Milk, it does a body good (or not)

Dec 15th, 2011 | By | Category: Companies, Health

23andme has a new campaign, 23 reasons to get 23andme (which is also including a $23 off discount) Now, some of the reasons I find a bit unconvincing personally. I mean, no one in my family has back hair (that I know of), I’m losing interest in knowing family genetic heritage.. finding it relatively meaningless

But reason 14, hit the nail on the head for our family. Lactose intolerance (learn more about the genetics at that link, or here).

I’ve discussed this before earlier this year, when we got our results back (my husband, children, in-laws, parents, siblings… etc have all done genomic scans), two results came back that surprised us but proved true. My mother-in-law and husband were likely lactose intolerant.

When I pointed that out to my mother-in-law she said “no I’m not.” But then she went on to explain that she never drinks more than a glass of milk because it gives her an upset stomach. Bingo. She learned over the decades that she was indeed lactose intolerant, and shifted behavior because of it, but just didn’t put a name to it.

Later, when I looked at my husband’s profile, sure enough “likely lactose intolerant.” His answer was the same as his mother’s, “no I’m not.” Thing was, in the 15 years I’ve known him he’s had regular stomach problems with no solution.

So, what have we learned since that last post in April?

So I tested. I do the food shopping and cooking in the house, so every time he ate dairy products I’d mark it down. Then I’d wait and watch. Sure enough, given enough dairy he’d have stomach problems with an few hours. It would take more than a small glass of milk, but it was inevitable. He loves cottage cheese.

4/30/11 8:40pm. He ate a large bowl of cottage  with fruit. 11pm. stomach cramps and bowel movement problems through the night. Kept him awake

5/1/11 8:10pm. Small bowl of vanilla ice cream (perhaps 1 scoop). No discernible issues.

5/3/11 7am. Eat 2 bowls of cereal with milk. 9am, stomach aches.

5/4/11 6:34pm. 4 slices of cheese. pizza. Ouch. Bowel movement problems from 9:10pm through much of early night.

You get the picture.

He probably didn’t make the connection earlier because his mother is of Danish descent (really? Danes aren’t lactose intolerant?) and often dairy in small amounts wouldn’t do a thing, or some products (like yogurt) would have little effect. The problems seemed ‘sporadic’ but frequent. His doctors never suggested lactose intolerance.  We could have done a food elimination test, but that was time consuming and very inconvenient. In hindsight we should have done the slog of eliminating foods from the diet…but you know what they say about hindsight? (Or at least the Phantom Tollbooth). He’s the

most unpleasant fellow whose eyes were in the rear and whose rear was out in front… he invariably leapt before he looked and never cared where he was going as long as he knew why he shouldn’t have gone to where he’d been.

Well, for a bit of cash and very little actual effort, we found the cause of his all too frequent stomach issues. Since then he’s been careful not to ingest too much dairy. He limits the amount of milk he drinks (no more than 6-8oz a day) and ice cream he eats (1 scoop max). I have limited the amount of dairy I use in making dinner or make substitutes. He’s switched to almond ‘milk’ for cereal.

The frequency  of stomach problems has decreased drastically, his quality of life increased accordingly.

So, that discovery alone was worth knowing our genetic information.

(but since both his parents have osteoporosis, he needs to make sure he finds calcium from other sources).

 

 

 

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6 Comments to “Milk, it does a body good (or not)”

  1. Interesting – even more interesting is that many if us Westerners don’t realise that lactose intolerance is the most common phenotype worldwide. It seems that the tolerance SNP appeared about 8000 years ago in central europe and maybe allowed carriers to move north. So in Europe there is a very strong north-south gradient, it is very rare (circa 5%) in UK scandinavia etc, but common in Italy (in fact it comes as a complete surprise to most here in this land of pizza, ricotta and mozzarella that about 70% of italians are genetically lactose intolerant. It’s an interesting SNP for many reasons, especially the migration part – plus it is a perfect example of a “nutrigene” – genotype + lactose = problems… remove lactose = no problems! But you are right about the calcium

  2. [...] Milk, it does a body good (or not): I’ve discussed this before earlier this year, when we got our results back (my husband, children, in-laws, parents, siblings… etc have all done genomic scans), two results came back that surprised us but proved true. My mother-in-law and husband were likely lactose intolerant. [...]

  3. PontoNo Gravatar says:

    Lactose intolerance seems to vary in its effects with the individual. My lactose intolerance hardly kicks in at all. I can eat all the icecream I want, cheeses soft or hard and buckets of voghurt. Milk on the other hand I don’t drink much of at all. I don’t like the taste unless flavoured. However I consume as much milk as my partner from breakfast cereal which I drown the cereal in milk, teas and coffees, but I never drink milk by the glass. As I said, don’t like the taste. One day when I was in town waiting for my partner to come back from a doctor’s appointment I bought and consumed 600ml of coffee flavoured milk. Delicious. I can handle that amount of milk, however my partner came back after the doctor with another 600ml of flavoured milk, which I drank. So I drank 1.2L of milk that morning. Some hours after I got home, I did have to visit the facilities, but really nothing was untoward from a normal toilet episode. I don’t think I would drink 1.2L of milk again, that would be tempting fate, but the point is lactose intolerance and its effects varies with the individual. Some folks just need to look at a glass of milk to get wind.

  4. [...] intolerant when you shouldn’t be Milk, it does a body good (or not): I’ve discussed this before earlier this year, when we got our results back (my husband, [...]

  5. MerNo Gravatar says:

    I used to drink buckets of milk and stopped sometime in my early 20s because it stopped tasting good. I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance when I was 28 – I expect that it started when the milk stopped tasting good.

  6. [...] Milk, it does a physique good (or not): I’ve discussed this before progressing this year, when we got a formula behind (my husband, children, in-laws, parents, siblings… etc have all finished genomic scans), dual formula came behind that astounded us though valid true. My mother-in-law and father were expected lactose intolerant. [...]

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