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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Eyes Without a Face

I hope there are vegans who read this blog. Vegans with a sense of humor.

Amy Sedaris, whose book I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence was a sad disappointment, does better with the Amy Sedaris Craft Challenge.

Taking the vegan lament/boast/challenge/oneupmanship of "I don't eat anything with a face" a little too seriously, she challenged people to add googly eyes to non-faces and put the resulting pictures up on Flickr.

The resulting 316 photos can be seen via a link at the page given above. Many are hilariously creative. For those with a sense of humor.

Those with absolutely no sense of humor whatsoever can complain here to people with even less of a sense of humor than you.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gas Caused by More Than Dairy

Yam Cher Seng, a pharmacist, wrote an article for the New Straits Times that covers a lot of intestinal ground.

INTESTINAL problems are one of the main health issues plaguing our society. They are very common and if you were to ask around, chances are that everyone would have suffered from at least one digestive problem sometime in one’s life.


Common symptoms include bloating, belching, flatulence, indigestion, heartburn, gastritis, diarrhoea and constipation.


Many people find relief in merely modifying their diet to reduce refined carbohydrates such as white flour, white sugar, white bread, noodles and white rice and increasing their fibre intake.


According to the American Dietetic Association, it is recommended that we take about 25-35g of fibre daily.

It is beneficial in regulating bowel movements and adding bulk to the faeces. Regular bowel movements are essential in aiding the body in eliminating toxins, and thus improve intestinal health.

You may achieve this by consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and pysllium husk. Having regular meal times helps to minimise excessive stomach acid production at any one time and is also good for preventing heartburn and gastric problems.

Excessive gas in the intestines can also be prevented by reducing certain gas-forming food such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, onions and legumes.

This is because they contain indigestible sugars that will be broken down by intestinal bacteria to produce gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and methane.

Avoiding carbonated beverages may also be beneficial.


Stress management is also important because nervous people tend to swallow a lot of air, resulting in build-up of excess gases in the digestive tract.

Try to find time in your busy social life for exercise.

Exercise is also recommended to keep the bowels moving normally and helps reduce stress.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

DNA Lactose Surprise? Not to Me.

Big news spreading around the scientific world is an article that isn't even available yet. It's a pre-print - a copy circulated before the official print date - of "Absence of the Lactase-Persistence associated allele in early Neolithic Europeans" by J. Burger, M. Kirchner, B. Bramanti, W. Haak, and M. G. Thomas.

Note: I've edited this post to make the proper link to the abstract available.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences site.

With the recently acquired ability to study human DNA and compare it to DNA taken from bones, scientists have a virtual time machine that can study how humans have changed, or not, since ancient times.

Lactose intolerance is a natural thing to study. The ability to manufacture the lactase enzyme as an adult is a simple mutation that is easy to spot. I posted another item about a different study in December, Milk Mutation "Strongest Signal of Selection", in which I quoted University of Maryland biologist Sarah Tishkoff as saying that the LI mutation arose so quickly and was so advantageous that "it is basically the strongest signal of selection ever observed in any genome, in any study, in any population in the world."

In addition,

Tishkoff's team determined the date range when the mutation likely occurred: 3,000 to 7,000 years ago, which matches up well with the archaeological record that places pastoralization coming to East Africa about 5,000 years ago. The European trait dates back about 9,000 years.

The new study does little more than move that European date closer to the present.

An article, Early Europeans unable to stomach milk by Roxanne Khamsi at reports that:
Researchers analysing the DNA in Neolithic human remains claim to have uncovered the first direct evidence that modern humans have evolved changes in response to natural selection.

Just 7000 years ago, Europeans were unable to digest milk, according to a new analysis of fossilised bone samples – nowadays more than 90% of this population can.

Well, cool. This is extraordinarily difficult and exacting work and is a major advance in the techniques of gene identification.

But a major finding? Perhaps not.
To determine when this special lactose tolerance evolved in Europe, Thomas’s team analysed the DNA from 55 bone samples belonging to eight Neolithic Europeans. The skeletons were dated to between 5840 BC and 5000 BC.

Eight people. I rail at medical journal articles when the study group is that small, because findings are simply all too likely to show up by sheer chance in small groups. Would you be surprised to find no left-handers in a group of eight people?

It's not quite that simple, of course. The number of ancient bones that usable DNA can be extracted from is limited. We'll learn more about the statistical significance of the study when it is published.

Nobody whose read my book or the earlier, admittedly non-genetic, research on LI should be in the least surprised by these findings, however. While interesting, this news is not exactly news.

If there's more to it than first appears, I'll revisit the subject and fill you all in.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lactose and Casein

I often get email similar to the following, so it's time to remind people of some basic definitions.

Could you please let me know what difference (if any) there is between casein and lactose intolerance. I'm confused.

Here was my answer:

    They are two totally different things.

    There's no such problem as casein intolerance, although you may sometimes see the term. Casein is a protein is milk, actually a whole family of similar proteins. The other protein family in milk is whey.

