Robin, I have never been able to take the pills. I tried them after becoming LI and they made my symptoms worse. I would get horrible stomach cramps and have horrible gas.
          I currently just consume lactose free Darigold milk, So Delicious coconut milk and Almond milk, So Delicious coconut yogurt and recently found our local store sells Green Valley lactose free products.

    • Jf says

      I too became lactose intolerant after my pregnancy, thirty years ago. I began to use lactaid, but needed to increase the dosage over the years to 4 extra strength. A few years ago a friend told me that “Schiff’s Digestive Advantage” worked for her. It was worthless for me. I began to try other probiotics, and made cultured vegetables from the starter sold at and had some improvement. After reading that some people can digest raw milk better than pasteurized, and that even regular pasteurized was better than ultra pasteurized, I cut out all the ultra pasteurized milk (most organic milk is ultra pasteurized) and found that I could digest regular pasteurized milk more easily than ultra pasteurized. Last year I was sick, and took an antibiotic. In the past, my lactose intolerance always got worse after an anti-biotic, despite having yogurt or kefir. This time I ate cultured vegetables. After the illness I slowly decreased the amount of lactaid I was taking and was surprised to find that I didn’t need any. Maybe the antibiotic killed the bad bacteria making it easier for good bacteria to thrive. Not sure if the “cure ” is permanent, but it’s over a year. I still don’t have symptoms, but I do try to avoid ultra pasteurized, powdered and canned milk.
      Keep trying to find a solution to your problem. Good luck.

  23. Thihal says

    Hello, thanks for the great article. Can someone please throw some light on why the “full-fat” version of yogurt or cheese is recommended when slowly reintroducing dairy into one’s diet along with probiotics?

  24. dude says

    I’ve been told drinking buttermilk can help reverse lactose intolerance. So I’m doing that right now, I also take some probiotics.

  25. Kevin Fairchild says

    I haven’t been able to tolerate milk since I was an infant. Pretty sure I’m in the ‘true lactose intolerance’ camp 😉 Even the slightest little bit takes its toll on me.

  26. Lexi says

    my daughter loves milk and milkshakes and had them every here and there but throws up after eating and has stomach aches. when she eats ice cream and food like that she passes gas and burps. is there anything to take to prevent/help? thanks.

    • ben smith says

      Yes, get onto amazon and buy some lactase pills, they provide you with the lactase enzyme which helps break down the lactose protein in dairy, i take 2 before a large bowl of ice cream and have virtually no symptoms at all, take 3 i have none, let me know how your daughter gets on

    • MK says

      Look at Norm Robillard’s diet: Fast Track Digestion: Heartburn and Fast Track Digestion, IBS. It will help you understand your daughter’s symptoms and help you make safer food choices for her.

  27. trish thompson says

    what about butter? I don’t ever want to drink milk, I would drink skim milk as a kid because we had to drink milk and my brother and I both preferred the skim milk. Our Mom never bought butter but my grandmothers did. I love butter. I cook with it and only eat toast to eat butter. I thought butter might not have the stuff that doesn’t agree with my stomach. is this true?

  28. Dmitri says

    A lot of unproven facts and advice that doesn’t relate to lactose intolerance.
    If you DO have lactose intolerance, you will not cure it with yogurt or probiotics!!!
    You can only cure it with lactase tablets that contain it. THAT IS IT!!!
    I feel this article can give wrong hope to people suffering from it as there are too many claims here and online that are nothing more than guesses, with absolutely no research done behind it. Take it from someone who spent years researching it,after being hit with this at the tender age of 24 :)

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE people, do not think you can cure lactose with probiotics. This has NEVER been proven to work for those suffering from lactose intolarance. Maybe it works for some kind of allergies of some sort,but it does NOT work for lactose issues.

    Although I did not work for me, some people do say positive things about Digestive Advantage Lactose Defense. Apparently you just take 1-3 pills(they contain lactase) in the morning and eat all the dairy you want. It didn’t work for me,but I noticed some improvements in general digestion so it still may be of benefit. I also noticed that if you take it for more than a few months, your body starts to act strange so stopping for a week or two is beneficial. Whatever bacteria it introduces to your gut(perhaps) grows too much of it and your body starts to act up.

    In Canada stores charge you up to $1 per lactose pill as Lactaid tablets are VERY VERY expensive at drug stores and most only contain 4500 lactaid.

    My suggestion to look online for Kirkland lactose pills. Those are 9000 (and I still have to take 2 or at certain meals 3). Price per 180 tabs is around $18-25. Same amount and strengh from lactaid would be around $120-240(!!!)

    I also noticed that I can tolerate lactose better in the morning. Not sure if it’s the same with other people,but it’s a strange observation.

    OLD(aged) cheeses do NOT have any lactose and this is why most can tolerate it. These days a lot of brands even say that on the packaging.

    Despite some claims, goat cheese DOES have a lot of lactose. If you can eat that but not cow milk,maybe you have some allergy and it has nothing to do with lactose.
    The only mammal that produces milk with no lactose is camel…tried it. It was awful,but it had no lactose…

    A lot of stores these days in Canada(Toronto) have lactose free milk, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream,pizza. Life is easier than even 6-8 years ago when we only had milk.

    • lili says

      I know what you mean: there are people out there who are lactose intolerant and nothing will change that. But I think this article is more aimed at people who, like me, grew up having tons of milk and had no problem and maybe even don’t have a family history of lactose intolerance… Anyway, they start feeling discomfort after a glass of milk or two, and very quickly jump into the conclussion that the MUST BE LACTOSE INTOLERANT.
      I am European and Caucasian, so chances are I am not lactose intolerant. I grew up drinking 2-3 glasses of milk a day + yogurt + cheese… You get the idea.
      I’m 30 and I have lived in Asia for last 5 years… Living in college and milk being much more expensive here, I simply stopped having it and you know what? Every time I occasionally drink more than a cup of yogurt (say, a large porcion of ice cream or a milkshake) I become gassy and have cramps.
      To sum up, I think the ideas in this article may not work for true lactose intolerant people but those are very few… Instead of giving myself a self diagnose, I’m going to give this a try, and hope that my belly is now simply not used to milk, but can get used to it again

    • ben smith says

      At last a sensible post, have been taking lactase pills for the last 7 months they work fine, all this other nonsense is just a load of baloney!

    • Agiea says

      This is very interesting. I am LI and cannot eat any dairy products that have lactose. I take lactase tablets between 1-3 and find that although i dont get the normal symptom my body gut feels heavy. I was in Toronto recenty and i was so excited that this condition is recognised and yes lactase was seriously expensive.
      Btw when i consume dairy i develope blisters.

    • Porkister says

      My 5year old son became lactose intolerant after a gastroenteritis. Took us a while to figure out that the milk was the culprit for persistent diarrhea. One lactaid 9k unit before each meal that contains dairy takes care of his symptoms. Generic ones may work for some people as suggested above. We tested that and to my surprise they did not work at all. I guess we’ll try another generic in a while and see if it makes a difference, because indeed they are expensive (certainly not $1/pill here in US, more like ¢20-30)

  29. says

    I am very lactose intolerant. I say very because of the severity of the symptoms. Waves of severe lower abdominal cramping occurring at first every few minutes, then becoming farther apart. This is accompanied by vomiting. These “attacks” can last for 4 or 5 hours, leaving me wiped out. I have learned to be VERY careful about what I eat and keep a ready supply of lactaid on hand. I would love to try to “cure” myself, but I am afraid of trying anything new. I also have IBS which causes identical symptoms, even if I eat no dairy. I have found that a good probiotic and digestive enzyme supplements help significantly.

  30. Ankita Sethi( Delhi) says

    Hello..i am a 23 year old girl experiencing problem in digesting milk from last 4 years..however i cn digest other dairy products such ss cheese, curd and icecreams very well..but as soon as i drnk milk,within an hour my stomach gets bloated nd diarrohea is d consequence..i also suffer from dis heaviness feeling in stomach even widout drinking milk…dis happens with me in mornings usually..after passing stool once in.d moring..stomach gets heavy and jst after having breakfast i hv to pass loose dis problm is becoming weight is reducing gradually..wat shud i do cure dis problm…no medication has long lasting effect..i also suffer from urticaria..nd i used levo cetrizene continously for 4 yrs for dis but nw m taking homeopathic medication for dis urticaria…please do reply wid sum workable solutions.thanku

  31. JOhno1882 says

    Just drink a ton of milk til that goddamn body of mine makes the damn enzyme i need to take a solid crap while aboard the milktrain

  32. Sampurna says

    Hi Chris , my 2.9 year old is lactose intolerant after a high dose of antibiotics … It’s been over 4 months .. He can’t tolerant milk , yogurt or any such dairy products.. I have started with a probiotic Yakult which has live bacteria … Can you please suggest something, thanks mommy

  33. Meghanne says

    I’ve been recently trying to re-introduce some goat dairy back into my diet after finally (took over a year) successfully re-introducing eggs. I tried just what you suggested….epic fail. It seems the only dairy I can tolerate is LOW FAT soft goat cheese (under 10%). As soon as I try whole goat yogurt, I get symptomatic. When I try full fat hard cheese, symptomatic. Any idea why this may be? I don’t get the usual lactose symptoms but instead get a 12-24hr reaction of painful lower GI symptoms and a feeling of ‘swelling’ from my stomach to my end bits…then constipation for a few days and general fatigue. Strange…my brother gets the same thing!

  34. says

    I am confused about casein and yogurt on the GAPS diet. If a person has an IgG allergy to casein, should they still try to add fermented dairy? I know the process removes the lactose, but does it remove the casein too?


  35. Aaron says

    dont really know how, but I was diagnosed 14 years ago (I am no 41 years old). I never had a problem before then…I used to eat all types of cheese, drink milk, I loved icecream, etc. Then it just kind of hit me. I have been taking Digestive Advantage for about the last 10 years or so. About 2 months ago, I started getting ver constipated…I stopped taking the Digestive Advantage and started drinking lots of milk, eating cheese, etc. to “naturally” flush me. Well, after several days of laxitives and softeners…I am back to “normal” and for the last 6 weeks I have not had any problems with dairy… Strange, very strange, but I think God that I no longer have the problem!!!

    • Thihal says

      Hi Aaron, can you please give an update of your conditions now? Your post was in April. Do you continue to have no symptoms with dairy even now? I started taking the Digestive Advantage Lactose Defense supplement just over 2 months ago, so i still have a long way to go. But I’m just curious to hear you updates, since I was given to understand that I’d need to take the supplements for the rest of my life.

  36. Teranne says

    Hi Chris,
    I wonder if it will help to eat the probiotic yogurt without the extra pro and prebiotics. I only ask due to budget and availability restrictions where we live.

    I don’t even know if I have a lactose problem, but am suspecting (after a Whole30) that I might. My only obvious symptom seems to be constipation caused by dairy, maybe some bloating as well, but no real strong gut pains. Could this be due to lactose?

  37. Mrs. W says

    I have a quick question. So I don’t have any real food intolerance. Never had any issues with dairy. Recently I accidentally purchased some “lactose free” ice cream. I figured, oh well, so it tastes faintly of cardboard. Didn’t want to throw it away, so I’ve tried it several times. Every time – after just a spoonful or so, I have intense cramps. Shortly after I just feel extra tired and bleh. I find this ironic. Been googling for any info on it, but nothing has turned up. No matter how I phrase it, Google just shows me a bunch of anti-dairy stuff. Anyone else experienced this or know about it?

    As an aside – Again, I’ve no food intolerances or allergies. What I have noticed is that I am intolerant of NON foods – heavily processed, preservative laden, shiny-packaged anything. When I eat these I break out, have less energy, sleep poorly, and feel generally yucky, weak and cranky. Nearly every person I know who loves their special diet have all one thing in common – it’s all FOOD. One says they feel so good because they are eating meat and avoiding wheat. Another says they feel so good because they are avoiding meat and eating veggies. They all look and feel great. And they thing they have in common is it’s all REAL FOOD.

  38. alanytoikiastiviiti says

    As a person from Finland where lactose intolerance is REALLY common and almost every dairy product has a lactose free/low-lactose version, this sounds a lot like bullsh…t.

