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Randomized Controlled Trial
. Mar-Apr 2014;12(2):134-41.
doi: 10.1370/afm.1618.

Effect of Raw Milk on Lactose Intolerance: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

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Free PMC article
Randomized Controlled Trial

Effect of Raw Milk on Lactose Intolerance: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

Sarah Mummah et al. Ann Fam Med. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Purpose: This pilot study aimed to determine whether raw milk reduces lactose malabsorption and/or lactose intolerance symptoms relative to pasteurized milk.

Methods: We performed a crossover trial involving 16 adults with self-reported lactose intolerance and lactose malabsorption confirmed by hydrogen (H2) breath testing. Participants underwent 3, 8-day milk phases (raw vs 2 controls: pasteurized, soy) in randomized order separated by 1-week washout periods. On days 1 and 8 of each phase, milk consumption was 473 mL (16 oz); on days 2 to 7, milk dosage increased daily by 118 mL (4 oz), beginning with 118 mL (4 oz) on day 2 and reaching 710 mL (24 oz) on day 7. Outcomes were area under the breath H2 curve (AUC H2) and self-reported symptom severity (visual analog scales: flatulence/gas, audible bowel sounds, abdominal cramping, diarrhea).

Results: AUC H2 (mean ± standard error of the mean) was higher for raw vs pasteurized on day 1 (113 ± 21 vs 71 ± 12 ppm·min·10(-2), respectively, P = .01) but not day 8 (72 ± 14 vs 74 ± 15 ppm·min·10(-2), respectively, P = .9). Symptom severities were not different for raw vs pasteurized on day 7 with the highest dosage (P >.7). AUC H2 and symptom severities were higher for both dairy milks compared with soy milk.

Conclusions: Raw milk failed to reduce lactose malabsorption or lactose intolerance symptoms compared with pasteurized milk among adults positive for lactose malabsorption. These results do not support widespread anecdotal claims that raw milk reduces the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Keywords: adult; dairy products; lactose intolerance; soy milk.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Milk dosage protocol and outcome measures for each 8-day milk phase: full amount of milk was consumed in 1 sitting on each day. HBT = hydrogen breath test; Symptoms = self-reported severity of 4 symptoms: flatulence/gas, diarrhea, audible bowel sounds, and abdominal cramping.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Breath H2 results for 63 participants with self-reported lactose intolerance (mean ± SEM). H2 = hydrogen; SEM = standard error of the mean. Note: of 63 participants, 27 (43%) tested positive for lactose malabsorption, as evidenced by a rise in H2 ≥25 ppm, and 36 (57%) tested negative.
Figure 3a
Figure 3a
Breath H2 results for day 1 of each 8-day crossover phase (n = 16) (mean ± SEM). H2 = hydrogen; SEM = standard error of the mean. Note: End-alveolar air samples collected before and at 12 consecutive 20-minute intervals after ingestion of 473 mL (16 oz) of milk.
Figure 3b
Figure 3b
Breath H2 results for day 8 of each 8-day crossover phase (n = 14) (mean ± SEM). H2 = hydrogen; SEM = standard error of the mean. Note: End-alveolar air samples collected before and at 12 consecutive 20-minute intervals after ingestion of 473 mL (16 oz) of milk. All data for 2 participants who did not undergo the day-8 hydrogen breath test during one of the milk phases were omitted from this analysis.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Lactose intolerance symptom severity report following ingestion of 710 mL (24 oz) of milk on day 7 of each 8-day crossover phase (n = 13) (mean ± SEM). Note: Visual analog scale: 0 = no symptoms, 10 = unbearably severe symptoms. All data for 3 participants who were unable to complete one of the 710 mL (24 oz) doses were omitted from this analysis.

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