Lactose Intolerance and Anxiety – Is there a link?

By | December 25, 2015

Anxiety is  a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. An individual suffering from anxiety can find living difficult and painful. Day-to-day activities become a challenge when you suffer from anxiety. In order to treat anxiety, one needs to find the root cause of it. One common cause that is overlooked: calcium deficiency.


So What is the Link Between Lactose Intolerance and Anxiety?

Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem where the body is unable to digest lactose, a type of sugar mainly found in milk and dairy products. Milk and other dairy products contain an important nutritional supply of calcium. Lactose Intolerant individuals that cannot consume dairy products tend to lack calcium in their diet. A calcium deficiency can result to anxiety.stock-photo-15788563-dairy-products

How does Calcium Deficiency cause Anxiety?

Calcium is vital for our bodies to function properly. Most importantly, calcium is needed for our brain to function healthily. A calcium deficiency can result to anxiety and moodiness. The electrical pulses found in our nervous system greatly depend on calcium for proper function. When calcium is lacked in our nervous system, the chances of anxiety attacks and mood swings increase significantly. Hypocalcemia, better known as calcium deficiency, is commonly found in individuals that suffer from lactose intolerance. Hypocalcemia can accelerate anxiety significantly among individuals that suffer from anxiety from other causes. A low calcium diet can also result in muscle cramping, heart palpitations, numb fingers and tingling toes – common symptoms also found in anxiety. Additionally, depression and anxious thoughts result from a low calcium intake.

The most common reason for having a calcium deficiency is not eating enough calcium enriched foods and supplements. An over enriched protein and sodium diet results in the body to excrete calcium. As we get older, our bodies ability to absorb calcium decreases significantly. This why it is important to take a calcium supplement.

How do I increase Calcium in a diet that is dairy and lactose free?

Since dairy was the perfect way to get calcium in your diet, there are other great ways to get a good amount of calcium from foods that are dairy and lactose free. The recommended daily calcium is explained as follows:

Male 19-70 1000mg per day
Male 70+ 1200mg per day
Female 19-50 1000mg per day
Female 51+ 1200mg per day

Having foods that also have a good amount a calcium and vitamin D is crucial. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb the necessary calcium. Below is a list of foods that contain calcium and vitamin D.

Lactose and Dairy Free Foods with their Calcium Content:lactose-free-concept

  • White Beans: 1 cup = 191mg
  • Canned Salmon: Half can = 232mg
  • Sardines: 7 Sardine Fillets = 321mg
  • Dried Figs : 8 whole dried figs = 107mg
  • Bok Choy: 1 cup = 74mg
  • Blackstrap Molasses : 1 tablespoon = 176mg
  • Kale: 2 cups raw = 188mg
  • Black eyed peas: half cup = 185mg
  • Almonds: quarter cup half roasted = 72mg
  • Oranges: 1 medium size = 65mg
  • Turnip Greens: 1 cup cooked = 197mg
  • Sesame Seeds: 1 tablespoon = 88mg
  • Seaweed: 1 cup raw = 88mg
  • Instant Oatmeal: 1 cup = 187mg
  • Orange Juice: 1 cup = 500mg
  • Soy Milk: 1 cup = 300mg
  • Firm Tofu: half cup = 861mg
  • Cheerios: 1 cup = 114mg

If you live a fast pace life and cannot eat the above foods, remember to take calcium supplements.

NB: Do not exceed a calcium daily intake of 2500mg as it causes abdominal pain and constipation. Do not take calcium and magnesium together – they cancel each other out. Take your calcium supplement during the day and the magnesium supplement at night. Magnesium aids a good night rest.


Always watch the amount of calcium you consume. Consuming too much will cause an upset stomach and too little can cause anxiety. Always look for calcium enriched foods and supplements that contain vitamin D to assist calcium absorption  in the body.

Did this post help you fight anxiety? If you have any comments or question, feel free to post them below.




4 thoughts on “Lactose Intolerance and Anxiety – Is there a link?

  1. Tai Chi Charley

    Great article! I do find it funny that people rely on animal products so much that when they can’t eat them they have a deficiency. Sad really.

  2. Emily

    I was not aware of a link between anxiety and low calcium intake. I think it does make sense though. As our bodies need to be balanced to function at their best. If there is a lack of balance, our system tries to compensate and thus anxiety might present. I do not tolerate milk well so I typically use rice milk. But I eat yogurt and some cheese, which I find somewhat easier to tolerate. I am happy to see that I also eat some of the foods you have mentioned here!

  3. Andrian

    Hi Uwais,

    This is truly an amazing post.. 🙂
    I didn’t know that there’s a link between the intake of calcium and anxiety, until I read your post. 🙂 Very informative. 🙂
    I really like it, and would really love to take more calcium (not too much, as you said).. hehehe..

    This post is very helpful to me, and I believe to a lot more people. 🙂
    Actually, I’m gonna do it now, when I have my breakfast this morning.. I will drink milk already, during breakfast… 🙂

    Ysy. 🙂

    Have a Wonderful Day, Uwais. 🙂
    Thanks again for sharing. 🙂




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