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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Do lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance often occur together?

I have discovered I am lactose intolerant, as well as gluten intolerant. Do these afflictions often go together? Does taking lactase "with the first bite" of cheese really help?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

A larger wedge of gouda cheese and a small portion served on a crouton

Lactose intolerance and gluten sensitivity are not related. There is a condition where some people develop an allergic type reaction to the proteins in milk, but this is not the same as lactose intolerance. Using lactase products, as you have found, can help a lot for many people with lactose deficiency. You can find information on Lactose Intolerance in the Lactose Intolerance section on the Dr. Gourmet website.

True celiac disease is an autoimmune reaction to the gluten in foods. The most prevalent source of gluten in our food supply is wheat products, but there are many foods that contain small amounts and this can be a serious problem for those with celiac disease.

Here's more information on lactose intolerance, and more information on gluten sensitivity, Celiac disease, and gluten-free foods.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet