Can lactose-free milks and lactase enzyme supplements provide help to the millions of Americans with lactose intolerance. Yes! Absolutely! But, and this a BIG “but,” it depends on how much enzyme activity is in the supplement and how much lactose has been removed from the milk. ConsumerLab.com recently selected and tested ten different lactase supplements and three popular lactose-free milks, including well-known brands like Lactaid and Dairy Ease. The testing showed NO enzyme activity in one lactase supplement (Lacteeze) and another with so little activity as to be of questionable value (KAL Lactase Enzyme ).
However, most of the lactase supplements provided levels of enzyme activity known to be beneficial.
Each of the lactose-free milks passed testing, having no detectable lactose, although only two provided a significant amount of vitamin D (Lactaid Fat Free Milk and Organic Valley Lactose Free Organic Fat Free Milk).
In terms of cost and value, ConsumerLab.com found that 9,000 ALU (acid lactase unit) of lactase — enough to help with a high lactose meal — cost as little as 8 cents (Kirkland Signature Fast Acting Lactase) or as much as $6.79 (KAL Lactase Enzyme ) depending on the brand. The cost to purchase lactose-free milks varied less, with organic milk costing slightly more than the others.
“You can reduce exposure to lactose by reducing or eliminating certain milk-based products, but you risk getting too little calcium in your diet. A lactase supplement taken at the beginning of a meal, or substituting lactose-free milk for regular milk, enables you to enjoy dairy and avoid this risk,” says Dr. Cooperman.
ConsumerLab.com’s report includes information on how to choose foods low in lactose and strategies for reducing the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Included in the new review are quality ratings and comparisons of 13 lactase supplements and 3 lactose-free milks. Ten of the lactase supplements were selected for testing by ConsumerLab.com and 3 are included for having passed the same testing in ConsumerLab.com’s Voluntary Certification Program. A product similar to another that passed testing is also included.
Products in the report ar:
- CVS Pharmacy Dairy Relief Fast Acting,
- Enzymedica Lacto,
- Equate (Wal-Mart) Fast Acting Dairy Digestive Supplement,
- Garden of Life Raw Enzymes,
- KAL Lactase Enzyme (OF QUESTIONABLE VALUE),
- Kirkland (Costco) Signature Fast Acting Lactase,
- Lactaid Fast Act,
- Lactaid Fat-Free Milk,
- Lacteeze (NOT RECOMMENDED),
- Land O Lakes Dairy Ease,
- Natural Factors Lactase Enzyme,
- Nature’s Plus Say Yes to Dairy,
- Organic Valley Lactose-Free Organic Fat Free Milk,
- Puritan’s Pride Lactase Enzyme,
- Solgar Lactase 3500,
- Source Naturals Lactase Digest, and
- Zygest Lactase Enzyme.
ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition, with online reports for over 900 products. The company is privately held and based in Westchester County, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. Membership to www.ConsumerLab.com is available online.