    Proteins can sometimes enter the bloodstream where the immune system thinks they are invaders and attacks them. This is called an allergic response. Cow's milk protein allergy is the overall term for several types of dairy allergies, which can be to the casein or to the whey or both.

    Some people do get gastrointestinal problems as allergy symptoms, but hives, rashes, respiratory complaints, and a host of other symptoms are more common.

    Lactose is the sugar in milk. All people can manufacture lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose, at least until they're weaned. Many adults can as well. But if you don't manufacture enough lactase the undigested lactose can cause symptoms including diarrhea, gas, bloating, and cramps. This is called lactose intolerance.

    There's really nothing you can do for a dairy allergy except avoid dairy products.

    You can take lactase pills to digest the lactose, however, and these should work as well as having natural lactase.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Let's Eat Out!

Kim Koeller "has spent the last 23 years eating 80% of her meals in restaurants around the world while managing over a dozen food related allergies/sensitivities and celiac/coeliac disease. Robert La France has spent over twelve years in the restaurant industry and devotes his spare time to a passion for the culinary arts. Collectively, they have traveled 2+ million miles across the globe, dined in 30+ countries on 4 continents and have conversational skills in French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish."

They've put together a book for the traveler with allergies or gluten sensitivity, titled Let's Eat Out!: Your Passport to Living Gluten And Allergy Free.

According to the book's description:

The first book dedicated to eating around the corner and around the world while managing ten food allergies including: corn, dairy, eggs, fish, gluten, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. At last! A book that gives you the freedom to eat what you want, where you want and when you want with confidence and ease.

Imagine being able to go to any restaurant, scan the menu, quickly spot the safest choices and ask the right questions to avoid gluten and other hidden allergens in food preparation. Imagine exploring more cuisines and enjoying more meals than you ever thought possible, armed with the right knowledge.

Let’s Eat Out! Your Passport to Living Gluten and Allergy Free provides you with everything from delicious menu items to order in 7 popular cuisines (American Steak and Seafood, Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Mexican, and Thai) to which questions to ask in safely guiding your decisions.

Let’s Eat Out! offers you peace of mind with less effort, enabling you to have more fun. Inside you will find:

    * The collaborative process of dining out
    * An approach to eating outside the home
    * The restaurant approach to handling special dietary requests
    * 7 international cuisines outlining traditional ingredients, gluten awareness, allergy & dining considerations and sample menus
    * 175+ savory menu item descriptions and preparation requests
    * 65+ ingredient and preparation technique descriptions with sample questions to ask
    * 10+ allergen quick reference guides
    * 130+ snack and light meal ideas
    * 200+ breakfast and beverage suggestions
    * 300+ multi-lingual phrases
    * 50+ global airlines with special meal options
    * 100+ product resources in 15 countries
    * 180+ international organizations

You can purchase the book at bookstores, at their website, or through my Milk Free Bookstore on the Allergy Books and Cookbooks page.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Babies Aren't Lactose Intolerant

The public level of understanding about lactose intolerance has increased about a million per cent since I first heard the term in 1978. That was when I was diagnosed with a problem that was totally new to me.

Today, most people have at least heard the term. Perhaps too many. Ever since I started answering emails from the public I've run into those who know that milk causes some kind of problem and since they've heard the term lactose intolerance, that must be what they have.

Too often that's wrong. Especially when parents are talking about their babies. Hardly any infants under the age of three are lactose intolerant, except for the one percent who at any given time have had their lactase-making ability knocked out by some gastrointestinal illness.

Not only do parents get this wrong, but often dietitians, nutritionists, and even doctors seem to mess this us.

That's why it was refreshing to read Dr. Sue Abell's column in which she gets it all correct.

Poor Dr. Sue got a letter from a mother than contained all the confusion and misunderstandings I so often see from parents:

My daughter is lactose intolerant, just like her father and his mother. I'm concerned about getting enough calcium into her once she's no longer on formula. (My husband won't drink soy milk, so I'm thinking she won't either.) I'm assuming she'll be lactose intolerant for life. She drinks soy formula now and is doing much better.

Dr. Sue's response is too long to quote, so please click the link above and check it out. She starts with a sensible paragraph that cuts through the clutter:
I seriously doubt that your daughter is lactose intolerant, and you'll see why in a moment. It sounds like your baby had some sort of reaction when she drank one of the cow's milk formulas, and she was switched to a soy formula and the symptoms resolved. Or she may have even had symptoms with breastfeeding and improved when you stopped breastfeeding and changed to a soy formula.

Although some immune response symptoms to an allergy can include gastrointestinal problems, allergy and intolerance are totally different problems.

Don't just write to an advice doctor about your child. See your own pediatrician and make sure you ask good questions and listen carefully to the answers.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another Allergy Scam

These things seem to come in clusters. Just a few days ago I warned you about a dangerous purveyor of nonsense in Beware Allergy Scam - Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET).

Today I found this bothersome story in the Gary Post-Tribune, 'Allergy' scam tab stunned patients by Carolina Procter.

When Barbara Doepping received her allergy test results indicating allergies to dogs and dairy products, she wrinkled her nose, but not because she had to sneeze.

