January 30/Los Angeles/Marketwire -- A recent survey of patients with lactose intolerance revealed that more than three fourths of them reduce or eliminate dairy from their diets as the primary means of "managing" their symptoms. What is more, a majority (56%) of them worry about the long-term risks to their health due to this dietary restriction.

The survey, conducted by Objective Insights, an independent research firm, included 1,000 patients with mild to severe lactose intolerance (LI) and 40 physicians (gastroenterologists and primary care physicians). The impact of LI on patients, the role of the physician and patient in diagnosing and managing the condition, and the perceived effectiveness of currently available remedies were among the lead topics surveyed.

"There is a high level of awareness in the medical community that managing the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance by dairy avoidance is an unsatisfactory treatment approach for two reasons. First, it is difficult to completely avoid dairy and, second, because doing so may result in calcium and vitamin D deficiencies," said Larry Good, M.D. former chief gastroenterologist at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y. Good also noted that, "calcium supplements and non dairy substitutes are generally inadequate in meeting dietary calcium requirements in otherwise healthy individuals."

Further acknowledgement of the significance of this subject comes from The National Institutes of Health, which, for the first time, in 2010, gathered a consortium of experts to consider it. The NIH Conference conclusions stated the need for research on potential therapeutic interventions for Lactose Intolerance, in part, because "Lactose intolerance is a real and important clinical syndrome" and many patients with LI "avoid dairy and ingest inadequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, which may predispose them to decreased bone accrual, osteoporosis, and other adverse health outcomes."

"Patients shouldn't have to trade off one set of health concerns for another," said Dennis Savaiano, Ph.D., professor of Nutrition Science at Purdue University and chair of Ritter Pharmaceuticals' Medical Advisors, whose investigational drug, RP-G28 is in mid stage clinical research for treating lactose intolerance. "Patients who avoid milk have lower calcium intakes and typically lower bone density -- a strong risk factor for osteoporosis. Dairy avoidance is not the appropriate method of managing these patients," he added.