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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Bad Info from the UK

I go away for a week and the world's press is full of articles with dubious information. Coincidence?

As always, the worst offender is to be found from the U.K. This one would be laugable if it weren't so infuriating.

This week dispenser of bad info is Nick Joshi in the Telegraph newspaper.

Here's the question he was asked:

I am 64 and was diagnosed as lactose intolerant three years ago. I have eliminated cow's milk from my diet but, on occasion, I'm still bloated and uncomfortable after eating, so I think the intolerance may be broader than diagnosed.

Two years ago I developed scalp psoriasis, which I find very difficult to control. Are the two conditions linked and is there anything else I should avoid?

I use soy products in place of cow's milk.

Looks straightforward. Gave up milk and replaced it with soy. Still has symptoms which are classic symptoms of an allergic response.

Diagnosis: soy allergy or some other food allergy, right?

Don't be silly.

He still thinks it's lactose intolerance. He does not mention the word allergy even in passing.

This is the unbelievable advice he gives.
Some studies suggest that lactose intolerance is associated with dermatological conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Cite them, please? Cow's milk protein allergy is associated with these symptoms but I know of no studies that says LI is.
Certain medications such as antibiotics, and even iron supplements, can reduce the body's ability to produce lactase, as can the natural ageing process.

Again, no. I know of no studies that says any medications or antibiotics can interfere with the ability to manufacture lactase. He's clearly confusing this with the known effect of antibiotics killing off the "good" bacteria in the colon that digest lactose, a completely different mechanism

Why does he spout this nonsense? Here's a possible clue.

Lactose may not be the only intolerance you have, and a holistic practitioner will be able to work out what kinds of foods your body dislikes.

There are qualified medical doctors who take a holistic approach to the body. This is sensible since the body is a series of interrelated systems.

However, whenever I see the words "holistic practitioner" on the internet, they always seem to be in the context of someone spouting horrendous misinformation about the human body. Be very cautious concerning any purported advice from holistic practitioners. See a qualified doctor instead.

And for pity's sake, stop sending health questions in to U.K. newspaper columnists. You'd be better off consulting a magic eight-ball.

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Anonymous said...

Really a good information about the psoriasis and the treatment that has been taken.It's a very helpful and useful too.I found one of the website that is also have a information about psoriasis and video

Alisa said...

Hi Steve,

You know, we had an article from Foods Matter that a doctor wrote, putting eczema and psoriasis on the list of lactose intolerance symptoms. Not wanting to quote him inaccurately, I left that small part in (near the end of a very well written piece), but I thought this was very odd. He also listed asthmatic symptoms. Both of which seem obvious allergies, not gut reactions. However, I have been coming across this more and more from doctors. I found one case that did link eczema to lactose specifically, though I have found no others. I am wondering if there is any merit or many ignorant doctors out there? -

Steve Carper said...

I decided to take a careful look at this subject, going through PubMed to check on any studies that might offer a connection.

To my surprise, I found that I had been there before. On the news page of my website, sort of an attempt to do this blog before there was any good way to blog, I broadcast the news myself when the study appeared. Ten years ago.

The citation is: Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1997 Aug;113(4):516-8.

"Lactose-intolerance may induce severe chronic eczema," by Grimbacher B, Peters T, Peter HH.

"The primary acquired lactase deficiency of the adult is known to cause various disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract while extraintestinal symptoms are unusual. Here we report on a histologically proven chronic eczema requiring corticosteroid treatment for several months. It was obviously induced by a concomitant lactose intolerance since the introduction of a lactose-free diet led to a complete disappearance of the eczema and allowed the discontinuation of the corticosteroid treatment. As far as we know, this is the first case report of an eczema caused by a lactose intolerance."

And the last. One person.

It's fair to use this cite, therefore, but it doesn't change the fact that Joshi's article is bad science. The overwhelmingly likely explanation for the questioner's symptoms is an allergy. Not mentioning that is sheer quackery.