Intolerances & Malabsorptions

A malabsorption is the body’s difficulty digesting a particular nutrient.  When the body cannot digest this nutrient at all it is called an “intolerance”.  Many people experience diarrhea as a result of these two conditions. 

Lactose intolerance

One of the most common conditions is lactose intolerance.  Lactose is found in dairy products.  Babies are born with an enzyme in their small intestines that breaks down lactose for digestion.  For many of us, production of this enzyme decreases dramatically after the early childhood years limiting the body’s ability to break down lactose.  This leads to lactose intolerance.  When consumed, lactose reaches the small intestines, is unable to be broken down and is dumped into the bowels causing diarrhea, gas, bloating and cramping.



Malabsorption of certain sugars, fats, proteins or vitamins in food can have a very similar effect as lactose intolerance.  Malabsorption can be a personal condition but is many times cause by a disease or condition.  AIDS, celiac disease, pancreatic cancer, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, parasites and tapeworms have all been know to cause malabsorptions. 


Prevention & Treatment

Prevention and treatment methods for malabsorptions and intolerances will largely depend on the subject of these conditions.  In the case of lactose intolerance, avoiding dairy products will stop the chances of experiencing symptoms.  In addition, taking supplements would replace the vitamins and minerals that a person would normally receive from dairy products.  Malabsorptions are handled in the same way except there has to be a consideration for the cause of the malabsorption.

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