Last Modified on Jan 19, 2014
Natural treatment for Lactose Intolerance can offer simple and effective ways to soothe symptoms and improve digestion. Home remedies such as raw apple cider vinegar can pH balance the body, while fermented products like kimchi strengthen the digestive system.
What is Lactose Intolerance?
A fairly common condition, lactose intolerance refers to a disorder in which an individual is unable to fully digest the milk sugar, known as lactose, in dairy products. While not typically a dangerous condition, lactose intolerance is often uncomfortable. Most individuals are capable of managing symptoms with diet.
Lactose intolerance symptoms and signs often begin within 30 minutes to two hours of consumption of foods or drinks that contain lactose. While severity of lactose intolerance symptoms typically depends on the amount of lactose consumed, common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or spasms, stomach bloating and flatulence.
Home Remedies for Lactose Intolerance
Most individuals are able to manage the condition with home remedies for lactose intolerance as well as knowledgeable diet choices. Apple cider vinegar helps balance the body and can eradicate lactose intolerance. Additionally, coconut oil and fermented products like kimchi and sauerkraut have good bacteria in them that regulate the digestive system. Raw milk and probiotics are another option that balance the digestive system and may assist in regulating lactose intolerance. Simple avoidance of dairy products also offers relief from symptoms and prevents flares associated with lactose intolerance.
Apple Cider Vinegar
[YEA] 07/07/2010: Janie from Colorado: "My husband has COMPLETELY gotten rid of his severe lactose intolerance by using one tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in his morning water every morning. He also adds a heaping 1/8th tsp baking soda to the ACV, then adds water. But I'm sure it's the ACV that has done the trick. He now eats ice cream and milk products with NO side effects. It's like a miracle. Note that you will need to be diligent with doing this, and give it several weeks before noticing any positive results."Replies
[YEA] 07/08/2010: Anna from Philadelphia, Pa, Usa replies: "Yes! It happened to me too! I think it is acid. I love yogurt but suffered after indulging in it. Then I noticed that yogurt mixed as smoothie with strawberries is ok. Few weeks ago I started drinking acv (gives me lots of energy, radiant skin etc but most of all I like it) and now yogurt is ok even without strawberries! (although such a smoothie is great)."
03/21/2012: Fismom from Atlanta, Georgia replies: "hmmm... Well, I have been drinking ACV daily for 5 months and I am still totally lactose intolerant so not sure that it CURES it... but good for that guy up there.
I WILL say though that if you do have some dairy drinking ACV with a little baking soda will help with the nausea associated with lactose consumption."
04/10/2012: Marie31 from Melbourne, Victoria replies: "Hi, I'm 16 and ive recently been diagnosed with lactose intolorence and ive noticed that I still get sick if I eat even the slightest bit of dairy. Just wondering with the ACV how much water does he put in?"
06/29/2012: Sal from Cottage Grove, Or replies: "After 15-16 years of not being able to eat any milk products I can now eat frozen yogurt and cheese in small quantities. I highly recommend drinking raw milk. I was scared to death to try it, but it works and has enabled me to re-introduce some dairy back into my diet."
12/13/2012: Lloyd from Charlotte, Nc replies: "To Marie on her question of how much water to use; a half glass is fine. But if that is too strong, a full glass.
I use about one third glass of water, add the ACV (about a tablespoon or a little more) add one quarter teaspoon of Baking soda... Allow it to finish fizzing (20 seconds) and drink on empty stomach preferably before eating any lactose product or evening meal. I have found I can eat small amounts of ice cream and milk but still not too much especially if I've eaten red meat in the same day."
03/11/2013: Justin from Vancouver, Wa replies: "Confused, isn't ACV acidic and Baking Soda base? How is combining these two elements good just before drinking them?"
