In addition to the DNA test for lactose, there are many other ways to test for lactose intolerance. What are these methods, how effective they are, what tests to pass for their passage, and in what cases they can be prescribed.
Why are dairy products not digestible?
The main active ingredient in all dairy products, which causes problems with their absorption, is lactose. And the main enzyme of the body, which promotes its assimilation, is consonantly called lactase. From childhood, if there is no congenital intolerance to milk, all children equally normally assimilate dairy products. But, with age, the production of the enzyme lactase may decrease, so that it will not be enough for the assimilation of milk, or lactase may not be produced at all by the body.
Symptoms Indicating Lactose Deficiency
Poor milk absorption can often be confused with milk allergy. Allergy symptoms are different: difficulty in breathing, nasal discharge, tearfulness, rash. Allergies can arise from a very small amount of a product containing an allergen, and the use of all milk, in this case, is completely prohibited. With intolerance, there is no such complete prohibition.
Poor digestion symptoms:
- Bloating, gurgling, colic.
- Belching and gas.
- Stool disorders, vomiting.
- In some cases, pain in the abdomen or intestines.
The onset of symptoms takes from half an hour to two hours after eating. The symptoms themselves and their progressiveness depend on the ratio of consumed dairy products and the lack of lactase for its assimilation, respectively.
Diagnosis of the disease
Usually, the diagnosis of poor lactose absorption is made by the doctor based on the symptoms voiced by the patient. But, in case of doubt, additional studies can be assigned.
Methods for determining lactose intolerance:
- Stool acidity analysis – the method consists in examining a sample of the patient’s feces, and the acidity is within normal limits, this means that milk is absorbed normally.
- Research for the presence of hydrogen.
- The tolerance test is a slightly longer and inconvenient test for the patient than the method above. Also, on an empty stomach, a person is allowed to drink a liquid containing lactose, and blood is taken several times, every half hour after consumption. If over time there is no increase in blood sugar, this proves that milk is poorly absorbed. Accordingly, if there is a decrease in this level, then milk is assimilated normally.
- Intestine biopsy. Not the most pleasant procedure, but at the same time giving an accurate result. It is rarely used.
- Load test is simple and a little risky testing. Risky, if there is an undetected allergy. The bottom line is to drink a glass of milk on an empty stomach and spend some time under the supervision of doctors.
- Genetic test for lactose intolerance – detects the presence of genes responsible for the production of lactase in the body and their condition.
- And perhaps the most unpleasant and not at all obligatory analysis is the study of the gastrointestinal tract using an endoscope inserted through the oral cavity.
A study aimed at collecting data and comparing glucose (sugar) and lactose levels. The subject drinks a penny liquid containing lactose on an empty stomach. And for a period of time, blood samples are taken from him. The samples are analyzed and such a schedule is drawn up. If the lactase line does not exceed the glucose line, then conclusions are drawn about the deficiency of the lactase enzyme.
Small intestine biopsy
One of the outdated methods of testing food digestibility. It consists of the fact that a small section of the small intestine is selected and its sample is taken, which is further examined. The technique is traumatic and is prescribed less and less – it is not prescribed to children at all.
Analysis of feces for carbon
This analysis is mainly prescribed to infants as the safest research method. And it is on infants that the most accurate results are obtained. Before taking the analysis, it is recommended not to change the daily diet of the baby, but to transfer the sample to the laboratory no later than 4 hours from the moment it was taken.
The sample is examined for the presence of a percentage of carbohydrates. If the carbohydrate content is from 0.25% to 0.5%, then this is within the normal range. For an infant, the rate can be up to 1%.
Breathing hydrogen test
It is believed that of all tests, the study for the presence of hydrogen is the most accurate. The test method consists in drinking a specially prepared liquid containing lactose, and after a while breathes into a special device. If the device detects hydrogen exhaled by a person, then this 100% confirms problems with absorption. Attention! The analysis is performed on an empty stomach.
Another method for determining problems with the assimilation of fermented milk products in children. Just as with the analysis of stool in infants, you must follow the usual diet before taking a sample. It is necessary to hand over the sample to the laboratory no later than 12 hours from the moment of its receipt.
The biomaterial is analyzed for acidity. It is believed that if the acidity level is exceeded, this is a consequence of the fermentation of undigested lactose.
Urine lactose test
The test is not very accurate, but in order to dispel your doubts, it is quite like. The test is done at home and is similar to the pregnancy test. Litmus test paper is wetted in urine and takes on a certain color. The color value must be determined using a special scale.
Blood and urine tests
When it comes to the study of blood and urine, then this is an analysis of the content of galactose, a by-product of the breakdown of lactose. In the beginning, a control blood sample is taken from the patient to determine the normal level of galactose, after which they are given a special mixture, and after certain time samples are taken for analysis again.
In what cases a study is prescribed
Testing for intolerance may be prescribed in the following cases:
- For young children with bowel problems.
- If there are obvious symptoms of intolerance.
- To determine the risks of developing osteoporosis.
- With a comprehensive study of the gastrointestinal tract in adults.
A genetic marker is a gene whose position on the chromosome is precisely known. The main gene responsible for the absorption of lactose by the human body is called MCM6 and it is this gene that is investigated during genetic testing. Although the gene itself is not directly involved in the production of lactose, it affects the LAK gene, which is directly involved.
Genetically related lactose intolerance
Modern medicine allows you to cure all the reasons for poor absorption of fermented milk products, except for genetically determined disorders. All that remains is to choose where to take the DNA test, which test gives the best results and exactly follows the instructions of the doctors.
It should be noted that genetically most people (about 80% of humanity) lose their ability to absorb lactose well over the years, and the remaining 20% are mutants of sorts. However, the loss of all milk from the diet requires the replenishment of other nutrients that it contains through the use of multivitamins.
But, in the use of multivitamins, there is also a downside: some vitamins and minerals can accumulate, and their incorrect dosage can lead to excess and undesirable consequences.
DNA testing is great for accurately diagnosing a problem. Genome analysis will allow you to accurately determine how the body produces lactase: fully, partially, or not at all.