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 However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.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, April 16, 2008

Stomach Gas? Not From Lactose.

I thought The Independent was supposed to be one of Britain's better papers. Apparently the dread and mysterious brain illness that affects everyone who writes about health and nutrition in the UK has infiltrated even the highest levels of journalism. And medicine.

Dr. Fred Kavalier, a real live experienced geneticist, answers the inquiries in the paper's A Question of Health column.

Last summer I developed pain and discomfort just below the rib-cage and started producing large amounts of stomach gas... Nine months on the symptoms are still there. My GP seems baffled. Any suggestions on what is wrong and how to cure it?

You could be lactose intolerant. Lactose is the natural sugar that is present in milk products. People who are lactose intolerant cannot digest it because they are lacking an enzyme called lactase, which breaks lactose down into glucose and galactose. Undigested lactose ferments in the stomach, causing a build-up of gas.

It's hard to translate medical terminology and specialist jargon for the public. Sometimes the temptation to make things simpler than they ought to be is irresistible.

But lactose ferments in the stomach? Really? You think anybody would be confused if you said, correctly, large intestine instead? Or colon. Either one will do. Most people have heard the words before.

Stomach is flat wrong. True stomach gas will produce heartburn and comes from an entirely different set of foods and ailments than lactose intolerance, and must be attacked with different medications.

Confusion is already ripe in the world. Why add more?

Or don't you really know the different, Dr. Fred?

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