02/17/2013: Caitlin from Austin, Tx: "I am not only lactose intolerant but also allegic to milk protein. It does not matter in what form milk comes (yogurt, cream, lactose milk, low fat or regular milk and cheeses), I get pain and swelling in my breasts, under-neck lymph glands, plus, nodules & a rash flare-up on my face, not to mention coughing with constant mucus when I lay down. This now explains why I had constant illnesses from colds to bronchitis, and a great tendancy to catch the flu bug when younger. Back then, I drank copious amounts of milk in hot & cold cereal, ice cream, and by the glassfulls! There's no telling what else milk did inside my body. In my teens, I had a benign tumor removed from within one of my two fibrous-filled breasts. In my 30's, I noticed that like clockwork, within 30 minutes of eating anything containing milk, my breasts ached and the fibrous tumer nodules in my breasts swelled even if the milk was hidden in something like cornbread or mexican food. With no knowledge of its cause, a younger me always ignored my painful breast swelling; so, it was/is not physchosomatic
Now in my 50s, my research has found that milk not only helps the body grown taller, it also expands cell growth in tumors. Dr. Weil has a simple article on it if anyone wants to begin their research: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA352296 . I now find that the ONLY way to totally avoid milk is to cook at home. Coconut milk and rice milk work just as well in pancakes as cow milk. However, ice cream tasts best when made with cow's milk and is therefore, a nemesis I constantly battle."Replies
02/17/2013: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Caitlin, try Toffuti, it's a pretty good substitute for dairy ice cream."
02/17/2013: Tina from Houston, Usa replies: "Have you tried NAET to eliminate this issue? It is a super natural way to resume getting your body back to balance, and there are a few chiropracters in Austin who offer NAET.
Good luck, T"
[YEA] 03/08/2009: Rachael from Milwaukee, Wisconsin: "The best remedy for Lactose intolerance is no dairy. None at all. It has the best side effects too which for me included weight loss and clearer skin. I hope this helps people whe become sick from dairy."Replies
10/18/2009: Joseph from Calgary, Alberta, Canada replies: "I am lactose intolerant for 10 years and I really love diary. For me life without diary sucks. So to drink milk I am buying the regular milk 3.25 or 2 % and pour in it 26 drops of lactaid live it in the fridge over night and you can drink next day.Normally any diary product like yogurt harder cheese which are normally going trough fermentation can be eaten any time no problems. If I run out of My prepared milk I can by Lactose free milk in 2 Litter boxes (bit more expensive but does the trick).I read carefully every label and if the product has milk I can take few pills of lactose pills to help me out otherwise i am not taking those pills in months. And YES you can live with lactose intolerance and still enjoy your diary. I experienced that fresher cheese like mozzarella.or fetta cheese or cottage cheese ask for lactose pills but the rest no Normally trough fermentation lactose in diary breaks down to a simpler form which can be assimilated. Hope it will improve your diet Joe"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 01/08/2012: Marylee from Newport, Ri: "I have been lactose intolerant for years. If I ate certain kinds of cheese, ice cream, yogurt or milk, I would have horrible stomach pain for hours the day after. For about 6 weeks, I have been taking 1-2 tsp of virgin coconut oil daily, and have noticed that my lactose intolerance symptoms have decreased by about 75 %. To test this theory, I ate more cheese in one day than I have ever been able to tolerate (nachos, cheesy bread, etc. ), and the next day - nothing! I have been quite a bit more liberal with my dairy intake, and if I have any discomfort at all, it's slight gas in my lower abdomen. I attribute this to the Virgin Coconut Oil, and hope it can help anyone else with this problem :)"
[YEA] 07/15/2012: Ed from Oakville, Canada: "Homeopathy cured my Lactose Intolerance. Now I can take milk. Find a nice homeopath in your city who can real help. thanks"Replies
07/24/2012: Ducklucky from Monroe, Maine, Usa replies: "Have also heard from a lactose intolerant employee at our local co-op/health food store, that she can drink pure whole raw cow's milk with no problem, and goat's milk might be worth a try as well (an acquired taste, but a squirt of honey helps everything)."
03/01/2013: Lakanush from North Brunswick, Nj, Usa replies: "Ed, My daughter is seven years old. She has acid reflux and stomach pain and constipation. She will have a bowel movement but hard ones and not complete movement of bowels. She has undergone endoscopy and colonoscopy and found that the reason for her abdominal pain is acid reflux and inflammation in the end of food pipe. She has become lactose intolerant now. I read your post regarding homeopathy as a cure for Lactose intolerance. Please let me know how did you cure and how many months it took to cure you? I hope that you will read this post and reply to me. Thank you."
