Multiple Solutions For People Who Are Lactose Intolerant

68% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, and in Asia most people have lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the lactose in milk. This results in diarrhea and bloating after consuming dairy products. Lactose intolerance is caused when you have a deficiency of lactase in your body. Lactase is an enzyme produced in your small intestine, and is required to digest lactose. Typically, lactase turns lactose into glucose and galactose, which then gets absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal lining. If you’re lactase deficient, lactose moves into your colon instead of being processed and absorbed, and then interacts with bacteria. The interaction between lactose and bacteria (that occurs in the colon) is what causes the symptoms of lactose intolerance like diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and bloating. These symptoms are annoying at best, and very painful at its worst, and almost 68% of people have lactose intolerance, so finding a solution would be very useful.

There are several solutions available for relieving pain caused by lactose intolerance. For example, taking probiotics like Jarro-Dophilus can help cure lactose intolerance. Jarro-Dophilus is a probiotic that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Taking probiotics is one of many good ways to significantly increase your bifidobacterium levels which can help your digestive system, prevent infection, avoid diseases, and produce vitamins. Biotagen is also a probiotic that could cure lactose intolerance. To get the best results, start with a small dose and gradually increase the dosage in order to circumvent any unwanted side effects. Additionally, you should eat a couple spoons of full-fat yogurt every day. This will help introduce beneficial bacteria into your gut. These beneficial bacteria act as effective lactose metabolizers. You should slowly increase the amount of yogurt you eat, and you will eventually be able to eat multiple servings of dairy every day. Once your body is fine with eating the yogurt, you should try diversifying your dairy intake. Your next step should be eating full-fat hard cheeses since they contain a lot of calcium, vitamin K2 and are very low in lactose. One ounce of hard cheese contains approximately a third of the recommended intake of calcium. When you become more tolerant of dairy products, you can try food with higher amounts of lactose like milk, soft cheeses, and cream.

Another solution to lactose intolerance is taking lactase enzyme tablets. These tablets can be taken before consuming dairy products, or mixed into liquid dairy products like milk. According to a 2010 study in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, lactase tablets had a much better effect of relieving lactose intolerant people compared to probiotics. This study (10-day study with 60 adults) showed that a single lactase tablet taken 15 minutes before a meal, was able to do a better job of normalizing lactose metabolization than 15 days of using probiotics. Lactase tablets are very easy to find, as they are OTC (Over the counter) tablets.

A solution I’ve seen on the internet often is GM cows. GM cows are genetically modified cows whose milk doesn't contain lactose. which can trigger allergic reactions among humans. This means that GM cows are able to help/cure lactose intolerance. Additionally, GM cows are genetically modified to generate human antibodies, proteins that combat pathogens, made by the biotech company SAB Biotherapeutics. Inconclusive Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are identified as species (plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been manipulated in a certain manner that does not happen through natural activities like mating or natural recombination. By using this technology and implementing it to animals, people with lactose intolerance are now able to drink milk with the aid of GM cows, and won't suffer the consequences of drinking normal milk.

The solutions I have provided above come with some disadvantages. There are many factors to keep in mind when finding a solution to a problem. For example, economical factors. In Apotik Melawai, I found a container of 60 pills of Jarro Dophilus for 400,000. This equates to less than 7,000 IDR for a tablet. Assuming the consumer will take 3 tablets a day before each meal, they will spend 21,000 IDR a day, 147,000 IDR a week, 588,000 IDR a month, 7,655,000 IDR a year. The upfront price may seem cheap, but it’s quite expensive to pay 588,000 IDR a month. This pill can be made more economical for the masses by lowering production cost and using a more effective mode of transportation that costs less.

Another factor I need to consider is environmental factors. The plastic sheet that pills are sold in is rated 9 on the back. This means they cannot be recycled, and all recycling plants will reject this piece of plastic. It will go to a landfill, and stay there for around 1000+ years. This is very bad for the environment, and pieces of plastic trash can float around in the ocean and get stuck on various ocean life and can even kill them. The manufacturing process for pills, capsules, and tablets are done in a factory that produces a lot of smoke. This smoke is very bad for the environment, it releases toxic fumes that can affect the Earth’s soil, destroying the fertility of the soil, decreasing crop productivity, and can even contaminate the food harvested by those crops. This smoke can also affect us, as humans. We also face a greater risk of becoming sick when factory produced smoke is in the air. These factories (illegally) dump contaminated water, chemicals, gases, and heavy metals into major waterways causing a lot of damage to marine life.

In conclusion, there are multiple solutions for people who are lactose intolerant, and still want to enjoy dairy products. These solutions also have pros and cons, but the pros outweigh the cons. When answering the question “Is biotechnology a threat or a savior to society?” I think biotechnology is a savior, because in the medical realm, biotechnology can do things we never imagined were possible like curing Zika or Ebola virus.   

16 December 2021
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