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Getting to know…Lacteeze

Lacteeze are offering IWM 10 x liquid drop samples suitable for breast or bottle-feeding babies and children with suspected or confirmed lactose intolerance!

The first 10 people who like Lacteeze facebook page  and send them a PM quoting: ‘IWM Lacteeze Promo’ receive the drops.

Lacteeze lactase enzyme supplements immediately ease symptoms of lactose intolerance and aid the digestion of lactose in dairy for the whole family. I recently caught up with Sheena Cole who owns an importing business selling the amazing Lacteeze products all around Australia.
What is your background?
English in heritage, I came to Australia at almost 18 years old and was meant to stay for 6 months but absolutely loved it and stayed! After university I started my career in management consulting with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) as a strategy manager working with a wide range of businesses primarily in the banking and healthcare sectors. It was a great training ground and when my daughter was born in 1997 I started my own management-consulting firm for small and medium sized businesses, which was better suited to the demands of being a single mum. From there, I owned retail health food shops with naturopath clinics for a while before I ended up with the Lacteeze business.
How did you become involved with Lacteeze?
My daughter, Courtney, developed severe allergies to 6 different foods including dairy, eggs, chicken, nuts, fish and soy at a very young age. It was much less understood back then and people didn’t really know how to deal with it. We had to carry Epi Pens everywhere and if we were going to sit anywhere we would need to wipe it down thoroughly first. It was very difficult to get care for Courtney, as people were scared and worried about how to keep her safe. She also had food intolerances to any number of things. For a few years she survived on rice, pears that were heavily peeled to remove the salicylates, and lamb! At age 2 Courtney was in the park with the nanny and she picked up a ball that a little girl was playing with. The little girl happened to have just eaten fish and Courtney was rushed to hospital with anaphylactic shock.
Courtney’s health issues changed my whole focus and I started to work in the allergy and intolerance area. Courtney had grown out of her dairy allergy by this point but still had lactose intolerance. There was a product from the USA that helped her and meant she could still eat dairy, but then it was discontinued in Australia. She was so limited in what she could eat so I searched for an alternative product, and started importing Lacteeze from Canada for our own personal use. I secured the sole distribution rights for Australia & New Zealand for Lacteeze in 2003 and started working solely with Lacteeze in 2009 as I could see there were many other people in Australia who also needed the product.
How does the product work?
The product is a natural enzyme that aids the digestion of lactose in dairy. Humans manufacture lactase enzymes in response to the high levels of lactose in breast milk. It is natural for us to produce less of the enzyme when we are weaned. Many people find, as they get older, that they simply don’t produce enough of the enzyme to digest the amount of dairy in a normal diet. Typical symptoms of lactose intolerance are gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea.
Lacteeze is a natural digestive enzyme that simply replaces what people are missing. Nothing is absorbed into the body and the enzyme just passes through the digestive tract if not used.
People can use Lacteeze as a test to see if they are lactose intolerant. If it helps reduce or eliminate the effects of dairy, you may very well be lactose intolerant. For those who are lactose intolerant, it makes such an enormous difference to their lives. Calcium is so important for bones and it is difficult to replace when taking dairy out of the diet.
Many pharmaceutical drugs contain lactose that makes it hard for people who have to take those products and then suffer awful gastric discomfort. Taking Lacteeze can reduce or eliminate those side effects.
Who can take Lacteeze?
Lacteeze caters for the whole family including newborns to the elderly – everyone can find relief. Lactose intolerance is very common in young babies especially those born early (prior to 34 weeks) and it is very common in older people as the enzyme production naturally declines in age.
People who have ongoing digestive issues such as celiac disease or temporary lactose intolerance from damage to the gut from Giardia or gastroenteritis can also take the product. Lactase enzymes are manufactured on the tips of the villi in the small intestines, and in the case of a celiac the first things to become damaged are the tips of the villi. I have come across lots of celiacs who, after following a strict diet, don’t understand why they are still suffering. The cause is often lactose intolerance resulting from damage to the villi. The villi will eventually heal although with celiacs it can take up to a couple of years.
Safety and efficacy of the product?
Clinical trials on the product span 30 years across many countries. The product is TGA approved in Australia, which means in every step of production the product has been thoroughly checked and approved. It is a guarantee of the product quality and that it does do what it claims to do. Lacteeze is manufactured in Canada in GMP cleared facilities, which are very safe and secure.