03/02/2013: Cat from Austin, Tx replies: "I'm sorry to butt in on whomever you were sending this to, but I could not say nothing when reading about a little girl who is going through the same thing I did when I was her age. It took me till my early 30s to finally get rid of that constant tummy pain and acid. When I stopped eating grains (wheat, corn, oats), all dairy, and beans (hi acid), the acid reflux, gut pain, and even the terribly excessive bleeding of my periods completely stopped. The fibroids in my breasts also diminished. I now know that when digesting these culprits as a baby, my immature gut could not handle them and they harmed my stomach lining. So, I lived with constant stomach pain from about 8 years old to my 30s. When I was a kid, doctors told my mother it was just "growing pains. " I grew up thinking EVERYONE had these growing pains. If she were my daughter, I would eliminate all grains and milk and stick with low acid fruit (berries, pears, apples, esp. Homemade stewed apples w/real cinnamon to soothe her tummy), raw and cooked veggies, root starches, and small amounts of meat (protein IS needed for healing & her continued growth) for a month, until she experiences no pain and her tummy is healed. Then I would test each food eliminated for about a week to see which one/s is the culprit. When I slip and eat those foods, especially on holidays, my stomach starts paining within two days and the only thing that will temporarily abate the pain until I eliminate the culprit again is 1/2 tsp of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO). It is a blessed miracle to me when I do not have stomach pain and I am so glad that I found out what my problem truly is, despite doctors. You might also get her checked for celiac sprue if you have not already done so. Also, two books I recommend you start with: Wheat Belly and the No-Dairy Breast Cancer Prevention Program. I recommend the latter because the next sypmtom I got, into my teens was fibroids in my breasts; then found them uterrally when I had my first child. These fibroids greatly diminished when I got rid of ALL milk products (including yogurt, cheese, ice cream too). Wish you and your daughter the best in health and life. CAT"
03/03/2013: Lak from Nb, Nj replies: "Cat, Thank you for your reply and inputs. We are vegans. We have lot of legumes which gives her protein instead of meat. If we eliminate grains and legumes, she does not have choice as growing kid. She is left with then only fruits and vegetables and some grains (Amarnath, Quinoa etc). She is not a celiac. I can eliminate her dairy even though she gets protein only from milk and yoghurt other than little chesse. I am willing to eliminate dairy but not all grains. We don't eat cheese also that much. She is already in denial with what is happening with her. I pray got that she does not develop celiac or any other thing. I am willing to try any other alternative medicine for her. Please let me know if you know something. I would really appreciate your help."
Kim Chee or Sauerkraut
[YEA] 01/01/2012: Katabatic from Seattle, Wa: "I was severely lactose intolerant for over 15 years. Even baked goods that had the tiniest bit of milk in them or medicine that had lactose added to it (why do they do that?! ) would make me violently ill. I had tried everything, including probiotics, and nothing helped.
Then, randomly about a year ago, and just cause I liked it, I started eating Korean kim chee everyday. My body was craving it! This went on for about 6 weeks. One day, I accidentally ate a sandwich that had laughing cow cheese on it instead of mayo. When I discovered what I'd eaten, I freaked out. But nothing bad happened. So I tried eating more dairy in small amounts and before long I could eat as much cheese-covered pizza as I wanted (maybe not the healthiest thing, though)!
I found out from a lactose intolerant friend in Germany that her doctor there told her to eat sauerkraut and drink the juice. Both sauerkraut and kim chee are made with fermented cabbage, which has lots of good bacteria in it. Neither of these smell great, but if you go for kim chee, just be aware that it's very spicy! And don't expect immediate results. It will take a few weeks for your body to accumulate the good bacteria. I notice that if I take anti-biotics, I need to start eating kim chee again or else my digestive system is quite unhappy. So keep that in mind, too."Replies
[NAY] 09/25/2012: Clyde from New York replies: "I had to chuckle at the mention of kimchee, since I'm of Korean descent and there's always an abundance supply of kimchee in our household (we even have a separate, special kimchee refrigerator -- helps to keep the other food from not smelling like kimchee). I've been lactose intolerant for nearly 25 years now, since college. Unfortunately, all this kimchee in my gut has never helped me. Neither has sauerkraut. Granted, I consume hot dogs with kraut less often.