She had a Yorkshire terrier for years and never reacted. She ate yogurt and cottage cheese all the time without trouble.

Now, more than two years later, the 59-year-old Hobart woman learned the doctors who oversaw the testing were indicted on federal charges for giving people unnecessary allergy shots and netting $1.5 million in insurance payments over seven years.

Doctors Oranu Ibekie of Merrillville and Hartley Thomas of Valparaiso face multiple counts of wire fraud for their alleged participation in the scam.

After learning of the indictment last week, Doepping and other area residents talked about how the doctors' alleged scam operation convinced them to have their allergies tested and then billed their insurance companies for as much as $1,500 each.

Seven years! These scammers have been getting away with it since 2000.

No more. Federal agents busted them last week.

The Chicago Tribune reported:
Hundreds of people seeking allergy treatment were scammed into believing they were getting free tests in a scheme that cost insurance companies more than $1.5 million and put patients' health at risk, federal prosecutors have charged.

On Thursday morning, federal agents arrested John Froelich, a 49-year-old nurse from Harwood Heights, and Paul Kocourek, 53, of Chicago.

Eight other people, including four doctors, also were charged in the alleged scheme.

Froelich is accused of leading the scam through a group of companies he operated as the American Institute of Allergy, which allegedly charged patients' insurance companies for tests it advertised as free.

The four doctors charged are Edgar Vargas, of Arlington Heights; Oranu Ibekie, of Merrillville, Ind.; Hartley Thomas, of Valparaiso, Ind.; and Robert Tully, of Mesa, Ariz.


During that time, patients who tested positive for allergies were prescribed allergy shots, often without being evaluated by a doctor, prosecutors charged.

In many cases, untrained employees of the allergy institute gave patients the shots under unsanitary conditions, the indictment charged.

Moreover, patients frequently weren't warned of significant health risks they could face from the shots, prosecutors alleged.

Needless to say, there is no American Institute of Allergy other than these operators.

If you have received any "testing" or "treatment" from the American Institute of Allergy, you should contact the authorities. The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago has set up a toll-free line. The number is 866-364-2621.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pressed Cottage Cheese is Low Lactose

Most cheese is made from casein curds, the lumps formed by the casein protein when the whey liquid is removed from milk. Most of the lactose in milk stays with the whey, so cheese is lower is lactose than almost all liquid dairy products. The aging process for cheese almost literally squeezes even more of the whey out of the cheese, so aged cheeses typically have little to no lactose. The vast majority of people with lactose intolerance (LI) can have at least some aged cheese with no symptoms.

Soft cheeses, on the other, keep more of the whey liquid - that's what makes them soft - and so have lactose levels in between those of regular milk and hard cheese. Check out my Lactose Percentages page on my website.

Cottage cheese is a soft cheese. Those with LI can have some but need to be cautious.

But what about pressed cottage cheese?

You got me. I never heard of it, until I was just asked about it.

But the good news is that pressed cottage is essentially dry cottage cheese: cottage cheese with the whey pressed out of it. Therefore, it's a low-lactose product.

And it comes under a host of aliases: hoop cheese, farm or farmer cheese, baker's cheese, and pot cheese. And it's also similar in manufacture to the Indian cheese paneer and the Mexican queso blanco or queso fresco.

The Cook's Thesaurus gives simple instructions for making your own:

Notes: This mildly acidic fresh cheese is made by pressing much of the moisture out of cottage cheese. Some varieties resemble a very dry, crumbly cottage cheese, while others can be sliced. It's primarily used for cooking. To make your own: Wrap cottage cheese in cheesecloth and place in a colander or strainer nested inside a bowl. Place in the refrigerator until much of the liquid has drained into the bowl.

So enjoy.

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Liddells: Australian Line of Lactose-Free Dairy Products

I had a brief note last year, Vaalia Introduces Lactose Free Yoghurt in Australia that also mentioned the Zymil line of lactose-free milks.

I don't pop over to Australia much, so I'm dependent on readers to let me know what the situation is for people with lactose intolerance who live there.

Shaine sent me an email alerting me to Liddell's lactose-free milk. Thanks, Shaine.

Turns out that Liddell's has a whole line of lactose-free dairy products, available there and some also in New Zealand.

They include:

  • Full Cream Lactose Free Milk
  • Lactose Free Low Fat Milk
  • Lactose Free Skim Milk
  • Lactose Free Chocolate Flavoured Milk
  • Lactose Free Yoghurt - Wild Berry & Apricot
  • Lactose Free Yoghurt - Plain
  • Lactose Free Lite Cream
  • Lactose Free Lite Sour Cream

As always, if you know of more lactose-free products - from Australia, New Zealand or any country under the sun - let me know and I'll publicize them here.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Damon's Grill Interactive Allergy Menu

Damon's Grill is a casual dining chain with over 80 locations, mostly in the Northeastern United States.

They just issued a press release about their new "interactive allergy information tool," which is on their website.

You can get their in several ways. Go to the Damon's website at and click on Our Menu, and then click on the "Click here for Food Allergy information" link in the lower left hand side of that page. Or click on the "Our Menu" link from any page on the Damon's website.

