Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Switching Off Lactose Intolerance... Someday

Lactose intolerance is caused by a gene turning off the production of the lactase enzyme that digests lactose. Simple as that.

That has led many people to wonder whether switching off that signal in the cells that manufacture lactase would lead to permanent lactase production.

In fact, a few years ago Dr. Matthew During of the Central Nervous System Gene Therapy Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia did a series of experiments on rats that accomplished exactly that. See my article on his work.

He was researching toward a breakthrough in diabetes, though, so don't expect to see a cure for LI any time soon.

I mention all this because Scientific American just published a nifty explanation of how scientists do cell-switching, with lactose digestion leading to the understanding of just how to do it.

50 years ago.

Oh well, at least they're still working on it. Maybe someday.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Enfamil Gentlease LIPIL Infant Formula Now Available

Mead Johnson has announced a new infant formula that may be an intermediate step before going to soy-based formulas for infants with temporary breastfeeding problems.

Here's the press release:

EVANSVILLE, Ind., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- New Enfamil Gentlease LIPIL infant formula is now available, making it the first and only formula in the U.S. that combines partially broken down whey and casein milk proteins, reduced lactose and LIPIL. LIPIL is Mead Johnson's blend of DHA and ARA, two nutrients also found in breast milk that promote babies' brain and eye development. Enfamil Gentlease LIPIL is designed for feeding term infants with fussiness or gas.

"Enfamil Gentlease is a great alternative for formula fed infants who are experiencing common feeding problems such as gas or fussiness," said Jon Vanderhoof, MD, Vice President of Global Medical Affairs for Mead Johnson Nutritionals. "Its unique formulation will provide mothers with a formula choice that doesn't eliminate all the lactose or any of the cow's milk protein."

Gas and fussiness in infants can be caused by many factors. Physicians differ in their approaches to managing feeding problems in formula fed infants, but historically, first-line therapies have involved switching the infant to either a milk-based, lactose-free formula, which contains cow's milk protein but no lactose, or switching to a soy protein-based formula, which contains no cow's milk protein or lactose.

Breast milk is best for babies, but for those babies that are fed infant formula, formulas containing cow's milk protein rather than soy protein are usually preferred. When switching from a routine infant formula because of feeding tolerance issues, mothers and health care professionals may be willing to try a milk-based formula with proteins that have been partially broken down. Likewise, the reduced lactose level, when compared to full-lactose, routine milk-based formulas, may help infants when they have temporary trouble with lactose. The introduction of Enfamil Gentlease LIPIL allows physicians to recommend an infant formula with protein from cow's milk, the preferred protein source for formula-fed infants, and with lactose, the primary carbohydrate in human milk, but at a reduced level.

Enfamil Gentlease LIPIL is now available. Consumers can call 1-800-BABY-123 for assistance in locating Enfamil Gentlease LIPIL at a store in their area. Mead Johnson Nutritionals is a world leader in nutrition, dedicated to giving infants and children their best start in life. Mead Johnson & Company is a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.

Go to the Mead Johnson website for additional contact information.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Teaching Lactose and Lactase

A wonderful site,, has a long list of simple teaching experiments that teachers can do to show how lactase digests lactose, among other nifty things.

  • Lactase
  • Lactase Inhibition
  • A New Pedagogy for the Lac-Operon
  • Control of Lactase Activity: Genetic and Enzymatic Levels of Control
  • Exploring the Realm of the Steady State in E. coli

    If you poke around on the site, there's probably lots more of interest. I'd love to see students come out of school already knowing how lactose digestion works.

    And I can't help mentioning an old favorite here, from San Francisco's marvelous Exploratorium. Milk Makes Me Sick: Exploration of the Basis of Lactose Intolerance.

    Bookmark and Share
  • Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Lactagen Response - It Worked for Her

    In response to my earlier post -Lactagen: Questions, No Answers, I received an email from Patricia S. She gave me permission to post her message her on the Planet Lactose blog and also on the Lactagen page on my website.

    I found your site through the Lactagen website and saw that if someone went through the program that you wanted them to email you with all the details, so that's why I'm writing.