The only things on this webpage that have helped me are:
1) strict avoidance of dairy -- that's fairly obvious
2) lactase pills, drops, etc
3) raw milk -- that's non-pasteurized, non-homogenized cow milk. Supposedly, after drinking raw milk for a few months, one's stomach may actually start producing its own natural lactase enzyme again, and one can start eating regular pasteurized dairy products again like cheese and ice cream, though probably not milk. I'll probably never get to find that out. The government has just made it too difficult and expensive to actually find and purchase good ol' raw milk. That's too bad. Big Brother is so concerned with cramming their upside down killer food pyramid down our throats and making sure our kids are chock full of killer wheat, soy and corn products, while taking away our rights to obtaining healthy food."
Lactose Intolerance Comments
02/25/2010: Bee from Anon, Usa: "Has anyone else seen the reports questioning lactose intolerance and suggesting people should just eat dairy anyways. Personally, I find that irresponsible and insulting. As someone who felt immense relief after realizing dairy was causing me problems, I find this troublesome. Some people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate a small amount, but for others even a tiny bit can cause immediate and very unpleasant symptoms. I find these reports troublesome. Obviously, whoever is doing this reporting is biased, probably in the dairy industry. They are using fear to try to get people eating more dairy, with disregard to the harm it can cause- telling people that without it your health and bones are at risk- which isn't true. One more reason to ignore mainstream media and doctors and do your own research."Replies
06/16/2010: Vivi from Atlanta, Ga replies: "I do have lactose intolerance my whole life, and for very long time I avoided any dairy products. Almost all my molar teeth have crowns, because there was no other way to fix very big cavities. After learning that some cheeses do not contain lactose (clearly marked on the package that it is naturally aged cheese over 60days, for example: swiss cheese), I eat them without unpleasant side effects (gas, bloating, bad smell, diarrhea). I can also eat yogurt and kefir, and lately can drink lactose free milk too.
My daughter got lactose intolerance from birth. For 1 year, between age 1 and 2, she ate only cottage cheese, without drinking milk or eating any other dairy products. At age 2 her heights was much too slow according to her pediatrician. That was a big worry for me, however I discovered that she could tolerate chocolate milk. From that point on she drinks only chocolate milk, a lot of it. Because it contains sugar, I limited her intake of candies and cookies, and let her develop healthy, cavities free teeth. After 1 year of drinking chocolate milk, at age 3, her heights was normal.
I was told by other people that milk which is homogenized is poorly tolerated by children and adults, specially by Europeans and Asians. Boiling milk destroys homogenization. Currently, at age 60, I enjoy drinking lactose free milk, even 4, 5 cups per day, without any side effects.
Your case maybe more complicated than just lactose intolerance. You may have dairy product allergies."
06/17/2010: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "I don't drink milk at all, I hate it, well I don't actually know the taste but my body says no! I did like drinking chocolate milk occasionally and my tongue would get all coated, I would get head aches so I stopped. My teeth are excellent (I am 52). My three daughter were lactose intolerant as babies, the first one was given lactose free formula, the other two soy milk formula which I know now was a huge mistake. But they all grew well and eventually were able, from the time they were toddlers, to drink milk normally. My father has had lactose intolerance all his life and it is true, Asians and especially Southern Europeans suffer more often from this problem (I am Portuguese, my daughters half Dutch)."
[YEA] 11/24/2009: Rachel from Baytown, Tx: "I started buying raw milk a few months back (I do not like store bought milk, never have and never will, I try to never let my kids drink it either, cows milk is for calves, not humans!) Anyway, I found some raw milk locally and decided to give it a try. I also let my mother try it. She was lactose intolerant but went ahead and tried. To her surprise she could drink it without a problem!
So if you are lactose intolerant, try raw milk!"
