My stomach was still unpredictable and through further research I found I also had to give up caffeine (I know, a computer programmer who drinks decaf? It’s almost unbelievable) and really hold down the amount of sorbitol or mannitol I ate in the form of sugar free mints. I could eat a whole tin of them while working on something and then suffer the consequences.
But in reading up on lactose intolerance I also learned that there was at least one brand that was enteric coated. An enteric coating is one that does not dissolve in the stomach, but holds together until it reaches the intestines which is where most enzymes do their work anyway. The manufacturers claim that lactase survives the stomach acid just fine and is still functional when it hits the intestines, but just for fun I ordered some of these very expensive boutique brand pills.
They worked fantastically.
I think I ate 10 pounds of brie in the first few months after discovering them. But they were expensive at a dollar a pill and they were from a small natural herbal remedy company that could go out of business or change their product lineup at any moment. And since the supplement market in the US is almost totally unregulated I had no idea what was really in them or if one batch would contain the same quality and quantity as the last one that worked. I don’t like being dependent on a single supplier. It turns out that if you put your own enteric coating on a cheap Lactaid pill it works perfectly too!
Unfortunately this isn’t a completely simple process. The simplest form of enteric coating is nothing more than shellac. Don’t get too upset, shellac is a natural product harvested from the Lac beetle. Yes, I know, yuck, but you’ve eaten it as a coating on every shiny piece of candy you’ve ever eaten, if you’ve ever taken a coated aspirin chances are this is what it was coated with. And so far you’re just fine. It’s safe and harmless. If you buy it from the hardware store though you’ll get it dissolved in methanol or isopropyl alcohol which is not non-toxic. Luckily there are food grade products that I assume are dissolved in grain alcohol instead of something toxic, but even if not the solvent will be entirely evaporated before you eat any of it. So this should not be a concern. What I used was this:
Confectioners glaze is usually shellac. But make sure you’re getting the right kind, the ingredients here look like:
It turns out you cannot just dip a lactaid pill into the glaze, it will disintegrate just like it’s supposed to do as soon as it gets wet in your stomach. So I first encased it in a gelatin capsule.
A picture of the empty capsule and the lactaid pill. I’m not sure what size these capsules are, I think they are 0 sized but I’ll update when the ones I’ve ordered arrive. These were harvested from some old vitamins that we gave up taking because vitamins just really aren’t necessary for most people to take. The capsule will protect the lactaid from getting wet until it dissolves.
The coating process is important. If there are any parts of the pill that are not coated it wont work. If you test to see if the pill is still tacky before it’s dry you could make holes in the coating and the whole thing will dissolve in the stomach then and not work. I hand dipped them just past the seam and then shook off the extra drop at the end. It’s a 2 part process once this half has dried you’ll have to turn it over and dip it just past the seam from the other side.
Once I dipped it and shook off the big drop there was still quite a bit of the glaze on the end, I just touched it to some paper to get the worst of it off. Unless you rub it dry the rest will reflow over the top.
Then I turned it over and stuck end end not dipped into some foam I had made a few holes in to hold it up to try. It dries quickly for a wood finish, but it still takes a while. Once it’s dry pick up the pill, and dip the other side making sure to come just up over the seam again to make sure it overlaps.
Of course this is all a pain in the neck, the perfect solution would be for Lactaid to just make an enteric coated version of their otherwise helpful pill. I recommend that if you have found their pills no longer work that you use their contact us page to let them know that you want this.
The product already out there that is already enteric coated is called “Lactosolv” and is buy a company called “Life Extension” you can find them on Amazon and other online sellers.