Or go directly to

Clicking on any box next to a menu item brings up information on the bottom of the page in which the potential allergens in that item are listed.

Allergens listed are Fish, Shellfish, Milk, Soy, Wheat, Eggs, MSG, Sulfites, and Tree Nuts.

The press release adds:

Before launching the allergy information page this month, a nutrition consultant analyzed the ingredients in nearly 250 Damon's appetizers, salads, salad dressings, soups, side items, entrees, sandwiches, kids' menu, beverages, condiments
and desserts.

"Few casual dining chains offer allergy sufferers and those with other dietary restrictions easy access to the information they need," said Carl Howard, president. "Damon's is taking the lead because our guests asked for the information, and we want to support their efforts to lead healthier lives."

I like that attitude, and I hope that Damon's soon comes to New York so I can check them out.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Beware Allergy Scam - Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET)

I about fell off my chair when I read the story by David Wilcox in the Auburn Citizen.

It's an almost completely positive endorsement of a talk by a chiropractor telling seniors that allergies can be cured by NAET - Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique.

You don't get quackery much purer than this:

Straile links NAET with the successful elimination of food allergies such as milk and peanuts. He begins the procedure by placing a patient in contact with a vial of water that has been charged to the frequency of the food item. Through kinesiology, he measures the strength of one arm against that of the arm holding the vial in order to assess the severity of the allergy.

The mind is then desensitized to the stimulus through manual neuromodulation, a procedure that places pressure on the spinal cord in order to send signals to the brain.

Seniors, run if you can! If you can't, take your canes and beat your way to the door.

Here's what the link from Quackwatch has to say:
NAET is a bizarre system of diagnosis and treatment based on the notion that allergies are caused by "energy blockage" that can be diagnosed with muscle-testing and permanently cured with acupressure and/or acupuncture treatments. Its developer, Devi S. Nambudripad, DC, LAc, RN, PhD, is described on her Web site as an acupuncturist, chiropractor, kinesiologist, and registered nurse who practices in Buena Park, California. [my note: since this was written she also claims an M.D. from an Antigua diploma mill]


The Bottom Line
NAET clashes with the concepts of anatomy, physiology, pathology, physics, and allergy accepted by the scientific community. The story of its "discovery" is highly implausible. Its core diagnostic approach -- muscle testing for "allergies" -- is senseless and is virtually certain to diagnose nonexistent problems. Its recommendations for dietary restrictions based on nonexistent food allergies are likely to place the patient at great risk for nutrient deficiency, and, in the case of children, at risk for social problems and the development of eating disorders. I believe that practitioners who use NAET have such poor judgment that they should not be permitted to remain licensed. If you encounter a practitioner who relies on the strategies described in this article, please ask the state attorney general to investigate.

The only good thing to say is that the comments on the newspaper page are highly critical of this nonsense.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Article Gets Goat Milk Right

I've denounced the nutty ideas of goat's milk fanciers, the ones who think that goat's milk is somehow magically better for people than cow's milk. See Goat's Milk for Lactose Intolerants? No. and More Goat Milk Nonsense.

So it's only fair to report on an article getting goat's milk right.

I found it in a letter to the editor on the website.

The letter writer, Stephanie Smith, a spokeswoman for the Western Dairy Council in Thornton, says:

Be careful about comparing goat's milk to cow's milk; there's no difference.


The big picture shows milk to be naturally nutrient-rich, delivering various amounts of most of the nutrients people need without a high calorie count. Scientific analysis finds no significant nutritional difference between goat's milk and cow's milk. They contain essentially the same amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, neither goat's nor cow's milk is recommended for infants with cow's milk sensitivity. The good news is that infants usually outgrow allergies to milk proteins by the age of 2. People with lactose intolerance have difficulty digesting lactose -- the carbohydrate in both cow's milk and goat's milk -- and there are many ways to manage this without eliminating dairy foods.

Pasteurization, regardless of whether milk is heated for longer periods of time at lower temperatures or shorter periods of time at higher temperatures, does not significantly affect milk's nutrients. Furthermore, most cows' milk is not ultrapasteurized.

People sometimes complain about "biased" sources, biased by their definition anyone with an interest in the outcome. Somehow the idiots making false statements are never considered to be biased as long as their beliefs are contrary to those of "industry." The truth is that people with the most knowledge sometimes are employed by one side.

Your job as consumers is to get to know enough about the subjects you have concern for to be able to tell when they are just giving the facts out of their expertise and when they are putting a spin on the truth. Here be facts. Goat milk nuts, beware.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Diarrhea Medication May Cure Cancer

It was another lab accident, not all that different from Alexander Fleming's when he discovered penicillin.

Katherine Schaefer, at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, was looking for drugs to treat the inflammation seen in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both of which cause pain and diarrhea, according to an article sent out by Reuters.

She was testing compounds on cancer cells, because - ironically - cancer cells are so hard to kill that they made great lab subjects.

“I made a calculation error and used a lot more than I should have. And my cells died,” Schaefer said.