    I have suffered from lactose-tolerance since I was a kid and I can name at least 40 people who have it also. And fuck no, we can’t eat mozzarella or feta (as someone before me mentioned) unless the package says “lactose free”. Hard, long ripened cheeses I can tolerate – they naturally don’t contain any lactose. That’s a well-known fact over here. So people saying they can eat hard cheeses nowadays – NO SH…T!

    BUT. We do have these lactose enzyme pills at the pharmacy and they DO work if used properly – you have to know the amount of lactose in your food to take enough of those enzyme pills. So there is basically a ‘cure’ or ‘medicine’ for it – if you happen to have enough euros to buy those expensive things.

  39. Steve says

    If you have digestion troubles with dairy my own experience is that the culprit is often the hard cheese. Old ripe hard cheese contains large quantities of *histamine*, and many people don’t tolerate a histamin-rich diet.

    Personally, I am happy milk drinker, and I eat all type of fresh cheese, including mozarella and feta. But cheese like gouda, cheddar, parmesan etc I completely avoid

  40. Gena says

    I have been diagnosed as lactose intolerant, and have suffered for 8 years now, I have done the Breath Hydrogen Test which also indicated that I am lactose intolerant, and for the past 8 years even a smallest amount of dairy ingested has bothered me intensely. Here is the funny thing, since October 2013, I am feeling better , I can eat cheese, milk in coffee, yogurt etc, though I am still afraid to try a whole glass of milk, small amounts are fine. I am just intrigued how did I go from being extremely sensitive to dairy products to a whole lot better where I don’t have to carry my lactase pills. My diet has not changed, my life style has not changed so I ask myself how did it happen. The only thing that I can think of is that my friend gave me powered mixture of ground Senna leafs, almonds and sugar, she claims it a good body cleanse, we all know Senna leaves are a natural laxative, I did take this thinking it can do any harm, and I only took it twice. Because I starting feeling better about the same time I took this, I don’t know if I can attribute my wellness to the Senna mixture. Anyway just sharing, not even certain about anything else but the fact that I feel better.

  41. Jacquelyn says

    Mr. Kresser,
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this article. You’ve changed my life.
    I did a slow transition, starting with probiotics, then fage full fat greek yogurt and sauerkraut daily, and now I am able to eat hard cheeses and this local DELICIOUS cream from my co-op!
    I cannot thank you enough. I no longer get scared about dairy being in my food in restaurants because I know I’ll be okay. You’re the best.

  42. Cambiador says

    I have tried everything outlined above and in addition:

    – Full CDSA2 by Genova Diagnostics
    – Full IgE and IgG anibody test by Genova Diagnostics
    – Removal of paratise (1 type) and non-beneficial yest
    – Exteremely strict high fat, low carb, no gluten, no dairy, no allergen diet for 1.5+ years now
    – Gut healing with L-Glutamine & Colostrum (lactose free)
    – MSM + Slippery elm + marshmallow root + licorice
    – Various probiotic strains (VLS#3, Dr Ohirra, Jarrow Dophilus +, Kyolic Dophilus 9, etc, etc etc)
    – Supplementation with boullardii yest
    – Naturally cascade fermented products (Regulat Pro)
    – histamine reducing agents, inflammation reducing agents
    – short fasting (catabolic healing)
    – High supplementation with Bifidum Longum only

    Have tried:

    – raw (non-pasteurized), organic, grass fed, caseine type A2 cow milk
    – organic, grass fed, cow butter (caseine type A2 and A1 tested separately)
    – organic, grass fed, natural cow milk yoghurt (caseine type A1 and A2)
    – hard, lactose free, organic, cheeses (cow milk, A1 and A2)
    – goat milk & yoghurt, raw, organic
    – clarified butter (non-organic)

    With all of the the results are the same:

    – Gas
    – bloating
    – diarrhea
    – increase inflammation
    – local spots & acute acne flares (not diagnosed, do not suffer from acne, if I don’t eat milk)

    With this said and tested, I am ready to give up.

    Even when I get milk products and I do not KNOW it beforehand, my body reacts and when I dig in and find out what I was eating, I find out that I was served milk products (usually cream or butter) against my specific request and at the mistake of the kitchen/restaurant.

    So it clearly is not placebo / make-believe only in my case.

    If anybody still has additional ideas on what to try (yes, I’ll still give Prescript Assist probiotic a go, when I can find a supplier that ships to EU), I’m all ears and eye.

    Hopfully some of this will be useful to somebody else in their own search.

  43. James says

    Dr. Kresser:

    When you say “true lactose intolerance is rarely diagnosed by medical testing”, to clarify, are you saying that medical tests like the hydrogen breath test and the blood glucose test are a waste of time and money? I am recovering from ulcerative colitis. One of the many suspected culprits is dairy intolerance, and part of my natural treatment regimen is elimination of dairy. I am almost cured (only occasional, light symptoms). I was resolved to avoid dairy for the rest of my life, but you have now convinced me that I should not. Should I bother taking medical tests to confirm the type(s) of dairy intolerance I have, if any, or should I simply assume I have them and pursue the regimen you recommend above to cure lactose intolerance (I already use probiotics but your regimen is much more comprehensive)?

  44. Tricia says

    I am unable to have milk, butter or cheese without experiencing stomach pain and bad heartburn. However when I eat real yogurt I experience no bad symptoms at all.
    Has anyone else experienced this?
    In summer I had a severe reaction to strong strength cheese where my glands swelled up in my throat which was pretty frightening!

  45. Stephanie says

    I have been lactose Intolerant for a couple years now. I went from drinking milk constantly to not being able to at all. I had about a year of not drinking it very often. Now as soon as I have dairy my mouth salivates extremely and I throw up. Is that lactose intolerance or what. I haven’t beard of many people throwing up when they eat dairy. Can someone tell me what that is?

    • Tricia says

      Something very similar happens to me too when I have milk/cheese etc. I throw up and my saliva glands salivate and often swell up to hard lumps under my chin i can feel them.
      Still don’t know the reason for this however. I have eaten dairy problem free for most of my life, though as a child i sometimes had stomach acid pain perhaps this was connected to dairy.

    • alanytoikiastiviiti says

      I’m from Finland, the promised land of lactose intolerance. Your symptom is probably caysed by lactose because vomiting/feeling sick is almost always listed when talking about the symptoms of lactose intolerance. I have never experienced throwing up myself, but I have heard people say they get it (usually after eating big amounts of lactose).

      If you want to have any hope, we have lactose-free version of almost every dairy product here – feta, halloumi, cottage cheese, milk, butter…. you name it!

  46. says

    Hi Chris,
    I’m a very healthy african male, 42 years of age, who up until reading your article thought to be lactose intollerant.
    But as I’m recently discovering…I may not be at all.
    I found your article to very informative as I had never taken the time to research the question before.
    Over a 15 year span, my system started to reject dairy products, all starting with whole milk.
    I eventually went from whole milk to that 2% stuff and then Soy milk. I absolutely refused to drink the 1 percent stuff.
    Eventually I had to cut them all out.
    I now consume Rice Milk or Almond Milk….taste better anyways.
    Mozarella started to destroy me almost immediately, so I had steer clear of most pizza and mexican dishes such as burritos and nachos.
    But what you speak of makes too much sense to me as I believe I am proof of what you have suggested here with taking ProBiotics, the quality and amounts of dairy consumed in one sitting, and eating yogurt.
    Ironically, most recently I’ve been on this Greek frozen yogurt tip and I believe it’s working.
    I do believe that quality of dairy is most important to the system as well.
    Conscious eating, yoga and excersise has been my thing for the past 8 years.
    Without eating a lot of dairy I believe has assisted in my overall good health as I balance it out with the greens, smoothies and vitamin supplements.
    Everyones system is different no doubt, but I suppose one has to really pay attention and observe what they eat…and how one might respond to different foods and not make assumptions…for as you have suggested it could be a false diagnosis…and for nothing.
    peace, love & light Doc!
    Keep it coming.
    -mr anderson

  47. cassandra renee says

    please help, i have 3 year old daughter, that has always ate any food with no problems. at age 2yrs10mo she all of a sudden developed this rash or some redness on cheeks and chin. i have been trying to figure it out and i think its dairy related. i talked with my pediatrician, they dont know and don’t have any answers for me especially since dairy, wheat and soy allergy testing came back negative. after eating her cheeks get red, next day the skin dries up real bad and doc suggested i put neosporin on it and mosturize but then the skin peels and itches. it takes several days to go away. im really scared cause for the past few days she has said her tummy hurts and being potty trained for a while now, she seemed to not be able to hold it and pooped her pants and went poop like 6-8 times in one day. i just dont know if like overeating some food can cause this. the week that symptoms appeared she ate lots of dairy. cereal for breakfast, milk with crackers for snack, mac n cheese/fettuchini for lunch, cheese sticks for snack, potatoes with butter or cheese on top with sour cream salad and parmasean chicken for dinner…. and so on. can there be such thing as overeating dairy and now she is sensitive and reacts. can i wait it out like a month and resume regular diet? my doctor seems to not be sure what im talking about.. please help?

    • cmlltv says

      That sounds like what my daughter had. We narrowed it down to milk protein sensitivity. One whole year no milk protein in anything, it worked!

  48. Matt says

    Does anyone have any idea why mother’s milk contains lactose and not glucose?
    Wouldn’t it be easier for a baby to metabolize glucose directly rather than to produce lactase to cleave lactose?

    Could it be that lactose is produced to support the growth of non-pathogenic bacteria?

  49. Toni says

    I get UTI’s from dairy products. I take probiotics and other products. Hard cheese is very hard on my system. Is there anything natural that I could take before taking in dairy products? Would appreciate any help I can get.


  50. Esther says

    My naturopath had me on liver+kidney support tonics, strong doses of probiotics in the morning and evening, citricidal, and I started drinking kefir. My digestion was feeling so good, I started drinking small amounts of milk again and felt fine. I was drinking almond milk, but my supermarket was sold out so I just bought organic cow’s milk, and I was surprised that I felt completely fine after putting them in my protein shakes. Problem solved! I can’t believe it. I missed it so much, I love dairy products, I’m drinking it everyday.

  51. Melissa says

    Hey did you ever think so many people are lactose intolerant because we are not meant to drink another species breast milk?. (cow milk). I mean it makes sense as to why we cannot digest it properly and why so many people have issues. Cows milk is for fattening up a 100 lb calf into a 2 thousand pound adult cow. No wonder humans have issues when drinking it. It’s not meant for us. It actually weakens our bones not strengthens them. That is why one of the persons above mentioned that drinking/eating dairy causes them joint pain and it makes sense. You don’t have to be all that smart to realize that cows milk is for cows and not humans. Once people understand that, it will be easy to make change. Good luck my friends and I recommend the documentary Forks over Knives and Food Matters.

  52. -- says

    About four years ago, I began suffering from lactose intolerancy. I loved cheese and ice cream. However, it actually began to cure after a while. Even though I would suffer extreme digestive upset, I still at dairy foods to build up my intolerance.
    I found this site because I actually just ate a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting and I did not yet sick. It’s been 2 hours.
    I still get sick from dairy but there has to be “direct” lactose in the product. For example, chocolate that says “milk ingredients” I can eat. But if it says “lactose” than I will get sick from it. But still, when I do, I don’t have to run to the bathroom anymore. It is usualy controllable.
    I healed myself by slowly builsing up on dairy. I used to excerice alot too. Now, I take probiotics (despite them saying take one a day, don’t. It will make you constipated and your body may become dependent on them — this would be bad since your body produces probiotics on its own). I take half a pill every week to two weeks and it helps with my overall digestion (which I’ve had major problems with for 4 years now). I took one this morning actually. My advice, detox first than take the pill. By doing this, your digestive tract is cleansed and empty. This way, the probiotic can really heal the tract because there are no two-day old toxic waste in there. And when I say detox, I mean drink at least 1L of water then take a powerful laxative.
    Nevertheless, that cupcake and frosting was good. I feel unhealthy but considering that I just detoxed this morning, I think it was good to introduce dairy to my system again. Sometimes, going a long time without a certain food can be bad, that is why although I try to eat natural (no artificial flavor, color, perservative), I still do once in a while. I don’t want my body to begin rejecting these chemicals that are used in so many products today. It is almost like a vegetarian eating meat — it’s like new to the body so they usually throw up or something.

