Beyond Medications: Natural Ways to Manage Galactosemia

on Mar 03, 2023| Modified on Mar 04, 2023

Galactosemia is a rare genetic disorder affecting the body's ability to metabolize galactose, a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products. This condition can cause many symptoms, including jaundice, vomiting, and developmental delays, leading to long-term complications if left untreated.

While there is no cure for galactosemia, several natural remedies and lifestyle changes may help manage symptoms and improve overall health.

Diet and Nutrition

Following a galactose-free diet is one of the most important aspects of managing galactosemia. This means avoiding all dairy products and other foods that contain lactose or galactose, such as legumes, some fruits, and certain types of baby formula. Instead, focus on foods low in galactose, like fresh fruits and veggies, proteins that are lean, and whole grains.

In addition to following a galactose-free diet, some several supplements and nutrients may be helpful for managing galactosemia, including:

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients for bone health, which can be compromised in people with galactosemia due to a lack of dairy products in the diet. Talk to a healthcare provider about whether calcium and vitamin D supplements are necessary for your specific needs.

B-Complex Vitamins

B-complex vitamins, including vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid, may be helpful for improving cognitive function and reducing the risk of complications associated with galactosemia. These vitamins can be found in a variety of foods, including leafy greens, fortified cereals, and animal products.

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health and reduce inflammation in the body. Probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, may be helpful for people with galactosemia, as they can help support digestion and overall health.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to following a galactose-free diet and taking supplements, there are several lifestyle changes that may be helpful for managing galactosemia, including:

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can help improve bone health, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being in people with galactosemia. Talk to a healthcare provider about safe and effective exercise options for your specific needs.

Managing Stress

Stress can exacerbate symptoms of galactosemia and may increase the risk of complications. Engaging in stress-reducing activities, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing, may be helpful for improving overall health and managing symptoms.

Conclusion

While there is no cure for galactosemia, several natural remedies and lifestyle changes may help manage symptoms and improve overall health. By following a galactose-free diet, taking supplements, and making healthy lifestyle choices, people with galactosemia can live full and healthy lives. However, it's important to work closely with a healthcare provider to ensure that these remedies are safe and effective for individual needs.

Continue reading below for feedback from Earth Clinic readers and let us know if you have a new remedy to add to the list!

Sources:

  1. National Organization for Rare Disorders. (2021). Galactosemia. https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/galactosemia/
  2. National Institutes of Health. (2021, April 14). Calcium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/
  3. National Institutes of Health. (2021, April 14). Vitamin D. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  4. National Institutes of Health (2021, February 16). Vitamin B6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
  5. National Institutes of Health. (2021, April 14). Folate. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/
  6. Harvard Health Publishing. (2014, September). Health benefits of taking probiotics. https://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
  7. Mayo Clinic. (2021, May 18). Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389
  8. National Institute of Mental Health. (2021, July). 5 things you should know about stress. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml




Galactosemia Remedies

1 User Review
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Posted by Sydney (Jefferson City Mo) on 03/01/2023

Curious if there are any holistic remedies that can help with Galactosemia?

Replied by Art
(California)
03/03/2023
2073 posts
★★★★★

Sydney,

There is no currently known supplement that actively treats Galactosemia (G) . The standard treatment is completely eliminating dairy and not eating foods high in galactose, which can work in the near term, but significant health issues can occur over the longer term even with strict adherence to avoidance of dairy.

Two mechanisms of action with G are elevated oxidative stress levels and inflammation which can both cause long term damage to the brain, liver eyes and kidneys. I think using supplements that are protective of these organs while reducing oxidative stress and increased inflammation levels and have a good safety profile is probably a good idea over the long term in terms of what you can do to try and prevent these longer term effects of G on the body.

So such a supplement would also need to cross the blood brain barrier while specifically being able to target the other affected organs as a protective agent.

One supplement that has shown these abilities is melatonin, but some people don't tolerate melatonin supplementation well, in which case, you can get melatonin naturally which everyone seems to tolerate as melatonin is naturally produced in the body and there are no reported cases of people not tolerating melatonin produced in the body. I wrote about how to do this for people who don't tolerate melatonin supplements here :

https://www.earthclinic.com/supplements/how-to-increase-melatonin-naturally.html

I would also like to add that a new systematic review showed that the Mediterranean diet also increases melatonin levels as described here :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9951922/

Here is a relevant quote from the study :

' MD-related foods, such as tomatoes, olive oil, red wine, beer, nuts, and vegetables, showed high melatonin contents. The consumption of specific MD foods increases melatonin levels and improves the antioxidant status in plasma. '

While melatonin is very good for the purposes at hand, it would be helpful to take at least two such supplements for an additive protective effect and possibly even three.

Another supplement that meets the above criteria is Astaxanthin and like melatonin it has a very good safety profile. Maximum study dosages have been 24 mg per day and this dose is readily available from online suppliers.

A third supplement that also meets these criteria and has a very good safety profile is Grape Seed Proanthocyanidin Extract (GSPE). This is one I have used to good effect :

https://www.amazon.com/Carlyle-Grape-Extract-Equivalent-Capsules/dp/B07G7K522Q/ref=sr_1_6?crid=WXZJRVEADDM4&keywords=grape+seed+extract&qid=1677901000&sprefix=grape+seed+,aps,139&sr=8-6

This is a link to what I wrote about the benefit that I found from my use of Astaxanthin, but not the only reason I take it :

https://www.earthclinic.com/supplements/astaxanthin-for-endurance.html

I have written a very significant amount about melatonin on EC for many more issues than you would be considering it for.

Good luck!

Art



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