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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Lactose Does What?

I despair about getting accurate information about milk in general and lactose specifically out to the general public when members of the medical profession profess versions of reality I am not familiar with.

The National Website of Wales featured an article about a debate to be held on the value of milk by "Two eminent Welsh professors - both from Cardiff University's School of Medicine."

One of them, Peter Elwood, talks about studies that have been done on long-term effects of drinking milk, something one would think was within his specialty of epidemiology.

There have been 13 major studies throughout the world which provide evidence about milk drinking, heart disease and stroke – these state that there is a 15% to 20% reduction in the incidence of heart disease and stroke in people who drink milk.


Drinking milk raises cholesterol by a very small amount, far smaller than most people seem to imagine, but it also lowers blood pressure. Those who focus on milk and cholesterol only are ignoring the effect it can have on blood pressure and possibly other factors that we don’t yet know about.


Another condition, which has become a very hot topic, is the metabolic syndrome. It is important because it predicts heart disease quite strongly and diabetes very strongly.

There are four studies throughout the world to look at this and milk drinking and again they show a substantial reduction in metabolic syndrome in people who drink the most milk – that’s quite convincing.

Unfortunately there are only two studies to look at diabetes and milk consumption but both show a reduction in diabetes in people who drink the most milk.

The conditions which are responsible for more than half of deaths show a beneficial effect from drinking milk.

There is also very, very good evidence that milk drinking is associated with a reduction in colon cancer – the second most common form of cancer.

Against this evidence is the report from Tony Campbell, a medical biochemist:
It’s commonly believed that lactose intolerance causes problems like gas, constipation and diarrhoea, but it can also bring about a whole range of problems like migraines, chronic fatigue, eczema, hay fever, and muscle and joint pains.

We have hundreds of patients who didn’t know these troubles until they came to us and they changed the way they managed their conditions.

We now have a genetic test that judges how sensitive people are.

If you are sensitive to lactose, what happens is that when it reaches the bacteria in your intestine, it breaks down, generating gases, which are what causes the distension.

But they also create toxins, which are absorbed into the body, causing a whole range of problems.

This is the really revolutionary part of our research.

Anthony K. "Tony" Campbell is a legitimate researcher and has published articles on lactose intolerance in legitimate medical journals. You find his name familiar. I did a post on Tony's Lactose Free Cookbook last year. He and co-author Stephanie B Matthews have a little self-publishing empire on LI, including a pamphlet called "The hundred commonly asked questions in the lactose intolerance clinic," which I would love to get my hands on.

Unfortunately, that book still reads available 2006 with no other information. And also unfortunately, I can find no evidence of a working genetic test for sensitivity in any of Prof. Campbell's articles. The closest lies in "Systemic lactose intolerance: a new perspective on an old problem," by S B Matthews, J P Waud, A G Roberts and A K Campbell, Postgraduate Medical Journal 2005;81:167-173.
Two polymorphisms, C/T13910 and G/A22018, linked to hypolactasia, correlate with breath hydrogen and symptoms after lactose. This, with a 48 hour record of gut and systemic symptoms and a six hour breath hydrogen test, provides a new approach to the clinical management of lactose intolerance.

I don't know who is doing this test or what kind of sensitivity it talks about.

And even weirder, I don't understand where the research comes from that blames lactose for a range of symptoms always associated with cow's milk protein allergy, a totally different ailment.

I'm confused, and as always when I'm confused, I'll try to dig deeper and give you a better idea of the real situation.

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