  53. Beth Hinneberg says

    I don’t see any posts on lactose added as fillers or ingredients in medications and supplements. I seem to have the most problems with this type of lactose?? Anybody have any information or advice on that except ‘do not eat it’?

    • HellOnWheelz says

      I’ve been lactose intolerant for the past 3 decades. It started with milk and by degrees has becomes more sensitive over the years. Now I’m limited to hard cheeses… no yogurt. At one point I could have one brand of yogurt but not others. And yes, labels – I have to read labels. Lactose fillers/ingredients cause the classic “race for the restroom”. Preconsumed lactaid tablets work for the things I must/want to consume with lactose that are SOLIDS. Liquids can be pretreated with lactaid liquid drops (available on amazon). You can pretreat yogurts, milk with the drops – 24 hours in the fridge and it is safe to consume.

  54. Nicole B. from Canada says

    (please keep this edited comment and delete my previous comment)

    Great article. I will be trying this with my son who was found to be clinically lactose intolerant at the age of 6. By that age, he had spent at least two years of his life on antibiotics for ear and throat infections. Eventually, because I was extremely reluctant to proceed with surgery for ear tubes, he had his adenoids and tonsils removed at the age of 9. This was due to the fact that his sleep was compromised due to enlarged adenoids, even though by this time the infections subsided (through use of a essential oil remedy). It may be the case that the continual infections could have been instigated by the lactose intolerance. It occurred to me while reading your article, that if one can introduce probiotics back into their gut and begin to tolerate milk consumption again, then the reverse could also be the case. The reverse being that after taking antibiotics one could become (even if temporarily) intolerant to milk due to a wipe-out of probiotics in the gut (along with the offending bacteria). Would this be the case? Could it have caused or exacerbated the lactose intolerance in my son?
    Also, in Canada, I have never heard of having raw milk available unless you purchase your own cow. This is due to the fact that unpasteurized milk is illegal across Canada. However, I do have non-homogenized, flash pasteurized, grass-fed milk available to me from the one and only organic dairy in my province of Alberta. Would this be an acceptable alternative to raw milk?

    Thank you so much for the work that you do. I am new to finding an amazing breadth of whole-foods-can-heal style of health information. I am so grateful for it and have gone from a defeatest-attitude to a hopeful can-do attitude and it’s fueling a great passion in me to learn more. So, thank you!

  55. Maegen says

    My ancestral background is Native American and European. As a child I had a severe allergy to dairy. I managed to get my hands on a glass of milk and one sip sent me into anaphylaxis quickly. After growing out of the allergy, we found any dairy, even a pat of butter really killed my gut. I love dairy and still consume it despite the consequences. I’ve tried raw milk, probiotics and so on with no results. Oddly, with the results of a thyroid panel, I was still in ‘normal’ range but on very very end and I display strong hypo signs. I started taking raw thyroid and I’m not sure on the connection, but within a couple weeks I find my discomforts have greatly subsided. Any possible connection?

  56. says

    Hi Chris,

    Great article Chris, I’m going to try your cure for lactose intolerance, I am a happy lactose tolerant who enjoys full fat dairy regularly. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Chris question; BTW you might know if there’s dulcolax for children? Do you think, that can work?

    Thanks a lot!

  57. Cheryl says

    Dairy contains hormones that are transformed in the human body into growth hormones that stimulate the growth of cancer. Most people’s bodies stop producing lactase after the toddler stage for a reason, you body doesn’t want it, doesn’t need it. To suggest that the human body, which has evolved for millions of years, is somehow wrong, and you, doctor for a few years, are right, is laughable. You can say all you want, but to consume milk from a huge cow, that is originally intended for the calf to become as large, and as such contains significant amounts of hormones, is simply not healthy, or very logical. Europeans evolved to keep lactase production up during their lives, because in that time, if they didn’t consume milk, they would die. That is not the case anymore today, so no need to consume dairy past 3 years of age. Oncologists are actually advising their cancer patient not to consume dairy..

    • Tom A. says

      What nonsense. Everything in your post is vegevangelist bullshit.

      Dairy foods are highly nutritious, a valuable source of important nutrients for thousands of years, and they are strongly protective against at least seven types of cancer — IF CONSUMED IN THEIR NATURAL STATE. Low-fat and no-fat milk have been associated with higher cancer risk, possibly because of the synthetic vitamins added to them, but full-fat milk has never been linked to any disease or disorder. It is only beneficial.

  58. says

    I developed a problem with dairy after I returned to the US from a month-long work trip to Africa. I had contracted giardia in Ethiopia, and I took a strong dose of antibiotics. The drugs worked, thankfully, but my gut was all out of balance. It took me a month to finally get some probiotics. A naturopath friend recommended a probiotic taken with yogurt, slippery elm tea, marshmallow root tea, and okra. The probiotic I found had these herbs in it, and it also had psyllium husk, which is very commonly used in India. The reasoning behind these herbs/foods is that they are slimy when mixed with water, and their sliminess helps to soothe and heal the mucosal lining of the gut.

    After about 3 days using all of the above, my gut normalized. It was like a night/day experience. I weighed 110 before my trip, and lost 12 pounds as a result of the illness and the gut issues. After healing my gut, I was able to get back up to about 110, thank goodness! Hope this can be helpful for others.

  59. Dalia says

    We suspected that my daughter could be lactose intolerant or have some sort of milk allergy when she was about 3 years old. She used to get rashes and chalazia (kind of like styes) in her eyes all of the time along with stomach aches and we couldn’t figure out why. We tried raw milk. When she started drinking some raw milk her condition improved. When we switched her completely to raw milk we saw almost 100% improvement. She now only drinks raw milk. We also avoid high lactose foods. She’s ok with most cheeses, butter and yogurt. Recently, she had some regular old ice cream at a birthday party……and nothing happened. I think it’s possible that the past couple of years of drinking raw milk every day may have healed her.

  60. Jula says

    So… I’ve always loved milk. All of my life.It’s my favorite. I’m 26 and I’ve never stopped drinking it. It’s so delicious. All the time. When I don’t have time to eat breakfast, I make myself a big cup of chocolate milk with heavy whipping cream added in – or I eat some string cheese. My eggs have cheese and cream in them. My Chicken Pot Pies have cream in them. Everything I eat has to have milk, cream, or cheese, all I can only eat or drink at full fat (because nothing else is worth the effort.)

    Incidentally, I’ve also always had huge stomach problems all of my life (as well as a really bad cough). Embarrassingly, I appear to be gassier than other people, and have chronic constipation. So I decided to start paying attention to when the stomach issues happen. I’m drinking milk less often, but when I do have a glass, I notice that that’s when I get gassy and stomach-achy. Milkshakes are pretty much the worst.

    Because I cannot live without dairy, I shall try your suggestions and see if my digestion improves while still consuming milk products.

  61. killahill says

    Dr. Kesser, I love dairy and can’t seem to stay away from it. I’m not a fan of soy but would love to continue to eat cereal, ice cream and cheese. My lactose intoleration kicks in directly after I conune a lactose product

  62. exotec says

    Luisa – you’re right about raw milk being illegal for human consumption in many states. It’s perfectly acceptable for pets, however. We buy raw milk from a local independent grocer for our pets. We do have to call ahead and ask for it – they don’t keep it in the public refrigerated/dairy case.
    Works great.

  63. Luisa says

    @DavidRN—thank you so much for replying to my question! I will definitely try to find some raw milk in my area (I’m in NC), although I’ve heard that it’s “illegal” in our state?! Don’t know if that’s true or not, but I will ask around and go to my local health store to see what they have to say about it, also.
    Thanks, again! :)

    • Monica says

      Hi Luisa — I haven’t tried the suggested raw milk/probiotic stuff suggested on this website yet, but just wanted to let you know that I buy lactase drops from Amazon and successfully use them (with a mortar and pestle) to mix with lactose-containing pills when necessary. I mash them up together and add to a drink. They don’t always taste good, but it’s possible to get down. I’ve also had luck with one local pharmacy (Kroger) and mentioning that I’m lactose intolerant — they research the specific drug and find out if there is a lactose-free version available. Good luck.

  64. Faith Allis says

    I have been lactose intolerant for almost 20 years. I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance test 14 years ago. I have not been able to drink milk, ice cream, or any diary except for occasional cheese. In the last month I have been able to digest everything including chocolate!!! I am not sure if it is due to the consumption of Kefir or the fact is that I am pregnant. I can not believe this, It is great news.

  65. DavidRN says

    Luisa, I had a similar situation with dairy as you have had. I and later my wife also tried raw milk, and an occasional pint of raw milk yogurt from a great clean dairy, problems were solved within a few weeks. I also found I can now eat commercial ice cream without an difficulty. So, if you can find it, I would suggest trying it out, raw milk can be an experiment that may solve many problems.

  66. Luisa says

    Ok, I’m going to try and make this short and sweet, if I can…so, here goes: A couple of years ago, I got a horrible stomach virus from eating tainted meat, that I guess destroyed all of my good intestinal “flora,” as they call it. I couldn’t keep anything down for a week! Well, so maybe a year later, I became severely lactose intolerant (after lots of expensive testing to see what was wrong with me, the doctor FINALLY suggested that I might try eliminating dairy from my diet for a few days to see if that helped, and it did!). Before that, I had never been lactose intolerant before in my life, or ever had any adverse reaction to dairy. So, now that I know I am lactose intolerant, and I have eliminated drinking cow’s milk (I drink almond milk now, and I love it!),I still LOVE pizza and ice cream, so when I eat it, I will take a “Lactaid” chew-able tablet 10 min. before I eat, and that really helps a LOT, although I do still have bad (loose, wet, smelly) poops (sorry for the graphic details!), but I’m not in severe pain like I used to be when going to the bathroom (severe abdominal pain, bloating, gas, nausea, constipation, followed by severe diarrhea). Ok, so now you know my history, here is my question: Am I going to be lactose intolerant for the rest of my life??!! (I am only 32 yrs. old) Also, should I try raw, unpasteurized, organic milk? I’ve heard that it can actually be tolerated by lactose-intolerant individuals. Thanks so much for reading, and I hope to hear back from someone soon!

    • Julia says

      Hi Luisa,
      I had a very similar situation where I became lactose intolerant quite suddenly around 24 years old after a series of incidents – some food poisoning while travelling, followed by antibiotic heavy dental surgery. I made my normal milk smoothie and within an hour I was throwing up and on the toilet at the same time!! very worse symptoms. That continued whenever I ate dairy until I eliminated dairy completey from my diet. long story short: I was able to tolerate some quantities of low-lactose products such as butter, and hard cheese (very few lactose intolerant people should have problems with butter and very hard cheese, i.e. parmigiano reggiano, 4 year old cheddar etc). But yogurt was still a problem for me. In the past month however I have begun to ferment and consume kefir and that has made a HUGE difference…I have added back small quantities of other dairy, i.e. cream in scalloped potatoes, quiche, etc. I am actually experiencing less symptoms from eating those things than my brother who is not at all lactose intolerant (but probably does have some issues with dairy). So get on the kefir, lady!

  67. Schrodinger says

    Since I started following a paleo plan about a year ago, I started eating dairy occasionally about 3 months ago. It hasn’t gone well. I believe I have figured out that it has been the dairy that triggers allergies, I will start sneezing and sometimes having a full on allergy attack within hours of eating (full fat no added ingredients, but not raw milk) yogurt. I would never have made the connection before cleaning out my diet. I suspect that this may be more of a mild allergy than intolerance, but have no idea, and I’ve not really figured out where to start for finding out. This helps give me a direction. I think I will try probiotics to see if they can help.

  68. kasireddy says

    Dear Dr. My 7Months baby having lactose in tolerance she was getting motion more after she was getting reddish colour on back side near excretia canel what we should we do. She was crying.