A colleague overheard her complaining. “The co-author on my paper said,’ Did I hear you say you killed some cancer?’ I said ‘Oh’, and took a closer look.”

They ran several tests and found the compound killed ”pretty much every epithelial tumor cell lines we have seen,” Schaefer said. Epithelial cells line organs such as the colon, and also make up skin.

It also killed colon tumors in mice without making the mice sick, they reported in the journal International Cancer Research.

Nice as this report is, it's nothing to get hopes high about. Many compounds work in petri dishes and in animal tests. Even the promising ones are a decade away from the drugstore.

No matter. Here is one more piece of evidence that basic research, close observation and understanding of a subject, and a little luck can be the road to great science. This is the real intelligent design. Accept no phony anti-science substitutes.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Soy Island Kids Site

You may be a kid if a flash animation introduction from a talking soybean doesn't make you want to stab your eyes and ears with giant stakes, but once you get past that opening screen, Soy Island has some treats for kids.

It is a product of the Illinois Soybean Association.

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Soy Smoothie Recipes

The Kansas Soybean Commission & Association has a soy smoothie recipe page.

Note that not all the recipes are dairy-free, as a few call for yogurt or sherbet.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Science Marches On III: Systemic Enzymes

The lactase enzyme digests the milk sugar lactose. Most humans stop or reduce their manufacture of lactase at some point in their lives, creating the condition we call lactose intolerance when those of us lactase-challenged have dairy.

Fortunately, the lactase enzyme is fairly easy to manufacture artificially. (Or naturally, depending on how you look at it, since live yeasts are used to grow it.)

Similar products like Beano can be used on other hard-to-digest sugars.

Now the medical world is realizing that a whole range of body ailments can be helped through targeted enzymes.

Erika Camardella reports on about some of these discoveries:

Enzyme use goes well beyond dissolving digestive dilemmas. Nena Dockery, M.S., National Enzyme Co., noted within the dietary supplement industry, isolation of new enzymatic activities from natural, non-genetically modified sources has led to new opportunities for their use. “More is being researched in the area of systemic functioning of orally administered enzymes,” she said. “The recently discovered fact that low-grade inflammation may be indirectly related to a large number of chronic disease conditions has uncovered a large area of future enzyme development.”

Mike Smith, sales and marketing manager at Specialty Enzymes, said the two common areas for systemic enzyme use are as an anti-inflammatory and fibrinolytic.

“Serratiopeptidase and nattokinase are two newer enzymes that possess both properties,” he said, “and it is likely that research will yield more of these novel enzymes with systemic applications as interest and understanding continue to advance.” For example, ERC created one systemic blend utilizing enzymes (along with 14 different strains of probiotic bacteria) to create its Nightly Essense™ product.


Size aside, enzymes are no small players. The list of possible conditions they could affect continues as they may also assist with gluten intolerance, noted Jim Titus, director of international sales and marketing, Deerland Enzymes. “While enzymes for autism have made great strides over the last number of years, there is some information coming out indicating enzymes (as AN-PEP) have application for Celiac Disease as well,” he said With applications in nutritional formulas, tablets, capsules and blends, Panc-Zyme™ (American Laboratories Inc.) has many naturally occurring enzymes; but, it specifically contains trypsin and chymotrypsin protease, amylase and lipase, and can be used in formulations to hydrolyze proteins in milk, meat and cheeses.

And you knew I was going to get nanotech in here somewhere:
There are several new delivery system technologies on the horizon, but are not practical for use within the dietary supplement industry because of cost constraints, Dockery said, citing nanotechnology-based systems as an example. Another technology being utilized to a limited extent for delivery of supplements containing enzymes involves specialized liquid media within a softgel type capsule or liquid product. However, Dockery cautioned, “The enzymes must be protected in some way from being activated by the liquid, either by coating the enzyme or by manipulating the structure of the liquid itself to prevent interaction with the enzymes.”

Sooner or later, nanotechnology will be the preferred way to get exactly the right medicine to exactly the right part of the body. Pills, capsules, inhalers, even injections can't do it as well. Smaller is better.

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Science Marches On II: Lactose Worms

In more news from the world of nanotech, news reports that:

A new molecular "fishing" technique developed by researchers at Duke University and Duke's Pratt School of Engineering lays the groundwork for future advances in hand-held sensing devices.


The new technique uses an atomic force microscope (AFM), a device for observing the surface of individual molecules and measuring the force of interactions among them. The AFM includes a tiny cantilever arm with a sharp tip that scans the surface of atomic specimens, and monitoring the deflection of the cantilever provides information about the force of molecular interactions.

The researchers use the AFM's cantilever as a fishing rod, which they bait with a sample of the chemical to be measured in order to catch "fish," actually proteins known to specifically bind the target chemical. They dangle the chemical "worm" in a solution that contains the target chemical and also is stocked with the protein fish. Because the fish are easier to catch with the baited cantilever when there are fewer free worms to compete with, the researchers can quantify the amount of chemical in solution by tallying the number of successful catches.


In demonstrating the new method using lactose molecules as the worms and a protein called galectin 3 as the fish, the researchers relied on computerized AFM controls to lower the baited cantilever toward the solution a billionth of a meter at a time.


