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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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.

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Anonymous said...

Until I can switch off my LI, here is a letter that I sent to Kim McMiller, the Associate Director, Consumer Relations at Kraft Foods. I asked her how can we tell which of ALL of Kraft Products are lactose free.

She was very nice and gave me the background that many people need to know. However, diary manufacturers are deaf to this product and this market.

Here is the letter:

Kim McMiller
Associate Director, Consumer Relations

Thank you Kim, for your very nice letter.

Looking at the labels is a good thing to do if the store you're in carries every product. Even then, it is quite a chore. If hey don't carry it, how do we know it exists if even you can't tell us?

There are tens of millions of people with this problem in the United States and many of them do not eat dairy products because the have no idea what products are lactose free or not or even that such a thing exists or that it is lactose intolerance (LI) that is making them feel ill.

I buy Kraft lactose free aged cheddar in BJs and cracker barrel in both BJ's and Costco. I buy Finlandia Swiss, Lactaid Milk and Breyer's Lactose Free Vanilla Ice Cream. The milk and the cheeses are easy to buy, although Costco stopped carrying the 3 pound brick of Finlandia, so I can only get that at BJ's.

The Breyer's ice cream is a real pain because it looks like all the other Breyer's flavors and the supermarkets are clueless as to what it is. Breyer's needs to use another color, for lactose free, and make more flavors.

You never answered my original question about Mozzarella Cheese, whether or not you had a lactose free version. I thought I saw a Kraft shredded mozzarella that was lactose free, but not a chunk.

As you know, nothing is more explosive to an LI person than ricotta cheese. Kraft owns Polly O, probably the largest producer of both ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Do you have any idea how much good Kraft can do by producing these very popular lactose free Italian cheeses? Would it impress you if I told you that you can prevent 15 million people from having intense stomach cramps and diarrhea 50 days a year by removing the lactose from ricotta and mozzarella. I bet it's triple that number.

You are missing a monstrous market by not teaching consumers that you have products that they would enjoy and that would make their lives healthier and more productive. I'd even bet there are people in your company who have severe LI pains and disturbances and they have no idea that you make cheese they can eat. I bet there are days they get sick and never make it to work or come in late. How effective do you think employees are, when they have bad cramps and all the rest that LI brings?

Maybe Kraft can lead the way to help 30 million or more Americans and at the same time, help their sales skyrocket just by selling your product. If you could, you would also wake up Breyer's and all the other companies that produce dairy products. You know how business works, if you're not smart enough to do it, someone else will eventually leave you in their tracks. I hope that the American dairy manufactures are not as dumb as the car manufacturers were and still are.

I hope you can get this letter to the right people. I just may look up the CEO of Kraft on "Edgar" and send it to him myself. We have to start making a difference.

Anonymous said...

I'm not holding my breath for gene therapy...

Scott said...

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My site is in a bit different area, but just as useful. I have a 2 diabetes mellitus type related site focusing on 2 diabetes mellitus type and mens health related topics.

jon said...

Looking at asthma exercise info online today while my son coughs I came across this post. Does anyone know a good asthma exercise site to help?


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Anonymous said...

I hope this message can help somebody... I was LI for 10+ years and am now 100% cured. The answer... ACUPUNCTURE. I was never a believer in acupuncture but after a friend cured her LI with it, I was willing to try it. According to the acupuncturist, I was allergic to calcium. (So you might say "OK, so you weren't really lactose intolerant" but how do you know if the symptoms are the same ... and does it really matter if it works?) All it required was one 30 minute acupuncture session and 24 hours abstaining from all calcium containing foods. (Basically, I could eat white rice cooked with distilled water... and drink only distilled water.) I've been cured for over two years now and I can eat all the milk, cheese, and ice cream I want with NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER. I urge everyone with LI to try this... it has literally changed my life!

am said...

There is another solution to Lactose Intolerance besides Lactaid products. I discovered it when my friend told me she used to be Lactose Intolerant until she started the Atkins Diet. She does not want me to use her name, so we will call it “The AM Theory” after me (my initials are AM). While she was on the Atkins Diet, she could eat and drink dairy foods anytime and would not get gassy, bloated, and all the other fun symptoms.

My first thought was that almost all Asians are Lactose Intolerant; and one of the foods that my friend was no longer able to eat while on the Atkins Diet was rice. I asked myself, "Could that be why Asians are Lactose Intolerant (because they eat rice every day at almost every meal)? And Caucasians are least likely to be Lactose Intolerant because they do not consume rice as frequently as Asians?” It was just a thought.

At that time, I was consuming far too many Lactaid pills for my own good and thought, “I should try skipping my rice at dinnertime so I can have a big bowl of ice cream.” In the past I would only have a scoop of ice cream after dinner and hoped I was going to be OK. That night I skipped my rice and asked for a large bowl of ice cream. My family questioned it, “You never ask for more than one scoop. Are you sure you want a whole bowl of ice cream?” I said I wanted a heaping bowl. It was just a test and I fully knew the consequences should my theory be wrong. After I finished my bowl of ice cream, I waited for the symptoms (Gurgles, gas, etc.)—Nothing!

The next morning I had to tell my friend that she had just cured my Lactose Intolerance and hence, The AM Theory—Avoid consumption of wheat or grain products along with Dairy Products.

It has been almost a year since I first discovered The AM Theory. I no longer suffer from enjoying all the dairy foods that I love so much as long as I apply The AM Theory and the standard rule of not consuming excessive amounts of dairy products in one sitting and/or on an empty stomach. I have also learned that I can have dairy products ½ hour before and/or 1 ½ hour after consuming wheat or grain products and not end up with an upset stomach (well, at least for me.)

I don’t know what the scientific explanation is, but if it works for me, it might work for someone else. Individuals could probably do their own research and try The AM Theory and post their results on your website.

I hope this helps other Lactose Intolerant sufferers.

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...
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