  69. Lynne says

    Hi There- I had post surgical pelvic radiation
    22 years ago. I’ve had Lactose Intolerance, Gastritis & IBS. My tumor was 1mm from my bowel. I was extremely sick for the first 5-10 years. I’ve not been able to tolerate Dairy Products since. My husband does Palio, on & off. We started Ideal Protein in October. I lost 15 lbs. pretty quick. My birthday rolls around in March & I threw caution to the wind. My bowels are incontinent, I’ve gone through 468 baby wipes each week. I’ve been very itchy, everywhere. I’m being tested for Celiac. I’m actually wearing adult diapers & need cortisone, triple antibiotic on a wipe & plug the hole, as it’s raw… I’ve returned to Ideal Protein & today, I have not messed my pants. I take MANY MEDS, that contain Lactose. I eliminated most meds w/lactose in them. I have Chronic Migraines
    & my back blew in the late 90’s w/12 issues. I take Lactaid, Beano, Gas X, extra strength pro-biotic. I’m going to check out the GAPS
    Diet, am wondering if I may take vitamin D…
    Back to no processed foods, no starch, nothing white, ect… I HATE THAT MOST MEDS ARE FILLED W/LACTOSE! I now have to take much less of them, take Lactaid w/the ones I can’t do without & am. Looking for alternatives, in the interim, ie, liquid meds & injections… I literally lived in our restroom for 3 weeks, when I was on OXY & realized, that was the only med. changed, they ordered a brand for me & kept my name on it. I quit OXY a few years ago & now use Topical Voltaren, for pain… Thank you for your time & consideration!
    Sincerely, Lynne

  70. exotec says

    I don’t know what my milk issue is, honestly.

    I was diagnosed (via the usual myriad prick-test allergy torture) as a very young child with many allergies, milk and dairy being a primary instigator. Since I grew up not knowing dairy, I didn’t miss it *too* much ;-> I always wanted ice cream, but so far as I knew, sherbet *was* ice cream…so I managed okay. Cheese I never knew until I was in my early teens. I handled that okay, and then went crazy with it to the point I ate more cheese than meat.

    Since I’ve modified my diet (by prescription of our endocrinologist) to a restricted-carb and paleo-ish regime, I’ve lost most of my cheese cravings, although I do eat some. However, I still cannot deal with true milk – whole, raw, or LactAid™. It’s even worse now — I can’t even eat pudding made with milk anymore. I tried with alternate milks (coconut and almond) but it just doesn’t set up well, so I figured I’d have to just give that up.

    I’m not especially avid to have milk…but I would like to have an occasional pudding, or some such nonsense (which probably isn’t on “The Diet” anyway!). But I’m reluctant to subject myself to the fermentation and subsequent misery that tempting my gut with milk seems to create. Yogurt processes fine! and kefir, and the alternate milks (although I don’t drink them without additives – like a whey shake).

    Now I’m curious again about whether there’s any future for me with puddings at all. Anybody have similar experience or suggestions? Or a recommendation from the author! =D

    • Lynne says

      Hi D-
      I’ve done Kozy Shack, Tapioca & Rice pudding’s w/no sugar added. I also found Mousse’s as well, Gluten Free only 70 calories a serving, made by Sans Sucre Mousse Flavors- Choc, straw, French Van, Mocha Cap, cheesecake, Choc cheesecake & lemon. I put the mousse envelope in a cup first, the. Whisk 3/4 cup of Almond, Lactaid, soy or rice milk. It’s light & guilt free! They say they contain milk, I can’t see it in the ingredients however! Almond Milk is nice & thick! They didn’t bother my lactose intolerance, I’d take Lactaid w/first bite & Extra strength Probiotic in AM, I got them @ The Chrismas Tree Shops, if you owned now by Bed Bath & Beyond, if you live where there is no Christmas Tree, I can mail them to you. TheTapioca is from WalMart!
      Good Luck

      • exotec says

        Thanks Lynne! the mousse sounds yummy. I’ll try some with almond or coconut milk. And WalMart is everywhere 😉

        I hope I can make it work for me!

  71. Georgene says

    I do not have gastro problems with dairy but I end up with joint problems. If I eat dairy more than one day my knee will end up hurting to the point that I can barely walk. It also effects the joints in my hands.

    Do you have any suggestions on how I can turn this around? It’s very hard to not eat dairy in the American diet. :-)

  72. hijab says

    i have a daughter 1 and half year..she suffered from dhyearea a month ago that leads to laaysctose can i cut off milk she is fond of milk always crying for it…please tell me the suggestd lactose free milk for 10 days..but after it problem reapear.

    • Zsolt says

      hijab: you can use different type of “milks”, like coconut-milk or soya-milk. If you live in the USA try to avoid any kind of GMO product. You can also try lactose free milk from different producers, my impression was that they don’t have the same quality. Also lactose intolerance can be caused also by other problems, like grain intolerance, so try also to reduce the amount of grain your kid eats. I think there should be some tests for it.

      • Mark says

        Zsolt, You just hit the nail on the head. When I went gluten free I did not realize I was doubling the amount of GMO’s I was consuming. A few years back I was lactose intolerent (for 20 years), there was a company that had a cure for it about 5-7 years ago, They would have you eat yougart and take Pre or pro biotic’s (their formula) It was very expensive but it worked. It actually changed my life, I can drink moderate amounts of milk straight (2 cups), milk in a receipe is not a problem. The reason I came to this site was to try to get the name of the company, for a cousin. If anyone know’s of the company I’m trying to think of let me know. I believe it had Lact- something in it’s name.

  73. Debbie says

    Five years since I started having gastro problems. I think I had an ulcer (not h-pylori, but rather from too much aspirin & other pain relievers, and stress.) I then started becoming intolerent to dairy. A couple years later I stopped all dairy, with only a very occassional and very rare bite here and there. I considered myself dairy-free. I started pro-biotics about a month ago and noticed that the fungus on my feet cleared up. It was the kind that looks like your heels are just really dry and cracked, but I now know is actually caused by yeast overgrowth (I know, gross!). I feel much better and have started introducing dairy back in my diet with no problems. I don’t think I’ll go back to drinking milk like I used to (2 gals/wk). I am used to the rice and almond milk now. As someone who loves to bake, I’m glad I can go back to baking using regular ingredients. I have researched cultured butter and even made some of my own! I am really excited about being able to include some dairy in my diet again. I wonder now if it was mostly IBS that was bothering me. It’s kind of like: which came first, the chicken or the egg?….did my IBS cause me to not tolerate dairy? or did my dairy intolerence cause IBS? I don’t know, but it’s a very interesting subject. I now know just about everything there is to know about the subject.
    Thanks for listening to me and I appreciate your article above.

  74. says

    Hey everyone. What an amazing post, pretty cool stuff here. Everything that I’ve ever read has been about avoiding diary or foods with lactose. So I did just that for a long time until recently. You see, I started taking a fiber supplement every day combined with a probiotic every other day for the past 6months. A few weeks ago I was tempted to have a thick slice of cheddar cheese on my breakfast sandwich so I did. Amazingly I had no adverse reaction, so I started doing it every day for breakfast. I still keep my dairy intake low, but I now have been introducing more and more dairy and are doing great. I think that the extra fiber combined with the probiotic has really helped my digestive system. Thank you for writing this article and giving me justification behind what I am experiencing. I want to share this with everyone. I was so excited that I’m sharing this information on my blog I just started as well. Cheers to eating CHEESE again. :)

  75. T-mac says

    Weird how I can’t drink regular milk, but I’m fine when I eat cheese. Well anyway, I hope this works, this article was helpful. Thank you.

  76. John Calhoun says

    What would be the downside of of making yogurt from grass fed raw milk? Does the heat needed in the yogurt making process damage the lactase (like pasteurization does?) Any other drawbacks?

    Also, in college biology 101 during the basic 101 level of genetics we did several tests on ourselves. One of these was whether or not you could taste “bitter”. I could not. Does this mean that I cannot use bitters (sweetish/ swedish) as a digestive aid? Do bitters work if you can’t taste bitter.


    • Christie B. says

      I have the same concern, so I make yogurt without heating the milk. It’s easier, and works fine. It may not be as thick as other homemade yogurt, but it will be fine. And kefir doesn’t need to be heated, either. And I will say that while I tolerate the raw milk yogurt, it didn’t help me to digest lactose. But kefir is helping me to digest lactose. And my husband does better with the kefir, too. I think it’s more powerful, to be honest. But I will admit to not yet having learned to like it. I add it to smoothies. :)

      Not sure about your question about bitters. I would say to try it and see if it helps you. It won’t hurt you, and we’re all different.

  77. Viola Toniolo says

    I drank raw kefir every day for two months before my first pregnancy. By the time I was pregnant I was able to drink fresh raw and pasteurized milk for the first time in two decades.

  78. Stephanie Pires says

    I have very mild gut problems with dairy, but the emotional or mental symptoms are terrible. If I were to eat a serving of cottage cheese or drink a small glass of milk, even raw milk, I would start crying within 20 minutes and feel extremely unstable. Even with probiotics and enzymes, I still experience this. I really haven’t tried to deal with this, except for getting cleared with NAET 3 times. It always comes back within 2-3 days. The other things I’ve been cleared for have helped: citrus mainly. I just avoid milk and use small amounts when I can’t avoid it, like creamer. I seem to do well on rice milk and almond milk.

    • ReneeAnn says

      My favorite cream replacement is melted, blended coconut oil. Combine melted coconut oil with your hot beverage and blend with a blender or immersion blender. I finally bought an immersion blender because I do this at least twice per day. I haven’t tried it, but if you make some dandelion tea, which is white and I believe tastes creamy, I think you can store it in the fridge and use it as a creamer in beverages and in soups. If anyone tries this, please reply to this comment to let me know. Once I read the labels of milk alternatives, I decided to not touch them. They are full of nasty stuff. I have made my own coconut milk, but I really don’t like coconut milk. I’ve heard that it’s easy to make homemade rice milk, but I love the blended melted coconut oil and it’s health benefits, so I stick with that.

  79. FG says

    Yes, I’ve been cured of my lactose intolerance, Whoot Whoot!

    I’ve been following the GAPS diet/program. I was able to introduce dairy after 2 months of being on the program.

    I’ve actually be able to add several other foods back in that I have been sensitive/intolerant to. I’ve lost a couple that I was able to re-introduce, but, hey, it’s a process, right?!

    I highly recommend GAPS!!!

  80. Scott R says

    From someone that works in a Lab, I can tell you there is a test to check for “lactose Intolerance”. It is a Cow Milk IgG (even Goat Milk IgG is available). This is an Allergy Test performed @ just about all Labs. I had mine and my families tests done @ Quest Diagnostic. Quest is a Reference Lab that is used by all Doctors & Hospital’s in my area (PA). A positive test result is a Allergy (Delayed Reaction Type) which means, just like Gluten Sensitivity/Celiac Disease, you should never consume it again.

  81. Chris says

    Hi Chris, I have read, but not sure that it’s true, that pasture raised and organic egg shells can provide plenty of bioavailable calcium. I grind half of one and put it in a smoothie every morning. Do you know if this calcium is truly available to me in this form?

  82. Noemi R says

    My lactose intolerance wasn’t too severe – I could eat cheese as long as I ate it with something, and on a full stomach could eat high fat dairy.

    After giving up gluten and most grains I feel like my lactose intolerance is better. I have swapped my soy lattes for lattes made with heavy cream and I’m feeling great. (Plus 65 pounds lighter.)

  83. Bode says

    Love this post. One thing I have always wondered though: if I do eat too much dairy and have adverse reactions (ie gas, stomach pain, etc) am I feeding the bad bacteria in my gut and ruining my guy health/balance? Does it work like this? Is this a risk to consider when introducing back dairy?

  84. margaret says

    I think I’ve been slightly lactose intolerant since I was a kid. It got worse as I got older because I quit drinking milk as a teenager. In my thirties, I started taking Lactaid and then a probiotic lactose med. I went low carb/paleo about a year ago and have been able to quit taking the med. I ferment my own yogurt for 24 hrs to make sure all the lactose is digested. I try to eat it regularly.