When galectin 3 fish bound the lactose bait, withdrawal of the cantilever registered a greater force. They repeated the process until the bait had made some form of contact at least 350 times.

They found, as expected, that the probability of binding varied with the concentration of lactose in the solution. At low concentrations, binding occurred with the greatest frequency. As the concentration rose, the likelihood of binding declined. The researchers used that probability of binding to calculate the chemical concentration.

Good news. I think.

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Science Marches On I: Nanotech Milk

Neil Pendrock, at reports that:

There are nano-filters that can convert red wine into white and even remove lactose from milk providing milkshakes for the lactose-intolerant. These post-modern oompa-loompas can remove the colour from beetroot juice while brewers use them to remove micro-organisms and even viruses. TCA molecules may be removed from corked wine using specially designed nano-filters. Ditto for alcohol and caffeine in coffee.

The dream of Willy Wonka for chewing gum that tastes like a three course dinner is no longer a children’s fairy tail as nano-capsules can be activated in sequence.

No telling exactly when these wonders will be available on supermarket shelves.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

'Get Uncorked and Go to Cork!'

I missed scooping the world. Dovid from Ganeden Biotech, the makers of Digestive Advantage, sent me advance word on their new contest on Friday and I put off dealing with it until I had a few minutes to look it over. Ah well, so the press release snuck out just a few minutes ago before I could post this here.

You're still among the very first to get the word, though.

I'll put it out straight: the jokes will write themselves.

Digestive Advantage is promoting its Constipation Therapy probiotic capsules with a story contest on constipation. Grand Prize is a trip to Cork, Ireland. Hence the contest name. 'Get Uncorked and Go to Cork!'

(Dovid is a copywriter, BTW. How much credit or blame he gets for the slogan is yet to be determined.)

Go to the contest site and you'll see the details:

Create a fun story centered on constipation – extra points will be awarded if it takes place in Cork County or Cork, Ireland.

The story should be no longer than 800 words. Be a little unconventional. But, keep it clean and fun. And if you think a photo will enhance your story, feel free to send that as well.

Grand Prize: A trip for two to Cork, Ireland, including roundtrip airfare and hotel!


Submit your story either electronically or by mail.
Entries can be sent to:


Ganeden Biotech, Inc.
5915 Landerbrook Drive, Suite 304
Mayfield Heights, Ohio 44124

Five finalists will be selected by a panel of judges. Those five essays will be posted online from April 30 through May 11, 2007 at where consumers will vote to select the Grand Prize winner. The winner will be announced on or about May 31, 2007.

No purchase necessary and there is no cost to enter the contest. Promotion ends April 20, 2007. Must be 21 to enter. Complete Official Rules.

Void where prohibited.

All submissions become the property of Ganeden Biotech, Inc.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Watch Out for Sugars Other Than Lactose

I keep telling people there are hundreds of foods that can cause intestinal symptoms similar to those of lactose intolerance. You can't blame everything on dairy.

Now here's a doctor who has the smarts to agree with me.

This is from the website of a TV station in Dallas, Doctor: Stomach Trouble Should Not Go Untreated:

Dr. Lawrence Schiller, of Baylor Dallas, said stomach problems could be serious.

Schiller said sufferers should first examine their diets. If stomach pains develop after eating carbohydrates, the cause could be complex-carbohydrate intolerance, he said.

Sensitivity to dairy could mean lactose intolerance, he said.

The fructose in fruit can cause bloating or cramping, he said. He recommended eating protein alongside fruit to help absorb the fructose.

Technically, true fructose intolerance is fairly rare. But a slight sensitivity to it probably is far more common.

I hate to tell people not to eat fruit. Strive for five, and all that. But if it does bother you, make it part of a meal.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

FAAN College Scholarship Essay

FAAN, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, is holding an Essay Contest that could win a college scholarship for a high school senior who has a documented food allergy.

This $1500 scholarship is available to students who have a documented food allergy. Students should write an essay of 500 words or less on "How food allergies have made a difference in my life." Applicants should complete online application at Deadline: March 1.

Eligibility: Applicants must be…

  • Diagnosed with a food allergy (immune system reaction) by a physician. Each finalist will be required to furnish a letter from his or her physician confirming this diagnosis.

  • An undergraduate or graduate student in a program in the United States for the 2007-2008 school year. (You do not need to have selected the school that you will be attending).

For more details, go to their fanteen site and to the “How Food Allergy Has Made a Difference in My Life” page. You will also be able to download the application form at that page.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Rich Products Buys Gluten-Free Manufacturer

You probably know Rich Products as the maker of those stalwarts of the non-dairy creamer business, Coffee Rich and Farm Rich. Coffee Rich®, the nation’s first frozen non-dairy creamer, was introduced way back in 1961, and was the first product I added to my diet when I found I out was lactose intolerant back in 1978.

