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Lactose Intolerant? Get Enough Calcium To Prevent Bone Loss

photo of woman with stomach pain holding a glass of milk | lactose intoleranceIf you are lactose intolerant, it’s very possible that you are not getting the amount of calcium you require to keep your bones strong and healthy. Dairy products are a main source of calcium for most people. For those who cannot take in most dairy products without experiencing stomach upset, however, other healthy ways to get your required calcium intake should be investigated.

Being lactose intolerant means that your body has difficulty breaking down and digesting the sugar in milk, also known as lactose. The enzyme, lactase, is produced in the small intestine. Those who are lactose intolerant do not have enough lactase available to digest lactose, resulting in stomach upset when certain dairy products are eaten. If you’re lactose intolerant and you eat dairy containing lactose, you may experience gas, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, and even vomiting.

Alternative Dietary Sources of Calcium

If you’re avoiding foods that cause you discomfort due to being lactose intolerant, you may not be eating enough calcium-rich items that most people enjoy, such as milk, ice cream, cheeses (especially soft cheeses), sour cream, chocolate, and butter. Increase your calcium intake naturally by eating these foods that are high in calcium, but do not contain lactose:

  • Sardines
  • Soy beans
  • Tofu
  • Kale
  • Almonds
  • Greens, such as spinach, turnips, collard greens
  • Sesame seeds
  • Dried fruits (figs are high in calcium)
  • Salmon
  • Broccoli


Women need about 1,000 mg of calcium on a daily basis for bone health. If you choose to take a calcium supplement instead of upping your calcium intake with foods, consider taking calcium citrate, which the body absorbs more easily than other forms of this mineral.

Calcium Absorption

You’ll want to be sure that your body is absorbing the calcium-rich foods you’re taking in and then using it well to maintain strong bone health. Vitamin D is key to proper calcium absorption. Be sure you are taking in enough Vitamin D in your daily multivitamin. You can get your Vitamin D levels checked by your physician in north Georgia to be sure you are getting adequate supplies of this important vitamin.

GI North in Cumming, GA, has two physicians on staff, Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano, who specialize in digestive system disturbances. Dr. Quijano is fluent in Spanish, which some patients find extremely helpful when communicating their needs. Aside from the immediate Cumming neighborhood, GI North also serves patients from surrounding areas such as Roswell, Milton, Duluth, Canton, Suwanee, Sandy Springs, Marietta, and beyond.

The offices of GI North are open five days a week in order to conveniently treat patients from all over the north Georgia area, including Dahlonega, Dawsonville, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Milton, Suwanee, Duluth, and Canton. At GI North, you can expect the latest in advanced technological care and treatment, in addition to personalized attention from Drs. Cofrancesco and Quijano. If you suffer from lactose intolerance, require a colonoscopy, or are experiencing gastric distress, contact us at 404.446.0600 to schedule an appointment.

This article is not meant to take the place of professional medical advice. Please make an appointment with Dr. Cofrancesco or Dr. Quijano to further discuss your specific needs.