Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Health Library Home>Natural & Alternative Treatments>Conditions>Article

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is stomach and intestinal upset in people who cannot digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance can cause cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

It can be managed with dietary changes and medicine. Some people turn to natural therapies to help manage symptoms.

Natural Therapies

May Be Effective

These supplements may ease symptoms:

  • Prebiotics are compounds in food that help healthy microorganisms to grow.A4
  • Probiotics are healthy microorganisms.A1-A3, A6
  • Tilactase is a lactase enzyme supplement.A1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.

 

References

Herbs and Supplements

A1. Ojetti V, Gigante G, et al. The effect of oral supplementation with Lactobacillus reuteri or tilactase in lactose intolerant patients: randomized trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2010;14(3):163-170.

A2. Vitellio P, Celano G, et al. Effects of Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus on Gut Microbiota in Patients with Lactose Intolerance and Persisting Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Cross-Over Study. Nutrients. 2019 Apr 19;11(4). pii: E886.

A3. Pakdaman MN, Udani JK, et al. The effects of the DDS-1 strain of lactobacillus on symptomatic relief for lactose intolerance - a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial. Nutr J. 2016 May 20;15(1):56.

A4. Savaiano DA, Ritter AJ, et al. Improving lactose digestion and symptoms of lactose intolerance with a novel galacto-oligosaccharide (RP-G28): a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Nutr J. 2013 Dec 13;12:160.

A5. Shaukat A, Levitt MD, et al. Systematic review: effective management strategies for lactose intolerance. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Jun 15;152(12):797-803.

A6. Levri KM, Ketvertis K, et al. Do probiotics reduce adult lactose intolerance? A systematic review. J Fam Pract. 2005 Jul;54(7):613-620.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/8/2020