(No, you're not crazy. You won't find a direct reference to either product on the Rich's website. A rep told me many months ago that they were in the process of redoing the website, but that will probably happen about the same time my redesign of my website happens. BTW, if you can't find Coffee Rich locally, you can order it through

Anyway, those two products are tiny flecks in the bigger picture. Rich Products is a big-time foodservice giant that's about to get bigger. They've announced that they've acquired GLP Free Manufacturing, a Grand Island-based firm that specializes in producing gluten-free baked goods.

An article in Buffalo Business First adds the details that make this exciting news:

GLP has carved a niche by manufacturing such gluten-free products as sandwich rolls, individually packaged frozen brownies, cookies and other snack items.

"This partnership provides Rich's with access to high-quality, gluten, lactose, trans-fat and peanut-free bakery items tailored for people with Celiac disease," [said Bill Gisel, Rich's president and chief executive officer.]

In time this should make gluten-free products available to more people in more places. When I remember back to 1978 and how few dairy-free products I could find, I cheer at any increase in quality goods for those of us with special diets.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Buttermilk: Cultured and Low-Lactose

The Internet is a strange place. Here it is February 6 and I find an article online, copied from my local paper and dated February 7, that isn't available yet from my local paper.

The article is on buttermilk, the modern version.

Buttermilk used to be a totally different product than the one found on store shelves today. The new buttermilk is cultured with bacteria that work on it somewhat like the ones in yogurt do. They look like this:
Remember, you want them inside you. Really.

And from the article, some basic answers to basic questions.

Question: Why is it called buttermilk?

Answer: True buttermilk is the liquid that is left after cream is churned into butter, explains Marcia Swingle, a "foodways interpreter" at Genesee Country (N.Y.) Village Museum, who demonstrates 19th-century buttermaking at the Mumford museum there.

Q: Does today's cultured buttermilk taste different from sweet cream buttermilk made the traditional way?

A: Yes. Mac McCampbell, chief operating officer at Oatka Milk Products Cooperative Inc., says sweet cream buttermilk is similar to milk but is much richer.

Q: Why can't consumers find old-fashioned sweet cream buttermilk anymore?

A: Consolidation in the dairy industry in the 1950s and 1960s turned old-fashioned buttermilk into the stuff of nostalgia, explains David Brown, a Cornell University food scientist and dairy expert.

Once processing was brought to larger plants at centralized locations, buttermilk's perishability (its shelf life was only a few days) became problematic, Brown says.

Q: How is cultured buttermilk made?

A: Cultured buttermilk starts with pasteurized milk. Then a bacterial culture mix is added to room-temperature milk and allowed to incubate for several hours. Salt is often added for flavor.

Q: What are cultured buttermilk's nutritional qualities?

A: Like regular milk, buttermilk is rich in calcium, vitamins D and A and protein. Some people who are lactose-intolerant might find buttermilk easier to digest than regular milk because some of the lactose has been converted to lactic acid.

A caution, here. Just because buttermilk is cultured doesn't mean that you can gulp it down without thinking. Test smaller quantities first to see if you tolerate it well before going for a glassful.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Sheese Vegan Cheese Alternative

A few months back, Scott Meyers gave me a heads-up to let me know that his company would soon be importing the soy-based vegan cheese alternative called Sheese.

That day is here. A few selected stores in Seattle, Portland, Boulder, and Tempe have it on their shelves but I suspect that most of you will go to for easy ordering.

Their Sheese page has the following information:

Imported from Scotland, Sheese is a delicious alternative to dairy-based cheese that’s firm in texture and is by far the best eat-straight-from-the-package vegan cheese we’ve ever tried. It can also be used in many recipes, too – it takes a bit longer to melt than other vegan cheeses due to the firmness, but it works extremely well in just about any recipe you use. Enjoy slices on crackers (the smoked cheddar is phenomenal all by itself!), baked on macaroni, topping pizza or anything else you miss traditional dairy cheese on. Available in 7 flavors – Gouda, Mozzarella, Blue, Cheddar & Chives, Hickory Smoked Cheddar, Strong Cheddar and Medium Cheddar. 8 oz. (227g) blocks are $9.95 each.

VeganEssentials, as befits its name, has a wide selection of other dairy alternatives for vegans, which means that they'd be perfect for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies as well.

In a quick search I found kosher vegan instant creamer, soymilks, vegan whipped cream, vegan chocolates, and non-dairy ranch dressing. Gluten-free products are also available.

Thanks to Scott. And let me and him know what you think when you try them.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

New Silk Soymilks

Silk is joining the world of enhanced "functional" products with its new soymilks. Functional food is a buzzword for products that have had fancy new nutrients added to them.

According to the press release:

Silk today announced it is introducing two new creamy, delicious varieties of soymilk - Silk Plus Omega-3 DHA with Martek's life'sDHA and Silk Plus Fiber. Both new varieties offer nutritionally dense and very smart solutions by incorporating all the vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy soy protein of regular Silk, plus added fiber or Omega-3 DHA.

Research indicates most Americans consume only about half of their recommended daily fiber. Silk Plus Fiber not only combines the same creamy vanilla flavor and powerful nutrition consumers love, it also contains five grams of fiber per serving - as much as a large apple or bowl of oatmeal. Silk Plus Fiber is a smart, daily choice for optimum digestive health, and provides 6.25 grams of soy protein and five grams of fiber per eight ounce serving.

