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The amount of lactose in sheep’s milk is about the same amount that’s in cow’s milk 1. Cow’s milk contains 5 g of lactose per 100 g, while sheep’s milk contains 4.8 g of lactose per 100 g. The minor difference between the two milks doesn’t make much difference when it comes to people who are lactose intolerant 1. If you’re lactose intolerant and you want to drink sheep’s milk, you should talk with your doctor about using a lactase supplement 1.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Lactose and Lactase
Sheep's milk contains lactose, a complex sugar found in all dairy 1. Lactose needs to be broken down in order for the body to properly absorb it. Lactase is the enzyme needed to break down lactose into galactose and glucose. If your digestive system doesn’t produce enough lactase, the lactose will remain in its complex state and go undigested until it reaches your colon. Your colon contains large amounts of bacteria that will attempt to digest the sugar. This interaction causes common lactose intolerance symptoms.
- Sheep's milk contains lactose, a complex sugar found in all dairy 1.
- If your digestive system doesn’t produce enough lactase, the lactose will remain in its complex state and go undigested until it reaches your colon.
Lactose & Itching
If you drink sheep’s milk and notice common lactose intolerance symptoms, you should stop drinking the milk until you can talk with your doctor 1. Common symptoms that occur within the first two hours after you drink sheep’s milk are bloating, gas, diarrhea, stomach pain, abdominal cramping, floating stools and foul-smelling stool. If you develop symptoms that are not related to the digestive system, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction is a serious condition that needs to be evaluated by your physician.
- If you drink sheep’s milk and notice common lactose intolerance symptoms, you should stop drinking the milk until you can talk with your doctor 1.
- If you develop symptoms that are not related to the digestive system, you may be experiencing an allergic reaction.
If you want to consume dairy products that contain sheep’s milk but you’re lactose intolerant, you can prevent symptoms by taking a lactase supplement, which can be purchased at a pharmacy 1. When taken as directed, lactase supplements will prevent most symptoms of lactose intolerance. Some sheep’s milk products may contain less lactose, such as sheep’s milk yogurt or certain cheeses 1. If you continue to experience symptoms while taking the lactase supplement, talk with your doctor.
Is Feta Cheese Lactose Free?
Lactose intolerance is commonly confused with a milk allergy 1. An allergic reaction that develops from drinking sheep’s milk is not caused by your digestive system but rather is a malfunction in your immune system. Your doctor may perform allergy tests to determine the cause of your symptoms when you consume sheep’s milk products.
- Lactose intolerance is commonly confused with a milk allergy 1.
- An allergic reaction that develops from drinking sheep’s milk is not caused by your digestive system but rather is a malfunction in your immune system.
Lactose & Itching
Is Feta Cheese Lactose Free?
Dairy Products & Sinus Drainage
Bad Breath and Lactose Intolerance
Bread & Lactose Intolerance
Diet for Disaccharide Malabsorption
Can Milk Cause Diarrhea?
Dairy Allergies and Mucus
Can Milk Make You Feel Bloated?
Can Acidophilus Cause Diarrhea?
- DrGreene.com: Lactose-Free Milk
- Hebbink G, Dickhoff B.. Application of lactose in the pharmaceutical industry. Lactose. 2019;pp.175-229. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-811720-0.00005-2
- Smith KP. The origin of MacConkey agar. American Society for Microbiology. October 14, 2019.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine Genetics Home Reference. Lactose intolerance. Updated August 17, 2020.
- Westhoff G, Kuster B, Heslinga M, Pluim H, Verhage, M. Lactose and derivatives. Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, pp.1-9. 2014. doi:10.1002/14356007.a15_107.pub2
- World Gastroenterology Organisation. Yogurt in nutrition: Initiative for a balanced diet.
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.