  85. Zorica Vuletic says

    What is your opinion of either cow or goat colostrum (Goat is hard to find sometimes). Could this be used in the arsenal to build up good gut bacteria/seal up leaky gut?

  86. Lars says

    Hi Chris

    From Norway here:

    I have been eating moderate paleo/low carb for 2 years. And feel very good. For one month I eliminated grains (gluten) and dairy protein 100%. Because I struggling with Ulceratives colitis and Ankylosing spondylitis. And some blood test shows gluten- and casein sensitivity.
    I have now introduced some butter, cheese and full fat cream for 4 weeks, and can not feel any differences. The only medicine I get is some Remicade.
    My question is: Can this medicine (Remicade) camouflage that possible casein sensitivity. Or can I trust that I now tolerate full fat dairy?

    I hope you have time to answer.


  87. Diana says

    Great article. I am convinced that my lactose intolerance was a consequence of a very damaged gut due to gluten intolerance! I was diagnosed clinically with lactose intolerance 10 years ago and had IBS symptoms for years before that. About 4 years ago I went gluten free, 3 years ago dairy free (at that point I reacted negatively to dairy protein and fat too) then 1 year ago I adopted a mostly paleo diet (no grains or leagues except for some occasional rice). About 6 months ago I reintroduced lactose-free dairy slowly, with small amounts of yogurt or cheese. Today I can tolerate moderate amounts of any type of dairy! Milk, cream, ice cream, cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, butter, yogurt… I generally limit dairy to one serving a day for health reasons but I can tolerate more. Since I was tested for lactose sensitive specifically via a breath hydrogen test, I’m fairly certain my guy stopped producing lactase due to damage from gluten.

    Now… I just have to convince the rest of my immediate and extended family members who are lactose intolerant (about a third if them) to give gluten free a try!

  88. Harald says

    Most allergies are created through a biological conflict shock event and are called ‘tracks’ in GNM (Germanic New Medicine – now called Germanische Heilkunde by Dr. Hamer, which translates as Germanic Healing Arts and Teachings).
    The instant a biological shock event occurs, a ‘snapshot of the surroundings’ is taken by the Psyche, our spiritual selves, which usually includes activity we are engaged in at that time. If we liked to consume dairy products, it would stand to reason, that this activity would in all likely-hood be included in the ‘picture’ and used by the Psyche as an early warning i.e. the last time you had a shock you were drinking milk among other subjects (colors, smells sounds) in said picture . . DON’T GO THERE! will get you to the English language website of GNM, if you want more information on the “cutting edge medicine” practiced in Israel with a 98% success rate .

  89. Marissa says

    My indirect way of healing my lactose intolerance: Up until a few months ago, following a paleo-template, I found myself continuously cutting out more and more foods, dairy definitely being one of them. I was on the verge of experimenting with cutting out other food groups like FODMAPS and oxalates because of my various symtoms, but I became so frustrated and overwhelmed. I think the stress of it all was a big part of jacking up my homeostasis. If anything, I concluded that I needed to focus on carbs (as per Paul Jaminet’s blog) because of my low body weight, temps, etc. and because of my family’s history of thyroid disease. Thanks to Danny hosting your show, I continued to follow him because I thought he (and his research) sounded RIDICULOUS. Not finding much relief from vegetables, honey, whole fruit, and even safe starches for my carb source–I think the fiber killed me–I upped my sucrose and fructose intake (via mostly orange juice), and then I slowly added in organic milk and felt 100% fine. Now I get a lot of my nutrients from orange juice and raw nonfat milk (because it’s cheaper). I feel soooooo much better and my digestion is great. Who would have thunk?!

  90. says

    Hi Chris,

    I too was really dairy intolerant when I had gut dysbiosis and it lessened after going gluten-free and clearing up my SIBO. I drink raw milk but from Jersey cows, which contains A2 beta-casein. I also have no issues with goat milk. However, I find that dairy from A1 casein milk causes me to experience painful bloating.

    I think some of the problem in those intolerant of dairy is due to this. Because of the gut paralyzing effect of A1 beta-casein, there is a bigger chance of becoming constipated and not being able to pass gas which can be quite uncomfortable and mistaken for lactose intolerance.

    • Zorica Vuletic says

      Hi Ray,

      What test did you get to determine SIBO (and to rule out Candida, or if SIBO is just another way to say the same thing ‘candida’?

      How did you clear up your SIBO?



  91. Carole M says

    I have Hashimotos and gave up gluten and dairy a couple of months ago. The gluten was a must and I decided to give up dairy as well as I’ve had a couple of funny episodes in the past (unexplained rashes etc) that thinking back could have been the onset of the Lactose intolerance I ended up with. I stayed off lactose for many years then eventually found I could tolerate some as long as I didn’t go overboard. Soooo…it’s all going OK (don’t feel any better or any worse) but I’m dreading Christmas because avoiding dairy will be a nightmare. I know if you slip up and have gluten it can stay in your system for up to 6 months but I would really love to know if dairy is the same, especially in the case of thyroid issues. I am just considering easing up just a little on Christmas day but as I am desperately trying to reduce my anti-bodies I don’t want to be back to square one!

  92. says

    Hi Chris,
    I heard Robb Wolf say in a recent podcast that you were of the idea that probiotic bacteria doesn’t necessarily survive the stomach acid to repopulate the gut, but rather modulate the immune response. However, in this article (and others) you mention taking yogurt to populate the gut. Can you explain this further?

  93. Meeshar says

    I have been able to manage my lactose intolerance, though my situation is a bit different than most because I had a gastric bypass 7 years ago. My post-operative diet was high protein, low carb for the first year, and after losing nearly 130 lbs. and reaching my goal weight, I was advised to add “healthy whole grains” back to my diet to stabilize my weight. Instead, I developed a SIBO (blind loop syndrome) and after seeing several doctors and gastroenterologists, one finally suggested antibiotics for a possible bacterial overgrowth along with a strict 100% lactose free diet. I was better within 3 days, after suffering for several months. I gradually added back low lactose dairy, but also started reading about probiotics and started taking a probiotic geared toward lactose intolerance (Digestive Advantage). It helped tremendously, and I’ve taken it ever since. Then I started eating more local/organic/whole foods, local full-fat/non-homogenized dairy, etc. and ran across Primal/Paleo and have never felt better. I do find that I tolerate low-temp pasteurized, *non-homogenized* milk much better than standard, and would like to find a source of raw dairy soon.

  94. Joy Nichols says

    I was lactose intolerant after going without milk for 2 years. I found out the hard way after drinking 2 cups of milk and a milkshake at the county fair. Lots and lots of pain. I got some lactaid and used it, then started drinking milk more regularly and can tolerate a cup or so at a time. I also use kefir. I just found out I can get raw goats milk locally.

  95. Karl says

    I like dairy, and it contains zinc to balance the zinc-copper ratio. I eat a lot fruits and veggies, and they usually have quite a bit of copper same goes for chocolate and liver. I like liver, but it has way too much copper in terms of the amount and ratio. Therefore, I try not to eat it too often. I like shellfish which is rich in zinc, but it’s expensive.

    Only problem I’ve had with dairy is how addicting it is. The casein in dairy breaks down into casomorphins. Casomorphin is an opioid like morphine therefore addictive. I do at times have strong cravings for cheeses and yogurt. I have strong cravings for chocolate too which I think is due to phenylethylamine which is similar to amphetamine, also addictive.

  96. Alex says

    This phrase, “Calcium is a mineral that is difficult to get adequate amounts of in a modern Western diet without the inclusion of dairy” goes against what almost everyone else in the paleo community is saying. Like the exact opposite.

    Exhibit 1: Whole 9

    Exhibit 2: Mark Sisson

    Exhibit 3: Balanced Bites

    I am confused.

  97. Dave says

    Look for a CLEAN dairy that will sell you raw milk. Many – not all – people who cannot tolerate pasteurized milk find that they can drink it raw. I grew up drinking raw milk, my children do as well – very few colds, flu, etc. And the taste is amazing!

  98. Aaron says

    Chris, I added Horizon’s heavy cream into my diet when I tried to go ketogenic for 30 days and I seemed to get more deep pimples that lasted for 2 weeks or more. Loren Cordain’s most recent book suggests a link between dairy and acne, plus he mentions a bunch of other natural compounds and hormones that are found in dairy that are inflammatory. What do you say to Cordain’s research on dairy?

    • Allison says

      Aaron, My husband was doing the exact thing, Using Horizon organic cream while in keto. After looking @ Horizon’s label, I realized that Just because it is organic doesn’t mean it is from Grass or pasture fed cows. Harder to find organic and grass fed, but suspect it may make a difference with the acne issue.

  99. Paleophil says

    Chris wrote: “Pastured dairy products, in particular, are also a good source of the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2 – which can also be difficult to obtain elsewhere in the diet. In fact, the only other significant sources of K2 are goose liver and natto, foods that aren’t typically eaten or easy to find.”

    If dairy, goose liver and natto are the only significant sources of K2, then how did our pre-agrarian ancestors get enough of it and how do today’s hunter-gatherers and traditional semi-agrarian peoples that don’t consume much dairy get enough of it (or are they deficient)?

    “If you tolerate the yogurt well, and want to try diversifying your dairy intake, my next recommendation is to start including full-fat hard cheeses (raw if possible)”

    For me, raw hard cheeses (especially sheep cheeses) actually seem better digested than pasteurized full-fat yogurt (even sheep yogurt).

    The idea you raised of dairy being an alternative to the animal bones, skin, fish heads (and other connective tissues and animal body fats) that our ancestors ate but modern people tend to turn their noses up at is one of the most plausible pro-dairy points I’ve seen.

  100. adyia says

    Thanks so much for the great info Chris. It gives me hope. I’ve been tested as being allergic to casein. I’ve also switched to GAPS, then paleo diet. I’m hoping my food allergies are resolved someday, but for now I still react badly to dairy.

  101. PHK says

    Lactose intolerance is a funny thing.

    my mom is intolerant to brand A (cramps/diarrhea) but not brand B.
    my sis is intolerant to brand B (cramps/diarrhea) but not brand A.
    i’ve been lactose/casein tolerant for as far as i know.

    we’re all Han Chinese. so go figure.

    i’m also the only one who eats in paleo/WAP way.

    • Debbie says

      I see that no one has responded to your question. I’m not an expert though, but I understand that casein, which is a milk protein, can cause allergic reactions? Could it be a food algery then, and not an intolerence. If so, can food allergies be cured? I have a niece with a peanut allergy and it can’t be cured. How do you know it’s the casein that’s bothering you?

  102. Sharon says

    Thanks for this info, Chris. I am always confused about “doing dairy or not”.
    Sydney (in an earlier post) asked you about goat dairy (which I consume often) and I would love if you could tell us if goat cheese , kefir and yogurt has the K2 and other properties (CLA, etc) for our health.
    I can only find raw goat cheese and goat feta that is aged in Whole Foods. I used to be able to get local raw goat yogurt and kefir, but my source dried up. For awhile I was buying Redwood Hills Goat products. Even though pasteurized, are they a good source? I’m trying to get my A1C from 5.5 to a lower point, so I cut out the yogurts and kefirs to avoid any sugar sources at all. I would love to go back to them. I’m only doing cheese now.

    I also started to purchase KerriGold cow’s milk cheeses. They have a Gouda type (Blarney Castle I think is the name). They claim their cheese is pastured as is their butter. Yes..they all are pasteurized, but grass fed.. Any thoughts on that?

  103. says

    Chris, Going to try your cure for lactose intolerance. It has been
    years since I have been able to enjoy dairy. I had always used
    Jarrow probiobotic but became irregular in my use but for sure will
    go back and let you know how I make out. Gail

  104. cathie says

    I developed IBS after a bad gastro infection 20 years ago. After doing the elimination diet I found yeast and dairy were the triggers. Then, with an upcoming Europe trip coming up 5 years ago, I re-introduced dairy in very small amounts – a tablespoon in a cup of tea, and built up from there. No way was I missing out ofn French dairy products! Haven’t had a problem since, and eat all forms of dairy now. The Paleo diet has been the best thing, however. No grains or legumes certainly is the best way to go for me.