10/20/2011: Stephanie from Lake Pan, Florida replies: "Haha... You do realize that raw milk is the milk directly from cow without being pasteurized or homogenized right... so just letting you know that raw milk is milk from cows so according to you it should only be for calves...lol"
[YEA] 02/20/2013: Sg from Larkspur, California replies: "I was "lactose intolerant" for 30 years, until I discovered and started drinking raw milk. It transformed my life. I no longer have dry eyes (sjorgens), Raynauds. My digestive issues are cleared. My bone spurs disappeared (they were very painful). My joint pains are gone. I never fall sick. Never get a sore throat. Never get colds, runny noses and the flu (I travel). But most important, my asthma and rhinitis are gone. Its awesome and I hope every human has access to decent jersey raw milk."
03/04/2009: Jeannette from Hershey, PA: "New topic?Any information on lactose intolerance?"Replies
07/01/2009: Joe from Albany, NY replies: "Switching to raw dairy products and making sure my milk was whole, non-pasteurized, non-homogenized and I eliminated cooked dairy made my lactose intolerance symptoms go away altogether."
10/11/2009: Rich from Boca Raton, Fl replies: "I had a milk allergy for 30 years. I would get an upset stomach after drinking a big glass of milk. 1/2 a glass was ok. Could eat 3 pieces of pizza, but not 4. Chocolate milk seemed better than plain milk. I tried the lactic acid free milk, and it didn't help at all, so it wasn't a lactose intolerance. Probably a milk protein.
I thought it might be helpful for others to know that milk allergy doesn't necessarily mean lactose. Anyways, strangely enough, I noticed at 32 that I no longer had this allergy. So perhaps this allergy is cureable; maybe a flora and fauna thing."
08/06/2010: Jasonmchicago from Chicago, Il, Usa replies: "I had a late onset of lactose intolerance... Around when I was 19 years old. After taking lactose out of my life and then eating lactose enzyme pills I was okay. Then last year something happened. I started reading about how in the US rBGH (a growth hormone in cows to produce more milk) had started to be used by farmers around 1992 (this was exactly when I got lactose intolerance). I thought more and more about it... As a kid I ate two bowls of cereal every morning without any issues... How did I get a late onset and why so strong. Anyway I switched to all organic products this January (by definition rBGH free) and was quite mindful of eating high-quality dairy. I no longer am bothered by lactose. Now my issue may have been something else to begin with as I never tested for lactose intolerance but this may be worth something for folks in the US to consider. The US is the only developed country that allows this horrible hormone into our dairy... So if you live in Canada, Europe, Japan, etc. this will not apply to you."
11/23/2011: Knittingand from Nowra, Nsw Australia replies: "I cook a lot of vintage recipes that call for sour milk (not spoiled milk!).
It is made by adding vinegar to full cream milk and leaving it for 20 minutes to overnight. If I make it with apple cider vinegar can it be consumed by my lactose intolerant husband and son?"
11/23/2011: Kathleen from San Antonio, Texas replies: "Pasturized milk won't sour, it spoils. Raw milk will sour if left out. That being said, adding the vinagar is an acceptable substitute for recipes. I don't think, however, that it will help with the lactose. The bacteria and yeasts used in kefiring milk do digest lactose. The longer it ferments, the more lactose is eliminated. Some people with lactose intolerance drink kefir without any issues (some also do fine with raw milk). Kefir can be substituted for buttermilk in recipes. It should work well in place of sour milk , too. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how commercial kefir does on the lactose. I do know it contains only a small percentage of the bacterial cultures found in homemade kefir."
08/22/2013: Boops from Nowhere, Ny replies: "Been LI for over 20 years after an extremely stressful period in my life and have used lactaid pills for dairy in meals with no issues and drink Almond milk for those times I don't feel like taking pills. Being of Italian decent and having all types of cheeses throughout my life, I am not letting it stop my traditional meals and find the pills are my answer. Easy to take, doesn't taste like anything and easy to put in my purse for eating out.
Relaxing and meditation does not work for me as someone else suggested, don't think there is a permanent "cure", if you truly have lactose intolerance."
08/23/2013: Toourlady89 from Ca, Usa replies: "Taking Lactobacillus Acidophillus ( over the counter ) has been known to help in Lactose Intolerance. It's to be taken with each meal."