Can drinking raw milk cure lactose intolerance?

By November 23, 2022 Health, Lifestyle

We came across the following post on Instagram:


According to the video posted by a wellness influencer with over 266,000 followers at the time of writing, she fixed her lactose intolerance by consuming raw cow’s milk, which contains lactase enzymes that make it easy to digest for those that are lactose intolerant.

The video continues by stating that during pasteurisation of milk, the enzyme lactase is destroyed, making it hard to digest. Unlike raw milk, she says, which contains lactase, making it suitable for the lactose intolerant.

Looking into the claim, we found that this was not the first instance of this claim circulating on the internet.

According to these claims, lactose intolerance and maldigestion of pasteurized milk are significant factors for many people to choose raw milk. However, research journals have debunked this claim, describing the perceived benefits associated with drinking raw milk as myths. An article by the US Food & Drug Administration states that contrary to popular belief, there is no indigenous lactase in milk, thus, having no benefits when consumed by individuals who are lactose intolerant.

Instead, raw milk can contain a variety of disease-causing pathogens with risks associated with its consumption. Pasteurization thus effectively kills raw milk pathogens without any significant impact on milk nutritional quality.

A study from the Stanford University School of Medicine on the effects of raw milk vs pasteurised milk for lactose intolerant people similarly found that there was little to no difference in digestibility between the two types of milk. Additionally, while raw milk contains many enzymes, the amounts of lactase present are negligible. Lactase is produced in the gut lining, and while raw milk may contain tiny traces, the report says the amount is insignificant and would not have an impact on digestion or aid those who are lactose intolerant.

The claim that raw milk can cure lactose intolerance as it contains lactase enzymes, making it digestible, is thus false. Lactose-intolerant people have the same symptoms from raw and pasteurized milk while raw milk is much more likely than pasteurized milk to cause foodborne illness that can lead to hospitalization.

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