  105. says

    Chris – this is just perfect! I am a happy lactose tolerant who enjoys fullfat dairy regularly. It does amaze me that there is such a low incidence of intolerance in northern Europe yet such a high intolerance in north America; I mean, you guys are us guys … only a couple of hundred years between us. What happened?

    This is such a useful article and one very close to my heart. Thank you.

    • Megan says

      “You guys are us guys”… Not really.

      Yes, I have a lot of European blood, and I’m so white I practically glow in the dark, but a lot of North Americans are “mutts.” I’m 1/16 native American, though you wouldn’t know it to look at me (most “white” people I know have a bit of native american blood… Or claim to). There are also a LOT of people in North America who aren’t of European origin viz half of our president’s parent-couple.

      So we’re not exactly a carbon copy of Europe over here in The New World…

  106. Choymae Huie says

    I forgot to add. You can get fish heads at any Chinese market for about $2.00 a lb, even wild caught salmon. I can’t verify that it’s actually wild caught, since I’ve found the label wild caught on some frozen oysters counters that were stated farm raised on the package. Then on the other hand, there are both labels of wild caught and farm raised items on the fish counter, so maybe it was just a mixed up.

    I also inquired at the fish department at Whole Foods and they have frozen wild caught salmon heads, for $4.99 a lb.

  107. Katrin H says

    DAIRY = ACID pH?
    Chris, there is a wide school of thought and science behind the notion relating to dairy being a great source of calcium and the mis-guided directive of this notion. The premise being; as dairy is highly acidic, as a consequence and to compensate, the body will leach the existing calcium from our bones to make up for the acidic nature of the milk, cheese and other highly acidic foods we may consume causing the depletion of even more calcium in the bones and subsequent osteoporosis. The irony! What are your thoughts, as this is a very contentious issue relating to pH balance in our body, which of course has credence when it comes to health. PS: I love dairy, meat etc but have read many books relating to pH balance and having a diet balanced in alkaline/acidic foods. I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this confusing and contradictory topic. Thanks. Katrin (Australia)

    • Karl says

      Pasteurized/homogenized milk is slightly acidic. Raw milk is neutral to slightly alkaline. There are significantly more acidic foods out there. I think as long as you’re not regularly consuming strongly acidic stuff like soda, sugar, flour like everyone else then you should be fine. I wouldn’t worry about milk, and you can always eat alkaline foods anyway. I eat beef, pork, and chocolate quite a bit, and they’re strongly acidic but then again eat quite a few alkaline foods.

  108. Nancy says

    Energetic work such as BioSET, Neuromodulation Technique, Yuen Method, EFT and TFT can correct just about any allergy. It’s also very helpful to take digestive enzymes with every meal.

  109. Choymae Huie says

    I come from a culture of fish head eaters and though I never ate one while growing up myself, I use to watch my step father attack them with gusto. In fact he liked them so much that out of respect and the learned repugnant attitude of eating fish heads from my mother, who didn’t like fish to begin with, and the American society which we grew up in, we all left it to him to consume. But since I grew up mainly on the food my mother prepared, Chinese food. I also didn’t have much dairy, though I was always pushed to drink milk, which I also gave up as soon as I left home, including all the traditionally healthy nourishing dishes, my mother made, such as home made soup with every meal. When I reached the age of 50 or so, my teeth started to disintegrate and recently discovered from CURE TOOTH DECAY the foods that rebuild teeth and started integrating them all in my diet, including eating the entire fish. That’s when I discovered why my step father coveted all those fish heads. Though the skin of the some of the fish, I must admit, is a bit more fishy, but can easily be masked with a bit of ginger, soy sauce lemon juice, garlic, pepper, or other spices, depending on your recipe. The meat that is encased inside that skin is absolutely moist and delicious. More moist than any that you’ll ever have and the gelatin around it is chocked with nutrients that may not be found anywhere else. I’ll just eat it along with the meat. Fish skin eaten with the meat usually makes the meat more moist. Just make sure the skin is scaled before cooking. If you prefer not to eat the skin, at least cook the fish with the skin attached. You can also save the bones in the freezer for the next time you make bone broth. Though I also learned to drink, eat and love grass fed dairy, I try to eat at least two meals of fish heads a week. It’s delicious even with no seasoning, just baked in the oven until the meat flakes off the bone, about 5 minutes. There are all kinds of recipes for fish head soup all over the Internet. Here’s one of my favorites

  110. Karen says

    Great article. I have mild osteoporosis despite being pre-menopausal, a combination of years of eating disorders, a genetic link (my mother has osteoporosis too), times of my life without periods, including two bouts of long-term breastfeeding without menstruation along with long-term vitamin D deficiency, now under control thankfully (oh, I also have raised parathyroid hormone levels though my endocrinologist still seems to think it is as a result of vitamin D deficiency and will resolve). Anyway, as a result of all this I’m super-keen to get enough calcium but reluctant to take supplements. I don’t eat grains, drink raw milk in tea and the occasional glass of it, eat raw cheese and green vegetables daily and sardines with bones in a couple of times a week – oh, and bone broth daily too. I can’t think I can do more but at almost 40 years old have probably only got 10 years or so to build any kind of bone density back before I hit the menopause. Do you have any other advice, Chris? Thanks

  111. Jay says

    Chris, what about the huge insulin response to milk? Can you speak to that please? That’s the one thing that concerns me regarding milk. Thanks!

    • Chris Kresser says

      What’s the concern? Insulin goes up, it comes back down again. I’ve never seen convincing evidence that dairy has a harmful effect on metabolic health in real people. In fact, some studies suggest that full-fat dairy is protective against diabetes. I linked to a few articles about this above in the comments section.

      • DavidM says

        Huh? then just tell everyone to eat lots of sugar that has the same effect. Hi insulin levels have major harmful metabolic effects. I do not understand where you are coming from with that statement?? Anything causing major spikes in insulin is of concern.

        I have seen several convincing studies showing dairy’s harmful metabolic effects, studies that go back 100 years. Pasteurized, homogenized, grain fed, non organic dairy is not a health food and can be highly inflammatory and highly toxic. For example, non organic butter can have 20 times the pesticides as non organic produce.

        Here is a study showing dairy consumption causes a 3 fold increase in childhood type 1 diabetes: BTW, vitamin D sufficiency during pregnancy and early childhood majorly reduces the risk of type 1 diabetes. In fact, I have heard a couple of diabetes experts say that vitamin D sufficiency during pregnancy and early childhood would essentially wipe type 1 diabetes off the planet.

        Just to name a few problems with pasteurized, homogenized, non organic, grain fed dairy:
        1. Homogenization allows xanthine oxidase in the blood – highly inflammatory and cardio harmful.
        2. Homogenization can cause auto immune problems because it pulls foods into the blood that should not be there causing an immune response. One reason why dairy and gluten are so harmful when eaten together. You get atrophy of the villi – i.e. leaky gut – plus homogenization pulling in broken down “things” into the blood.
        3. Pasteurization, especially ultra pasteurization, makes casein more intolerable, destroys all of the enzymes, all of the beneficial bacteria, and converts the lactose into beta lactose, which can cause blood sugar and thus insulin spikes. Pasteurization also renders the calcium more unabsorbable because it converts some the calcium into calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate.
        4. Non organic dairy is a chemical soup. Typical non organic cow dairy sold in the grocery store contains 59 active hormones (including rBGH), up to 52 powerful antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, dioxins (up to 200 times the safe level), blood, puss, feces, solvents, viruses, excessive bacteria, and radioactive compounds. For example most of the milk used to make commercial ice cream comes from rBGH treated cows and one serving of such ice cream has twelve times the amount of IGF-1 as does a glass of milk because of the concentration in the cream.
        5. The omega 3 to omega 6 ratios can be way off in favor of omega 6, which is highly inflammatory. I know that grain fed beef for example can have a ratio of 20:1 for O6 to O3 ratio – very bad – where as grass fed has a closer to 1:1 ratio.

        I have a personal friend who had severe asthma her whole life (from about age five) and she used an inhaler every day and went to the emergency room twice. When she was 18 she removed diary from her diet completely and nothing else. The asthma went completely way and she has had no asthma and has been inhaler free for about 5 years now. This alone from removing dairy.

        In my opinion, the only type of cow milk that is truly healthy is from type A2 grass fed cows, raw and organic. And this type of milk fermented is even better and more tolerable. If you can get this type of dairy you are lucky! This type of dairy is not for everyone, I realize, but for some people it is a superfood!

        All other types should be avoided/limited. You can get plenty of sufficient calcium from plants and and plant based supplements. The best foods are black sesame seeds, kelp, kale, seaweeds, algae, carob, and moringa. Other good non cow dairy sources: Raw goats milk, Raw goat milk kefir, Raw goat milk cheese, sardines (with bones), dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. Broccoli and Broccoli Sprouts), pearl powder, the pith of citrus fruits, and wheatgrass. The herbs horsetail and oat straw are also excellent natural whole food calcium sources and best consumed as a tea. Note that spinach is NOT a good source. Good supplemental forms are calcium malate, calcium orotate, calcium AEP (amino ethyl phosphate), and calcium taurate. As usual, it is best to get calcium from a whole food source if possible.

  112. Kathy says

    I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance at the age of 16. They did not use any fancy tests just a trial diet of avoidance. Mine was really really bad. I would be curled up in the fetal position on my bed for about 3 hours in severe pain and periodically go to the bathroom to try to relieve myself. It took time however for what I just ate to work it’s way through me. I would get terrible waves of severe pain followed by a lessening & then back to severe pain. I would also get very HOT. I’ve even fainted before trying to get back to my bed from the bathroom. After months of this I went to my mom and told her I needed to go to the doctor becasue I thought I was dying. I avoided dairy for a number of years (3-5) until I found out about lactose pills and started using them & they helped alot. I tried vaious things as I found out about them such as soy milk & when lactaid milk came on the market I used that. Eventaully (about 15 yrs ago) I read a small 1/2 pg article in Prevention Magazine that said to eat 1/2 cup of ice cream immediately following a full meal and that since the dairy was with food that it would not run right through you, and that it would help you to produce more of the enzymes that break down dairy. Well I did it and it really did help alot. I did not get sick that night. At that point I hadn’t had ice cream for about 10 years. I personally considered this to have cured my lactose intolerance. I do fluctuate and still can’t drink milk, not even raw without digestive upset but I can for example eat pizza or cheesecake. Unfortunately I now have malabsorption issues of a different nature, fat malabsorption as well as other nutrients. None of it is as horribly painful as what I desribed above.

  113. Drea says

    I used to think I was lactose intolerant, so I didn’t eat dairy for years (I also was vegan for a bit.) Then I went on a gut healing diet and started eating paleo-ish foods. After a little while I started *craving* dairy, so I tried cow’s milk, and it made me sick (I have a massive gluten sensitivity, so this makes sense) but then I tried goat and sheep’s milk, and I digested it just fine. Now I eat goat yogurt and raw sheep/goat cheese as part of my regular diet.
    Another good thing to note too was that eating cheap industrialized goat cheese, especially the harder kinds, makes me ill, similar to how cow’s milk makes me feel. I have to buy the nice imported cheeses from the cheese counter.
    So I totally think there are other people out there who think they’re “lactose intolerant” but might actually be cow casin sensitive instead.

  114. Scott Engle says

    Hey Chris,
    Great article. After enjoying dairy for more than 40 years with no problems, I began having symptoms of lactose intolerance. My Dr.’s solution was to have me avoid dairy or use a lactase supplement. That approach conflicted with my instincts, but I didn’t know what else to do. Even though I avoided dairy, my digestive problems got worse. I finally started doing my own research and discovered information about GMO’s, Ultra-High Temp Pasteurization, probiotics, Leaky Gut, and so much more. My self diagnosis was that my gut had been destroyed by GMO’s and antibiotics, and that our food industry was supplying us with inferior, nutrient deficient, dead food. I switched to organic food and I started consuming Amasai and cultured whey. After suffering for almost 10 years with digestive discomfort I began feeling great in just a few weeks. I began adding more probiotic rich, raw, live, foods to my diet; including fermented veggies that I made myself, and I feel terrific. I now drink raw milk and eat other high quality dairy products with no problem.
    Your article was the first thing I ever read that mentioned “lactase persistence”. If a person doesn’t have the genetics to continue producing lactase after childhood, during what age range does that typically occur? If a person who lacked the genetics had a healthy gut and consumed probiotic rich foods, do you think they would have a problem eating raw or low temperature pasteurized dairy products?