    There's really nothing to tell other than it worked. I had been lactose intolerant for almost 4 years, got an email that was advertising Lactagen and various other products. Normally I would've trashed the email but when I saw the word lactose I figured I might as well read it. I checked out the website and thought to myself that it was expensive however it it worked then it was worth the money and if it didn't there was a 6 month money back guarantee. So either way I couldn't lose. My total cost with shipping & tax was $148 and change.

    I followed the program to a "t" and didn't have any problems until the very last day when I had my last 12 ounce glass of milk. Got all the symptoms as if I just ate a hunk of cheese (bloating, massive diarrhea) except the massive and painful cramping. After my ordeal (when I was free of the bathroom), I called the Lactagen company up and one of their experts asked what I had for dinner with the milk. I told him, and there was absolutely nothing I ate that had any trace of dairy in it. So we talked for a bit, he asked my symptoms, and when I said I did not have any of the severe cramping that I normally did he said it was probably something I ate that just upset my system and to restart the last 3 days of the program were you just drink the various ounces of milk but also to introduce one other think of dairy into my diet like having a cheeseburger for lunch one day, cheesecake the next day, etc. This seemed to work and so far I have been able to eat dairy with no problems at all!

    So for your reference the Lactagen program really does work!

    And a follow-up:
    I forgot to mention that prior to trying Lactagen, I did try Lactaid and Ultra Lactaid pills and for the first few years it worked about 99% of the time, then it started dropping and by last July 2004 it completely stopped. Basically, it was just a band-aid, a very temporary band-aid. And of course, it was at the worse possible time...while I was on a cruise! Let me tell you, it was not too fun watching everyone else eat all those yummy meals & desserts that I couldn't have!

    So if you want, you can add this to your website/blog so if someone reads it they will know that I did use the Lactaid pills. Basically, it was just a band-aid, a very temporary band-aid.

    I'm for whatever works for people without hurting them. If you have more comments or questions about Lactagen, be sure to leave a comment.

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Was Darwin Lactose Intolerant?

    You knew it, didn't you? You just knew it. All that controversy over evolution – and it's all our fault.

    Sorta. Anthony K Campbell and Stephanie B Matthews recently published a History of Medicine article in the Postgraduate Medical Journal (2005;81:248-251) that makes a case that Charles Darwin's lifelong illnesses were really symptoms of "systematic lactose intolerance."

    Here's the abstract:

    After returning from the Beagle in 1836, Charles Darwin suffered for over 40 years from long bouts of vomiting, gut pain, headaches, severe tiredness, skin problems, and depression. Twenty doctors failed to treat him. Many books and papers have explained Darwin’s mystery illness as organic or psychosomatic, including arsenic poisoning, Chagas’ disease, multiple allergy, hypochondria, or bereavement syndrome. None stand up to full scrutiny. His medical history shows he had an organic problem, exacerbated by depression. Here we show that all Darwin’s symptoms match systemic lactose intolerance. Vomiting and gut problems showed up two to three hours after a meal, the time it takes for lactose to reach the large intestine. His family history shows a major inherited component, as with genetically predisposed hypolactasia. Darwin only got better when, by chance, he stopped taking milk and cream. Darwin’s illness highlights something else he missed—the importance of lactose in mammalian and human evolution.

    Not everybody buys this, of course, but just think if Darwin had made the connection in the 19th century. That sure would have made those long years in the 1970s before I got diagnosed a lot more fun.

    If only Darwin had been smarter…

    Bookmark and Share

    Animal Planet

    Just a reminder. All adult mammals are naturally lactose intolerant. And that means no matter how hot it gets, be real careful about sharing your ice cream with your pets.

    Vets already know this. The Cincinnati Enquirer ran an article quoting Dr. Tony Buffington, a veterinarian and clinical nutritionist at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University.

    Moderation is everything, even for animals, Dr. Buffington rightly says:

    Give the pooches ice cream in moderation, he suggests, and cut back on other high-fat treats.

    "Dogs are also more likely to be lactose intolerant than humans," Buffington says.

    But that doesn't mean they can't enjoy a little ice cream occasionally. If the animal shows persistent symptoms of lactose intolerance, such as diarrhea or bloating, then maybe it's time to stop dishing out the ice cream.

    On another hot button issue, Dr. Buffington has only seen one case of chocolate intoxication in dogs in 25 years of practice, BTW. Still, his advice is simple: if you want to give your dog a taste of ice cream, make it vanilla.

    Bookmark and Share