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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

When to Take Your Lactase

Back to lactose intolerance basics. Here's a question that I got an email about.

When should I take my lactase pills?

The best time to take your lactase is just before you start eating. The lactase is designed to go quickly through the stomach and enter the small intestine. That's where it works. If you take the pill before eating any of the dairy, the lactase will be sitting there waiting for it.

Should I take another pill if I have more dairy during the meal?

Food moves the intestines slowly. In fact, your system requires hours to break down and digest all the nutrients in food. If you take enough lactase at the beginning of a meal it will all still be there for any food eaten during the course of a meal.

If you're surprised by dairy you didn't expect, say by a big dairy-laden dessert, then go ahead and take more lactase. But otherwise it's not necessary.

What if I forget and don't take the lactase until the end of the meal or even later?

You want the lactase to be there first. If the lactase chases the lactose it may not catch up with the first part of the meal and some lactose can slip through undigested.

Even so, better to miss some lactose than to miss all of it. If you have lactase, take it. It should still do some good by reducing symptoms even if it doesn't eliminate them completely.

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Anonymous said...


Steve Carper said...

You should take the lactase pill right before having the milk product. A few minutes ahead is fine. Hours ahead lessens its effect.