    • Chris Kresser says

      They would stop being able to digest lactose right sometime in childhood, at about the age most kids are weaned in hunter-gatherer cultures (somewhere around 3-4 years old). The studies I discussed in this article do suggest that even someone without the lactase persistence mutation may be able to tolerate lactose after probiotic or fermented dairy consumption.

  115. Nilofer Kreonidis says

    Hi Chris
    Dairy products seem to be a migraine trigger for me so I avoid them. For my sons who are prone to eczema, especially when they eat too much dairy (their dad also gets eczema when he eats dairy and caffeine) so I also limit their intake. I would, however, like to treat them and myself on occasion to small amounts of dairy. I would like to use a lactase supplement for these occasions. Are there serious draw-backs to doing so? BTW, I am trying to build-up a healthy bacteria population in all of us using probiotics. For calcium supplementation, we all take New Chapter’s Bone Strength.

  116. says

    Chris, I’ve never had a problem *digesting* any kind of dairy product – my problem has always been related to respiratory. 24 years ago my midwife/doula suggested I avoid dairy for the last month of my pregnancy to prevent my newborn baby needing to be suctioned. I didn’t notice much of a change but of course after my baby was born I went right back to having it – that was when I noticed the thick phlegm in my throat that had not been present those weeks while avoiding dairy products. But I wasn’t about to give them up for a little bit of phlegm. Fast forward 11 years and I had a terrible bout of pneumonia, was so sick I was in a bed for a month. 6 months later I was diagnosed with asthma and put on a corticosteroid inhaler (I understand the asthma was likely related to adrenal fatigue). My asthma allergy specialist did the scratch test and I was allergic to most everything for which I was tested. I had seasonal allergies with my nose running, sinuses clogged and sneezing over any slight amount of dust for most of the year. We got dairy goats a couple of years after the pneumonia and the raw milk seemed to help with my symptoms and I was able to go off my medications but only for about six months. In Dec. 2009 I started on the GAPS Diet. Since I knew dairy was a problem, I eliminated it from the start and did full GAPS (I’m okay with butter and ghee though). After I did intro 4 months later I tried to reintroduce but my sinuses clogged and my asthma worsened. After 10 months on GAPS I was able to taper off my asthma medication and have been off it ever since, no symptoms whatsoever, no seasonal allergies at all and I live in the same dusty area and rarely sneeze. It is so wonderful! I am so thankful when I see those around me struggling and remember how it used to be for me. I have only had to use my Albuterol (rescue inhaler) one time the first day of a bad cold I had in 2011 (about 5 months after being off all meds). I have tried to introduce fermented dairy (yogurt/kefir) but the clogged sinuses come back with a vengeance and it is almost impossible for me to sleep when my nose is so clogged, plus I would hate to see the asthma symptoms return. We finally decided to let go of our small herd of dairy goats since we can’t drink the milk without symptoms cropping up. Do you think one day I’ll be able to heal to the point where I can have fermented dairy products? I miss sour cream, yogurt, kefir and cheese! Thanks.

  117. Jen says

    Another great article that promoted optimal health backed by evidence in a very common sense way. Thank you!

    I am wondering if I am getting these same health benefits from ghee made from 100% grassfed butter. With a casein intolerance, it’s the only dairy I can eat right now. What do you think?

    • Chris Kresser says

      I don’t think so. The benefits come from the bacteria in the fermented dairy and probiotics, and their effect on our own gut flora.

      • ReneeAnn says

        I have tried unsuccessfully to add dairy back to my diet a couple of times. I always start with ghee or butter oil and I don’t tolerate them. I have never started with yogurt. Do you think it is worth a try or does my intolerance of ghee and butter oil over-ride this? I’m confused as to what I am reacting to with ghee or butter oil.

  118. says

    Some thoughts based on the article.

    1) Properly 24/hr fermented yogurt in theory should not have any lactose in it at all because the bacteria should have fermented on all of it to produce lactic acid. That’s why yogurt should be easier to tolerate.

    2) The bacteria that ferment on lactose in yogurt will probably not permanently colonize your gut, but instead be temporary, transient. Think of yogurt as a lactaid pill.

    3) Supposedly kefir might have tiny/negligible amounts of lactose left over even after 24/hr fermentation from what I’ve read. Some say kefir is more likely to colonize the gut than yogurt.

    • says

      This is all correct. Kefir is way more potent than yogurt and includes more enzymes. IMHO, home-made kefir is the way to go, preferably from goats or sheep.

    • Amelia says

      Hey I have thought for a long time that I was lactose intolerant but yogurt bothers me as well. I am on a diet of avoidance but I really miss the yogurt and real ice cream too. Is there something else going on besides lactose intolerance?

  119. CCM says

    I was having gut problems with milk (but not with cheese), and even kefir raw milk was giving me problems. However, I experimented and found that I have no problems with *clabbered raw milk* – which is so much easier to make than kefir even. Just leave the raw milk on the kitchen counter for a day or two and it will thicken to the consistency of yogurt. Nice and mild-tasting. If left on the counter for longer period, it separates into curds and whey – which is a different but equally nutritious food product. Thanks for this article, Chris.

    • Martina says

      That’s how fil/filmjölk is made (or used to be made, today starter cultures is added) in Scandinavia. :) Milk is lactofermented at room temperature, about 25 degrees C instead of at 40 degrees C like yoghurt. Delicious!

    • Kathy says

      There are lactaid pills, lactaid milk, lactaid ice cream. Not sure if anything else. The pills are the enzyme that breakes down lactose (the 3 part sugar in milk). The lactaid milk already has the lactose broken down & same with the ice cream. I’m sure the dairy products are not organic nor grass fed and certainly not raw.

  120. Nicole Hall says

    Hi Chris-
    I had food sensitivity testing done (igG??) and shows that my intolerance to dairy, specifically yogurt, cottage cheese etc was very high. I have wondered I this is due to the fact the dairy isn’t raw and I lack the enzyme or because I had the classic sensitivities to gluten, dairy, yeasts etc, and it’s a gut issue from chronic inflammation? Do I rely only on this test and take dairy out totally? I never noticed a actual lactose intolerance issue but my blood work said otherwise.

  121. Tina Erichsen says

    This article leaves wondering about a few things. People always claimed dairy is good for you but recent studies have shown that its actually not good for your bones rather the opposite. I wonder how that fits with what you’re writing? Another thing is: what exactly is the difference of using prebiotics vs. probiotics? I have not been tested for lactose intolerance ever but I never liked milk and my stomach has a lot of trouble when it comes to eating anything containing cream (whipped or not doesn’t make a difference) I started the paleo diet and cut it out and I haven’t missed it. However since risengrød and ris a la mande (basically dishes containing milk/rice and cream/rice) are traditional dishes for Christmas, I recently tried lactose free milk and cream and wonder what is your take on that? I noticed that I did well with the milk but cream is still an issue dispite being lactose free. On the plus side I had no migraines :) love the articles and podcasts btw. Wish you would do a complete one on migraine sometime especially in connection with periods as I’m still struggling despite dietary changes that actually have helped quite a bit – so Ty! (Sorry for the length of this) /Tina

    • Graham Ansell says

      They say wheat is good for you, then others say it isn’t .. everybody knows somebody who gets on well with a particular food when others don’t every body is different, everybody is an individual with different tolerances. , lifes short, why worry, just eat and be happy

  122. says

    A few months ago, I stopped eating dairy for breakfast and started eating eggs. This was just as an experiment, because I do not notice any symptoms from eating yoghurt and only feel bloating if I drink multiple glasses of milk.

    Interestingly, my weight effortlessly dropped 3 kilograms over several weeks and then seemed to level off. As I occasionally, started to eat yoghurt again (for the rest still mainly eggs), the 3 kilograms came back again. Then I stopped with dairy 2 weeks ago and now my weight seems to be stable, but did not decrease again.

    I wonder what is going on.

    • greg says

      Weight lifters, football players and others trying to gain weight have long used raw milk with good effect. It is considered to have a pretty strong anabolic effect, helping to put on mass and helping with recovery. John Welbourn talks a lot about using raw milk to bulk.

      • Karl says

        A gallon of milk is approaching 2500Cal, so that would bulk you up. Old time lifters used it. Milk contains protein (casein and whey), carbs (lactose), electrolytes (calcium, sodium, and potassium), etc.

        Research has shown that milk is better than water and sports drinks for rehydration. It improves protein synthesis after training; whole milk is better than fat free milk in this regard. It may be the combination of both fast and slow protein that makes it so beneficial for post-workouts.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Hard to say without a lot more experimentation. Could be the fat, carbs or inflammation caused by a casein or severe lactose intolerance.

      • says

        A lot more experimentation!. All the time, I have eaten butter, so milk fat is likely not the problem.

        First experiment: I drink milk again (hay milk from Austria) and the weight stays stable. So either it is something in yoghurt and not in milk, or the effect has saturated. Will now experiment with eating yoghurt again.

        I doubt the the weight changes are due to muscle. I did not notice a decrease in strength while losing weight. Furthermore, I have no body building talent and have never gained 1 kilo of muscle a week and also did not notice a clear increase in strength during the weight increase.

        My impedance scale claims that I have gained 1% body fat. 3 kg would have been 4%. The scale also knows my weight and probably takes that into account in its body fat estimate. Thus there may well have been no fat gain at all.

        Thus I expect that the 3 kilos up and down are mainly water. On the other hand, with an increase in water, you think of inflammation, but I did not notice any change in health. Life is one experiment. 😉 Thanks for thinking along.

        • Diana says

          Yoghurt has tons of milk protein in it….casein. Greek yoghurt even more so, since the water is drained out. What you get is highly concentrated casein, with the lactose pre-digested. I have a son who bloats up and gets “fat” on lactose and casein. He just has to stay away from it.

    • Graham Ansell says

      I stopped all dairy and lost a lot of weight, I ended up underweight, even eating lots of fatty pork and beef and egg yolks. Dairy seems to stabilise your weight or helps you gain muscle weight, which is great.

  123. greg says

    I gave up dairy for fifteen years. Whenever I ate it I would get weak, have difficulties breathing and feel terrible, like having the flu and asthma at the same time. A friend suggested I try raw Roquefort sheep cheese. Not only did I not react, it was delicious! I added more and more raw cheeses, then yoghurt, and finally raw milk. We now own dairy goats and I enjoy drinking upwards of a liter of raw milk a day and feel amazing! I have a friend who reacted the same way with regular dairy and she tried to eat raw cheese but it still wrecks her, so I guess everyone needs to find out what works for them. I can now eat small amounts of pasteurized dairy without problems too. I’m so glad I can once again enjoy souffles, crisp apples with Blue Cheese, Gouda with rice crackers, cheesy tacos, and our home made Roquefort Cheddar!

      • greg says

        Probably worth mentioning we also are mostly gluten free (I eat 1-2 slices of sourdough bread a week), eat a strict Weston-Price/Primal diet that includes lots and lots of fermented foods like home made kimchee, ketsup, kefir and cheeses. My friends and family think I’m a tyrannical food nazi, but we’re healthy and that’s what’s important. I’m also going to +1 for Chris’ comment about healing the gut before trying raw dairy.

    • davidrn says

      Greg, your story isn’t far from mine. I went over 30 years withour dairy, if I had ice cream i paid the price with diarrhea, sometimes within minutes. (sometimes Ben& Jerry won the argument in my head though, dam.) I made serious life style/ diet changes in Jan of this year, and went all Weston P and started raw milk, and made kefir and even ice cream from it. My wife was the same as me with dairy, and also tried the raw dairy, within a month, we both tried civilian ice cream, without diarrhea or even gas. That saying about not ” I’m not Lactose intolerant, but Pasturezation intolerant”, sure made sense then, to both of us.

