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Raw milk and lactose intolerance. Why might it help?

October 22, 2021

I was misinformed. At some point, I read that raw milk contains lactase. As it turns out, this is not true!

It is true that raw milk contains many live enzymes that are inactivated during pasteurization. 

It contains the protease enzyme, which aids in the digestion of protein. It contains the lipase enzyme, which aids in the digestion of fat. It contains the phosphatase enzyme, which decreases inflammation and reduces the risk of heart disease and Type-2 diabetes. And, there are numerous other examples.

But, what about lactase? Lactase is a specific enzyme that’s necessary to break down lactose, milk sugar.

When a baby is born, it naturally produces lots and lots of lactase in its intestines, which is used to break down breast milk. But, as that human gets older and older, it naturally produces less and less lactase.

Lactose intolerance is when a person either produces none or not enough lactase. They are unable to fully digest lactose, which typically leads to bloating, diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and other uncomfortable side effects.

The mainstream medical solution to this is supplementing with an artificial lactase enzyme or drinking Lactaid or other lactose-free dairy products, which have added artificial lactase enzymes.

I’ve heard many anecdotal stories from people who are lactose intolerant... but can handle raw milk. If raw milk doesn’t contain lactase, then why is that?

Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria that aid your body in producing lactase and breaking down lactose in the intestinal tract. Amazing!

These Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria bacteria are nonexistent in pasteurized milk, since heating the milk to 145F kills all living microorganisms.

Keep in mind that these effects may take time. If a lactose intolerant person drinks raw milk, they may still have issues at first. This is one big reason that it’s recommended to introduce raw milk slowly.

Going back thousands of years, humans developed lactase persistent genes through natural selection. This allowed them to digest dairy into adulthood and to live in colder climates, consuming dairy in the colder months when forageable foods were unavailable.

So, this makes me wonder, with the popularity of pasteurized and lactose-free dairy in the past 100 years, are we selectively breeding out the lactase persistent genes? 

This is why the Miller’s Bio Farm tagline is “Inspiring Healthy Generations”. It’s not just about your health now, but the health of the future generations to come.

Can you handle raw milk but not pasteurized or vice versa? I’d love to hear your story. Contact us or join the conversation below (no account required!).

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Marie Reedell

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