A clinical trial was conducted at Guy’s Hospital in London for babies medically diagnosed with colic. It was found that in fact 40% of those babies were actually lactose intolerant. When their milk was pre-treated with lactase enzymes, it decreased crying time by 45%! Clearly, that makes an incredible difference to the whole family!
Tell us about the products in the range, uses, and price
We have several products in the range – tablets or the liquid enzyme. The tablets come in Children’s for ages 2 to 12, Extra Strength for 12 years to adults and the newest product Ultra Strength (double the strength of the Extra Strength) for adults who suffer more severely.
A very important use of the drops is for mothers with lactose intolerant babies as it allows them to continue breastfeeding, which is amazing. The drops convert lactose in liquids such as breast milk, formula, chocolate milk, and you can even cook with it to reduce the effects of dairy in foods. The drops convert lactose into glucose milk sugars, which are easier to digest. The drops start from $21.95.
An excellent product offering is our trial packs, which is a great way for people to test and trial Lacteeze very affordably. Trial packs start from $4.95 and we are the only company who do that. We don’t want people spending a lot of money and finding it doesn’t suit them. Our products are ranged through major pharmacy chains and health food stores across Australia.
There’s nothing about you or Courtney’s story on the website, how come?
We are in the process of revamping the website and it will be ready early next year. It will really focus on helping people understand the condition along with providing the clinical trials for review.
We will include Courtney’s story and the great news is that she grew out of all her allergies! Her immune system response dampened over time and she is free now! It proves it can happen but I was the fussiest mother ever. People couldn’t kiss her until I knew what they had eaten first!
 What wonderful feedback have you received about your product?
We have a helpline and receive a lot of calls from parents and it is wonderful hearing their stories. One little boy hadn’t smiled for 3 months as he was in such a lot of pain. After taking Lacteeze for the first time, he smiled!
One lady hadn’t been out of the house in years as her symptoms were so severe. She had lost all confidence but since taking Lacteeze she now can leave the house. There are lots of everyday stories too about people who simply enjoy eating their dairy treats again, or who can eat out in restaurants without being scared of the consequences. It is stories like these that give me satisfaction every single day from what I do!
Being a single mum, how have you juggled family and work?
I do this full time and being a single mum with Courtney’s health issues as well as maintaining an aging mother – at times I just feel flooded. It can be difficult fitting everything in and doing justice to it all. But we do it! Some years have been very hard but everything I am doing is worthwhile and I am absolutely dedicated to it. Courtney is always number 1 and always will be. There is no question she comes first.
Now, I couldn’t work for someone else. I love that I make the decisions about where we are going and what is happening. Good or bad – it is up to me. Having my own business has given me the ability and freedom to juggle work and family – I can work at midnight if I’ve been caught up with other issues during the day. It was the only way I could do it – to get an income and look after Courtney at the same time.
Advice offered to mums thinking about starting their own business?
I think you need to be aware that owning a business can be incredibly time consuming – lots of people assume that because it’s not a “real” job they’ll be able to fit it in easier. But the reality is you need to put in more hours, not less, if you want it to be a success.
Start slowly so you can see if there is a real need for your product or service before you over-commit yourself financially. Once you see you are on the right track you can always expand from there. Lastly I’d advise people to learn some basic business skills before starting – there are plenty of courses covering areas like basic accounting and marketing. So many small businesses fail even though the owners are brilliant at what they do, because they need these skills as well.
Favourite spots in the Inner West?
I love Elkington Park and when we lived close I used to take dogs for a walk in the evening. It is so peaceful and beautiful. Norton Street Cinema is gorgeous – it has such character. I love living in the Inner West! Courtney and I have lived in quite a few places around Sydney but there is something very special about the Inner West. I love the eclectic mix of people here and the fact that everyone isn’t out of the same mould, I think that’s important for Courtney too. We love the atmosphere and village style, and the old architecture is so beautiful. I’ve just renovated my house and my main aim was to keep it in character. It’s so easy to get anywhere from here – including the airport, the Eastern Suburbs and the City. When we moved here we both gave a big sigh and thought, “we’re home”!

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