Lactose Intolerance and Gluten Intolerance are increasing gastrointestinal diseases among children.
1) Lactose intolerance
The milk sugar lactose is digested by infants and children by the enzyme, beta, glucosidase, and lactase. Lactose is supposed to enhance calcium absorption in children. However, the activity of this enzyme decreases in babies and in adults also which results in a poor tolerance of milk. Lactose intolerance deficiency is increasing day by day among infants.
Lactose intolerance can lead to bloating, cramps, flatulence, and diarrhea after taking milk or any dairy product.
Small quantities of dairy food with 10-15 grams of lactose can be taken, rather than large amounts at one time. Lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk, cheese, and ice cream are easily available in the market.
2) Gluten intolerance (Celiac Disease)
Celiac disease often called gluten-sensitive, non-tropical sprue is caused by a reaction to gliadin (gluten). The resulting damage to the villi of the intestinal mucosa is the actual malabsorption of virtually all nutrients.
The most common symptoms in children 6 months to 3 years of age are diarrhea, growth failure, vomiting, a bloated abdomen, and stools that are abnormal in appearance, odor, and quantity. They may also suffer from anemia and osteopenic bone disease.
In gluten-free diets, wheat, oat, rye, and barley are excluded. Products made from corn, potato, rice, soybeans, tapioca, arrowroot, amaranth seeds, or flower and millets can be included in the diet. Gluten-free products are easily available in the market.
Parents should aware, they should check properly before purchasing that product or food on food packaging, it should be claimed as gluten-free, or check the list of ingredients if they are gluten-free by default or not and where the product is manufactured.
Important: Always consult your pediatrician to make an informed decision about continuing dairy products or switching to alternatives.