What is digestive discomfort?

Did you know that your child’s tummy discomfort can turn them grumpy and uncomfortable? Don’t fret because 1 out of 2 children may have recurrent abdominal pain.8 The solution to this for their tummy comfort can just be as easy as looking into their nutrition.

Kid with digestion discomfort

Photo by Freepik

When your kid complains of “ouchy tummy” you must remember that there are several factors to consider — sometimes it could be because of constipation as they transition to potty training, or it can be an issue with the food they consume and that they are having difficulty digesting it.

How does your child’s digestion affect their growth and development?

One of the factors that we must look into is the nutrients in their milk like protein and lactose. It is possible that these are the culprits of the digestive issues they’re experiencing.6,7

Here are some nutritional facts you might need to know:

Protein is made up of amino acids that are used for the physical structure of our organs.5 They are essential for our body to work efficiently and for your child’s optimal growth and development. Meanwhile, lactose enhances the absorption of calcium and magnesium that help build strong bones and teeth.

How does undigested protein and lactose cause tummy discomfort?

Let’s begin with getting to know lactose. The lactose nutrient in milk is typically broken down by the lactase enzymes which are then absorbed in your small intestine for your body to use as energy. When your child’s lactase enzyme is low, lactose maldigestion or lactose intolerance happens4. When it does, the undigested lactose goes to their large intestines where it is then fermented by bacteria. The byproduct of this is acids and gasses. This is what causes their digestive discomfort like gassiness, bloating or feeling of bloatedness, tummy aches, and watery stools.

Protein, just like lactose, is also digested into smaller sizes by an enzyme called enterokinase3. The smaller-sized protein can then be absorbed by the body. In cases where the enzyme enterokinase is lacking, there can be malabsorption which may then result in diarrhea, poor growth, low blood protein, and swelling or edema.

It’s important for everyone to get hydrolyzed protein in their diet, but more so in children, because there are main important benefits that they shouldn’t miss out on like supporting their immune system and boosting their intestinal health.

Milk and dairy are good sources of nutrients like protein and lactose that are essential for your child’s rapid growth and development. However, not everyone can easily digest protein molecules well. So, you must look for nutrient sources that have partially hydrolyzed proteins or PHP and reduced lactose that your child’s developing tummies can digest easily.

What is PHP and why is it important?

PHP is a kind of protein that’s broken down into smaller pieces so your children’s gentle tummies can absorb it properly as it has undergone a special process called hydrolysis.2

Gentlease protein (PHP) comparison vs regular cow’s milk

It’s important to make sure that your kids are getting the right nutrients without sacrificing their digestive health by choosing a milk formula brand that helps them digest these key nutrients properly.

Choose Enfagrow Gentlease 3+, milk that’s made easy for their digestion* without compromising the appropriate nutrition they need for their body and their brain.

Gentlease Banner with mom, kid, and milk

Enfagrow Gentlease 3+ is made up of Partially Hydrolyzed Proteins and has reduced lactose for easy digestion* for your child’s growing tummy. It also has MFGM* and DHA* to help support your child’s brain and cognitive development together with proper nutrition and stimulation.

As parents, you need to remember to always look into your child’s diet carefully whenever they complain of tummy aches because these could be a sign of digestion issues. However, there should not be a need to compromise on their nutrients when you can choose a milk brand that works best for their developing tummy. Make sure to give them Enfagrow Gentlease 3+, Big on Brain, and Easy on Digestion*.

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*with proper nutrition and stimulation


  1. Jackson KA, Savaiano DA. Lactose maldigestion, calcium intake and osteoporosis in African-, Asian-, and Hispanic-Americans. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Apr;20(2 Suppl):198S-207S. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2001.10719032. PMID: 11349943, available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11349943/. Accessed on 26 August 2022
  2. Manninen, A.H. Protein hydrolysates in sports nutrition. Nutr Metab (Lond) 6, 38 (2009), available at https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-6-38, Accessed on 26 August 2022
  3. Holzinger A, Maier EM, Bück C, Mayerhofer PU, Kappler M, Haworth JC, Moroz SP, Hadorn HB, Sadler JE, Roscher AA. Mutations in the proenteropeptidase gene are the molecular cause of congenital enteropeptidase deficiency. The American Journal of Human Genetics. 2002;70(1):20-5
  4. Hoffman JR, Falvo MJ. Protein - Which is Best? J Sports Sci Med. 2004 Sep 1;3(3):118-30. PMID: 24482589; PMCID: PMC3905294, available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24482589/. Accessed on 26 August 2022
  5. Protein in diet, available at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm Accessed on 26 August 2022
  6. Zheng XL, Kitamoto Y, Sadler JE. Enteropeptidase, a type II transmembrane serine protease. Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2009;1:242-9.
  7. Szilagyi A. Redefining lactose as a conditional prebiotic. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2004;18(3):163-7.
  8. Sio-Aguilar, Juliet M.D. et al. Lactose malabsorption among healthy Filipino children; The Philippine Journal of Pediatrics Vol 51, No. 4 October – December 2022

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