  124. Wade says

    Hey Chris,

    This reminded me of your article on Kefir, particularly that it could be even more helpful in populating the gut than yogurt. I’ve switched from yogurt to Kefir, mostly because it’s so easy to make. I recommend it to anyone trying to consume a highly digestible form of dairy.

    -Wade Gwin

  125. says

    I did!!! First, I changed my woe to grain free, and then I started making my own kefir from raw milk. It is wonderful not to feel the pain and discomfort anymore, no need to take lactase enzyme digestive supplements, and enjoy dairy again!

  126. Samantha Stevenson says

    I live in the UK and have found that pasteurised dairy milk seems to cause a big problem – along with wheat, so I’ve eliminated them from my diet. I either drink coconut milk or grass-fed buffalo milk. The buffalo milk is absolutely delicious and I have no problems digesting it.

  127. Cathryn says

    Hi Chris,

    This sounds like a reasonable approach, starting with small amounts. My tendency in the past has been to eat a lot of yogurt in one sitting, which did not work. I’ve been concerned about getting enough calcium and have taken to sucking on, and even eating when soft enough, the ends of chicken bones when I make broth from the leftovers of a chicken meal. I heard Robb Wolf say he does this for the calcium. Anyway, I think I will try your suggested method.

  128. Pauline says

    Another possible factor to throw into the mix: I think that lactase is produced on the brush border of the vilae in the intestines, and that lactase production could fail if you had intestinal damage – the sort that occurs in celiac disease. But then when the gut recovers, lactase production can resume. Does this make sense? In that case lactose intolerance would only be temporary. It also might be a reason why so many people that cut out wheat sucessfully also find benefit when eliminating dairy

  129. Jane Goodman says

    Hi Chris, Thanks as always for the great post. I’m wondering about claims I’ve heard that dairy is highly inflammatory – what is the basis for those claims? Are they accurate? Also, what is your take on Mark Abram’s position (The Blood Sugar Solution), in which he strongly argues against dairy products for people with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes? Thanks, Jane

    • Chris Kresser says

      The claim that dairy is inflammatory is based on the idea that casein is immunogenic and allergenic. I think that’s true for some, but not all people. As for Mark Hyman’s position, I don’t think there’s much evidence supporting it. In fact, studies suggest that full-fat dairy (but not low-fat) is actually beneficial for T2DM and CVD.

      See these two articles by Stephan Guyenet summarizing the research:

      • Amanda says

        My daughter has impaired glucose tolerance and milk sends her into the diabetic range with her blood sugars. The evidence is conflicting in that there are reports that dairy is protective and there are also reports that only fermented dairy is protective. There is at least one cell study that shows cross reactivity of casein antibodies with auto-antigens present in Type 1 diabetes, but it is not all the cell lines tested. My daughter also has an extremely high IgG response to dairy proteins. I’m with Chris in the “your mileage may vary” response – dairy is great for some people and not so good for others. I would be inclined to try an elimination diet if I were diabetic (Type 1 and Type 2) to see if it helps and then introduce dairy as suggested here. I would also recommend making your own yoghurt and letting it ferment for ~24 hours.

        • says

          I don’t think your daughter should be drinking unfermented milk in that case. But home-made goat kefir fermented for 24 hours should work with her. The long fermentation removes most lactose, and the goat part minimizes the casein problems, since goat/sheep casein is different than that of US cows (or older kinds of cows that the West doesn’t use anymore).

  130. Sydney says

    Hi Chris! Is full fat goat yoghurt made with raw goat’s milk as beneficial as cow’s? I am only able to obtain raw goat’s milk dairy products in my area currently. Thank you!

    • einstein says

      you lukcy man. i wish i had access to that! goatmilk is the healthiest milk one can wish for. expensive like hell too (at least here in Europe).

  131. Micave says


    How about casein sensitivity? I’m diagnosed with a casomorphin defect due to the missing of the dpp iv enzyme.

    What’s your opinion about that? Is there room for dairy or not at all?


    • Kathy says

      What type of doctor did you go to to find something like this out. Seems very thorough. I haven’t had good luck with doctors.

  132. Carlos Morales says

    I’ve tried probiotic supplements, prebiotic foods, and a whole lot of yoghurt (which I digest fine), but raw milk still makes my skin break out like a 13 year old who runs on Twinkies.

  133. Jennifer in PA says

    I have a 14 year old dd who has gluten intolerance (perhaps even celiacs but we don’t know). She has had trouble with dairy for a long time but 8 months after going off gluten she can no longer tolerate any dairy. Is this just part of her healing or might something else be going on? Could she have a casein allergy and is that different from a lactose issue? We do drink water kefir regularly and eat some fermented vegetables. She ate some of my homemade goat yogurt a few days ago and had much stomach discomfort and some loose bowels. We have tried goat yogurt, goat cheese, raw cheese, raw milk of both cow and goat and she does not seem to be able to tolerate any of that at the moment.

    • Chris Kresser says

      In my experience it’s necessary to get the gut inflammation under control before trying this experiment. On the GAPS diet, for example, the intro phase does not permit even fermented dairy. Give it more time before trying again, and if she continues to react, I would suspect casein intolerance.

      • Jennifer in PA says

        Thank you.
        Would you recommend the GAPs diet for awhile or just continue gluten free, casein free with as many probiotic (but non dairy) foods as we can get in?

        • Christine Reando says

          If you have an hour or so you should watch Dr. McBride’s full explanation of the GAPS diet, it’s extremely helpful in understanding gluten intolerance and the scope of gut problems.
          When I discovered I was gluten intolerant, I immediately felt better upon eliminating it but also found I was much more sensitive to a lot of foods that I previously hadn’t been. I was on GAPS for about 8 months and am now able to eat even cream cheese sometimes (!) I’ve worked really hard at building my probiotic bacteria and keeping my starches low. The value of sticking to GAPS is that it truly heals and seals up the gut lining. If you just do GF/CF, she may feel better while eating that way but never truly heal whereas with GAPS, she will most likely eventually be able to eat dairy and gluten again as well as return to full health. Wish you both well!

          • JEnnifer in PA says

            Thanks Christine. This is the kind of info I need. I will find time to watch that video. I have had a feeling this may be necessary for true healing for her but can’t get anyone to really make the kind of clear recommendation that you did.

            • Christie B. says

              I would like to chime in here, as we have experience with this as well. After going gluten free with our son (after a celiac diagnosis), we soon discovered that he couldn’t tolerate milk either. Not even small amounts of ghee. This went on for years. Then we did the GAPS diet (actually, we’re still doing it). After about six months of full GAPS (without milk) and about 3 months of intro, we were able to very, very slowly add in ghee, then raw butter, then raw yogurt. He even had some whipped cream (raw cream, but unfermented) with his pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and he can eat small amounts of raw hard cheese. I don’t know how far we’ll be able to take this progression, but we’re amazed that we’ve gotten this far. And just for the record, our son was tested and he reacted to casein. I don’t know about his ability to digest lactose.

              I should also add that Dr. Campbell-McBride (who wrote the GAPS protocol) does that about 10% of people will not be able to tolerate dairy, even after GAPS healing has happened. But really, that’s a pretty small percentage. It means that 90% of us WILL tolerate it.

              In my opinion, based on our several years of experience, a person who has celiac can have a LOT of gut damage, and eating GFCF, and even grain-free and legume-free, won’t heal the gut. You will do better eating this way than not, but the gut won’t heal. GAPS does not just remove certain foods, it adds in foods and protocols that will heal the gut. This is very important.

              Now, I have to disagree with Christine on one point. I don’t think a celiac should add gluten back to the diet, even with great gut healing. Yes, the SCD diet and GAPS are supposed to heal the gut sufficiently that you can. BUT, I have never read of any tests done to show that the eating of gluten isn’t doing unseen damage. And there are a lot of tests that have been done that show the damage that can happen, even if the person is experiencing no symptoms at the time. Gluten damages the gut. Period. So, after going to all the work of healing the gut (and it IS work), why would anyone go back to eating something that most likely will cause damage again. Even Dr. Campbell-McBride says that her family eats GAPS at home, and as close to it as possible when traveling. They stay healthier that way, she says. I fully believe that. And our family plans to do the same (we’re still working on the healing part, though). It’s a very healthy diet.

              One last thing to add is that healing takes time. Some people heal faster than others, and some people heal slower. And you can’t necessarily predict which you will be. Every body is different. Just keep that in mind if you decide to do try it (it’s definitely worth it, in my opinion). Be prepared to be patient if that’s what your daughter’s body needs.

              • Jennifer in PA says

                Thank you Christie. I am thinking right now to really focus in December on adding in as many probiotic foods as we can (just made some raw sauerkraut and carrot/ginger salad and also cooking my turkey bones down for broth) and then checking how she is after Christmas. Then we will consider the GAPS diet at that time. Christmas is not the time to get super radical. So probably after her 15th birthday in Jan we will be doing some months of the GAPS and that gives us time to get ready.

                • Christie B. says

                  Yes, this is definitely not a good time to start GAPS (at least not if you want compliance). I think your plan sounds good. It seems to be really good for many people to not just jump in, but to kind “back” their way into the diet. Add in a bunch of good healing food (ferments, broth, organ meats, fats, etc.), slowly reduce grain/starch intake, try a few GAPS treats (to assure you and your daughter that you really can enjoy food while doing GAPS) and before you know it, there you are, eating full GAPS, and enjoying it. And from full GAPS, it’s easier to do intro (than from a non-GAPS diet). No need to add stress! This is about healing, not stress.

                • Christine says

                  Christie made some really good important points. We backed our way in too because of Baden Lashkov’s advice in The Gaps Guide. She basically tells you to take a deep breath and not freak out and change everything immediately. I took my time learning the basics like making sauerkraut, yogurt, and broth. First we dropped grains, then sugar, then switched to raw dairy, all while gradually getting used to the probiotic foods and allowing our metabolisms to switch from glucose burning to fat burning. GAPS is an enormous shift for your body as well as your kitchen but its so worth it. And we’ll be the same as Dr. McBride, our diet will never return to what it was, but I do hope to be able to someday eat the occasional sourdough, or holiday pie, that sort of thing. For now though we definitely stick to the diet and plan to do so for quite a while longer. If I had celiac I might keep gluten out forever, but I just have a pronounced intolerance that I’m hoping to heal.
                  Plus GAPS inadvertently healed my long term anxiety, depression, adrenal, weight and skin problems. I mean it’s really been a lifesaver. It also remedied my husband’s ADHD and weight as well as my son’s sleep and skin problems. Good luck to you, it’s so worth it to have your health back!

              • Harald says

                Generally speaking: the healing phase is about the same length of time as the conflict active phase i.e. if the condition was present for two years, expect the healing (completely) to take as long, provided there are no interruptions or any recidivism, in which case it will take longer.

          • Gayle says

            Caution: Christine Celiacs should never eat gluten again. The gluten free diet is the only safe way for us to eat for the rest of our lives. Gluten causes damage even if we are not feeling it and I think that probably applies to those who are gluten-intolerant.

        • jamie says

          I have lactose intolerance so I started taking lactase enzyme my issue is I started probiotics that do have milk in can allergies to milk make me have allergies to probiotics shortly 1 week after I have severe internal itching but my meds do also how can I tell which is making me feel like this

      • Davinna Artibey says

        Hi Chris. I’m a huge fan and am so grateful for all of your teachings. I just wanted to point out that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends fermented dairy in GAPS intro. On page 146 of Gut and Psychology Syndrome when she is explaining Stage 1 she states, “Probiotic foods are essential to introduce right from the beginning. These can be dairy-based or vegetable based.” She does suggest they be introduced slowly, starting with 1-2 teaspoons a day to avoid reactions and that people do a sensitivity test first.

    • says

      The possible reason that your daughter can no longer tolerate dairy is that a Gluten Free diet over time also eliminates some good bacteria in the gut. Gluten promotes certain bacteria in the gut. I am not suggesting you go back from a Gluten free diet but not all of that diet is great.

      • SC says

        Just make sure your daughter is eating resistant starch, no need to reintroduce gluten. Resistant starch will provide all the gut benefits without causing the damage to the gut that gluten does.

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