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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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, January 24, 2008

Huge News! Lactase Drops Return to U.S.

Lactase is the enzyme that digests lactose. Virtually all humans make lactase at birth so that they can digest the lactose in breastmilk. Starting at about three, the age of normal weaning, humans, like almost every other mammal, naturally stop producing lactase. It's just not needed.

Not having lactase results in lactose intolerance, the name for having symptoms when you drink or eat any dairy product that contains lactose, which is most of them.

Wouldn't it be great if scientists could figure out a way to artificially manufacture lactase?

Back in the 1970s, a Dutch company named Gist-Brocades did exactly that. Along the way they discovered something fascinating and important. It all has to do with digestion.

The human stomach is highly acidic. Hydrochloric acid is produced to help digest and break down food. Stomach acid could burn holes in your shirt if it leaked out.

Lactase is made in the small intestine, under conditions that are far less acidic. In fact, if you swallow lactase it won't work. The stomach acid will destroy it.

So the first product that Gist-Brocade made was a lactase that was designed to be put directly into milk. Milk is less acid than the stomach, so if you just let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or two, the lactase would break down all the lactose, making it safe to drink.

It took several years and much tinkering to come up with a form of lactase that could withstand the acid in stomachs and several more before a lactase pill entered the American market. Lactaid introduced the lactase pill in 1984 and the lactose intolerance rejoiced. (I sure did.)

For many years, Lactaid, its competitor Dairy Ease, and other firms made both lactase pills and a liquid lactase that could be dropped into milk or other liquid or soft dairy products. Lactase drops never took off in the marketplace. Americans love convenience and immediate gratification. I eventually had to break the bad news to Americans that the only way to get lactase drops was to import them from Canada. Gelda Scientific, the firm that made the lactase for the Canadian brand Lacteeze, graciously worked with me to make contact information available. See my Lactase Drops page (now revised, obviously) to order them

And that was it.

Until this week, when I received an email from Brian C. He gave me the amazing news that he could get liquid lactase drops from the online store of
IBS Treatment Center in Seattle, Washington
or The Center for Food Allergies, same address.

Liquid Lactase is the only liquid source of lactase available and is appropriate for anyone with lactose intolerance, including infants. This dropper bottle is the perfect solution at home and on the go for alleviating digestive problems associated with lactose intolerance. Lactase is an enzyme that hydrolyses (breaks down) the lactose in milk and milk products into glucose and galactose, two forms of simple sugars that can be digested and tolerated by lactose intolerant individuals. Liquid Lactase can be taken directly or added to dairy products prior to consumption.

Liquid Lactase Drops contains: 15 milliliters of lactase in solution. Non-active ingredients: purified water and glycerol.

Suggested Dosage: General guideline: Add five drops of Liquid Lactase to one pint (568 ml) of milk and refrigerate for 24 hours. Use as ordinary milk. Each 15 ml bottle is able to convert approximately 75 pints of milk. Alternatively, five drops can be taken directly in water or juice prior to consumption of dairy products.

Liquid Lactase Drops: $14.95

Do they work? Brian said:
We have used them to successfully treat milk (it tastes better to me than Lactaid milk), buttermilk, yogurt, and even cream cheese. ... My fiancée is extremely sensitive to lactose, and we have found this stuff to be amazing. She doesn't have any problem eating or drinking foods treated properly.

Some investigation found that these drops are made by Pharmax LLC.
Pharmax LLC, a privately owned company, was established in 1998 as a strategic alliance between highly experienced American healthcare professionals and Cultech Limited, the prime nutritional supplement development and manufacturing company in the U.K. Cultech is the market-leading provider of research-driven nutraceuticals to healthcare professionals in U.K and within Europe as a whole.

Pharmax Liquid Lactase is not limited to Seattle. I found it on for $11.30 a bottle.

Other outlets may exist that I haven't found yet. As always, I am not endorsing either the product or the sellers, just passing along information.

While I was searching, though, I found lactase drops in other countries as well so I'll list several here for completeness.


Lactaid Drops for Milk.


Lacteeze Drops

United Kingdom.

BioCare Lactase Enzyme.

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Martin Johns said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve Carper said...

I've temporarily removed the comment because the site mentioned has no reviews at all of lactase drops, just regular lactase, so I'm concerned you were just advertising another site.

If I'm wrong and lactase drops are there, please give the exact URL for me to examine.

Anonymous said...

Steve do you have any additional info regarding what percentage of lactose these drops remove if use as directed? I noticed another mfg said something about 80% reduction - just wondered if this particular brand can give us closer to 100% reduction. Have you heard of anyone else buying this yet? I'd like to know more before I take the plunge. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

PS: Could you possibly ask Brian C how many drops they found were truly effective for his extremely lactose intolerance fiancee? Details like that would be so helpful! :)

Steve Carper said...

The number of drops should be whatever the instructions tell you to use.

Remember that the effect gets stronger with time. If you wait 48 hours, more of the lactose is removed than if you wait 24 hours before drinking the milk. (You shouldn't need to wait more than 48 hours though.)

There's no one right answer for what percent of lactose is removed.

Dr. Stephen Wangen said...

Hi, Dr. Wangen here. It is our co-located clinics that you cite - The IBS Treatment Center and Center for Food Allergies. We have been offering the Pharmax Liquid Lactase since 2005. Like you, I am very committed to solid science and have high confidence in Pharmax. They are ISO 9000 certified (or whichever is the current standard) and have been very responsive when we have had questions about technical issues. Thanks for your clear statements about how liquid lactase works (and what it is not). So many people have a dairy allergy and won't find significant relief just using lactase).

Anonymous said...

I just came upon your blog and it's great. I have 2 questions. First, I notice that instructions for the new lactase liquid is 5 drops/pint and I remember that the Lactaid drops were just about double that. My daughter is very sensitive to lactose and I'm wondering if the two products are equivalent and I should double the drops or if they are different. Secondly, do you know if the lactase liquid is distributed in Israel? I've been sending over Lactaid (from Canada) which has become very expensive and am happy to change over to this new lactase drops but it would be great if she could just get it right there! Thanks. Very long question but I hope you can respond.

Unknown said...

Hi Steve -

Wanted to let you know that we have product reviews for Liquid Lactase.

We also have calculations for how much of it to add which is very useful.

We also offer quantity discounts for customers since this item is used often and is typically purchased again and again due to its effectiveness.

You may find Liquid Lactase here:

In health,
Dr Ben

Anonymous said...

once thw enzyme is added to the milk, is the milk good until the stated expiration or does it have a shortened shelf life?

Steve Carper said...

There is no reason why the milk's life should be shortened at all
just because you've added lactase.

Just be careful to keep it refrigerated as you always would.

Anonymous said...

I am new to the Lactose intolerance. It would be great if there was a conversion table giving the unit (however it is measured) amounts of lactose in different dairy products and a scale of the amount of lactase drops to convert a given unit of lactose over different times. Does this exist?? If we had this tool then we could more easily determine our sensitivity level, not to mention enjoy dairy more easily.

Anonymous said...

As of Oct 2011 the store has replaced the "discontinued" Pharmax liquid drops with a Pharmax powder.

OK... except the power has notoriously-indigestible maltodextrin in it!

Anonymous said...

can lactace tablets be added to milk to break down lactose