Lactose intolerance

Complications of lactose intolerance

Milk and other dairy products are an important part of a healthy diet. They contain calcium, protein and vitamins such as vitamins A, B12 and D.

Lactose is also important because it helps your body absorb a number of other minerals, including magnesium and zinc. These vitamins and minerals are important for the development of strong, healthy bones.

See vitamins and minerals for more information about the different nutrients you should have in your diet and how much of each you need to stay healthy.

If you are lactose intolerant, getting the right amount of important vitamins and minerals can prove difficult. This may lead to unhealthy weight loss and put you at increased risk of developing the following conditions.

  • Osteopenia – where you have a very low bone-mineral density. If osteopenia is not treated, it can develop into osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis  – where your bones become thin and weak. If you have osteoporosis, your risk of getting fractures and broken bones is increased.
  • Malnutrition  – when the food you eat does not give you the nutrients essential for a healthy functioning body. If you are malnourished, wounds can take longer to heal and you may start to feel tired or depressed.

If you are concerned that dietary restrictions are putting you at risk of complications, you may find it helpful to consult a dietitian. They can advise you on your diet and whether you require food supplements.

Your GP should be able to refer you to an NHS dietitian free of charge. Alternatively, you can contact a private dietician. The British Dietetic Association has information on how to find a private dietitian.

Last updated: 16 September 2015