Silk Plus Omega-3 DHA with life'sDHA™ has all the goodness of milk - Calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin A - plus heart-healthy soy protein and life'sDHA™ - a 100% vegetarian and sustainably derived source of Omega-3 DHA. Omega-3 DHA has been linked to a wide range of important health benefits, including brain, eye and cardiovascular health, and there is a large and growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that people of all ages, from infants to aging adults, can benefit from an adequate supply of DHA omega-3 in the diet.

"Silk has always delivered great-tasting, high-quality soy products to health-minded consumers," said Doug Radi, Silk's Director of Marketing. "By introducing Silk Plus Omega-3 DHA with life'sDHA™ and Silk Plus Fiber, we continue to meet their needs and provide even better choices that fit into their healthy lifestyles."

As with all Silk soymilks, the Silk Plus line is lactose-free, dairy-free and cholesterol-free and is fortified with calcium. Beginning in February 2007, Silk Plus Omega-3 DHA and Silk Plus Fiber will be available in half-gallon sizes at supermarkets and natural food stores nationwide.

You can go to their webpage, for more information about the Silk line of products.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

National Dairy Council Report Says That African-Americans Need More Dairy

The Journal of the American Dietetic Association is a prestige publication. I've used many of its articles over the years as sources of information.

So when a new report (Dairy Consumption and Related Nutrient Intake in African-American Adults and Children in the United States: Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals 1994-1996, 1998, and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2000, by Fulgoni III V, Nicholls J, Reed A, Buckley R, Kafer K, Huth P, Dirienzo D, Miller GD, JADA, Volume 107, Issue 2, Pages 256-264 (February 2007) comes out that says that:

African Americans in all age groups have lower average intakes of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and consume fewer servings of dairy foods than non African Americans. African Americans in all age groups do not meet the 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommendation for three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or milk products.

I listen.

The press release is emphatic about the need.
"Researchers continue to monitor populations that are at risk for nutrient deficiencies. In reviewing the science for this report, it was evident that African Americans are missing out on nutrients key to a well-balanced diet," said Greg Miller, Ph.D., a report author and executive vice president of science and research at the National Dairy Council. "We hope this report will remind African Americans to consume nutrient-rich dairy foods everyday as part of a healthy diet. In fact, studies show dairy intake improves overall diet quality; contributes to better bone health; and may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, hypertension, kidney stones, colon cancer and obesity."

Health professionals continue to recognize the benefits of milk, cheese and yogurt as part of a healthy diet, which together provide nine essential nutrients including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, niacin (niacin equivalents) and vitamins A, D and B12. "It is important for all Americans to follow the Dietary Guidelines, including three servings of dairy everyday," said Albert Morris, M.D., president of the National Medical Association (NMA), the largest and oldest national organization representing Black physicians and their patients in the United States.

The reason for African-Americans avoiding dairy is obvious. The great majority are lactose intolerant.

Oddly, however, the vast majority of African-Americans consider themselves to be exceptions:
A consensus report from the NMA, The Role of Dairy and Dairy Nutrients in the Diet of African Americans, reported that only 24 percent of African Americans believe themselves to be lactose intolerant. [Wooten, W, et. al. The Role of Dairy and Dairy Nutrients in the Diet of African Americans. Journal of National Medical Association. 2004; 96(12):20S-24S.]

So why the low consumption of dairy? I don't know and the press release doesn't explain.

Calcium is available from a number of other foods than dairy, to be sure. I mention some sources in the post More calcium for teens and my LI Links on my website has several links to sites that contain lists of calcium-rich non-dairy foods.

Dairy is still the most concentrated source of good calcium, as well as a food that most people will eat regularly. If you can have dairy it is good for you.

Whatever source you use for calcium - even supplements are better than no calcium - make sure you get your daily requirement. As I said last April, Take Calcium. Every Day. Forever. I meant it then and I mean it now.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Milk + Beer = Bilk

I know, I know. It sounds like an Onion headline.

But it's real, even if it's not coming to a supermarket near you anytime soon.

Unless you happen to be reading this from mainland China.

An article in the Mainichi Daily News reports that a brewery in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido, developed a novel way of using the surplus milk that had been plaguing the town.

The idea for the drink was conceived after dairy firms threw out a huge amount of surplus milk in March last year. The son of the manager of a liquor store in Nakashibetsu, whose main industry is dairy farming, suggested the idea of producing the milk beer to local brewery Abashiri Beer.


Since milk has a low boiling point, the brewery took care to control the temperature during the boiling process so the milk wouldn't boil over. After they put beer yeast and hops into the drink and began the fermentation process, the beverage looked and smelled like tea with milk. However, when fermentation was complete and the drink cooled down, it had the same color as beer.

Since one-third of the drink is milk, the drink has been viewed as a good way to use up milk in the town. The drink got the thumbs-up from 30-year-old resident Kaori Takahashi, who took part in a tasting session.

"It's got a fruity taste, so it will probably go well with sweets as well," she said.

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