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How is lactose intolerance related to celiac disease?*

Lactose intolerance is frequently a side effect of celiac disease. Celiacs who eat gluten become lactose intolerant after the villi and microvilli in their small intestine become damaged, and are no longer capable of catching and breaking down the lactose

href="javascript:void(0)" onclick="showHelpTip(event, 'molecule

The simplest structural unit of an element or compound that retains all the properties of the substance and is composed of one or more atoms.'); return false">molecule. The problem usually disappears when celiacs remove gluten from their diet, which allows the damaged villi and microvilli to grow back. Lactose intolerance symptoms can continue for a long time after a celiac has gone on a 100% gluten-free diet. In some cases the villi and microvilli damage can take up to two years to heal completely, but in most cases it takes between six months and a year. Most people who are lactose intolerant can usually eat goat and sheep (feta) cheeses without any problems.

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54 Responses:

 
Amy Schear
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said this on
21 Oct 2007 6:44:55 AM PST
I am very newly diagnosed with Celiac. I wanted to know if i need to avoid dairy for a while in the beginning.

 
Elise
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said this on
04 Dec 2009 11:50:12 AM PST
If you keep consuming dairy it won't affect your health but you'll have bad gas!

 
Katie
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said this on
01 Oct 2010 3:38:17 PM PST
Wow, this explains a lot! Thank you!

 
Michelle Gwilliam
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said this on
14 Nov 2007 7:32:18 AM PST
I was diagnosed with celiac disease 9 months ago, after suffering for 34 years with various unexplained health issues, but I was always lactose intolerant, and that problem has resolved since eliminating gluten! It's cool to realize why! Thanks

 
Susie
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said this on
16 Jan 2008 12:16:51 PM PST
I was diagnosed with Celiac in September but didn't understand why my doctor told me to lay off the dairy - this helps - Thanks!

 
tammie
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said this on
16 Feb 2008 9:24:08 PM PST
Good info to know. It helped me, because I'm still learning about this disease. It was good to know how long to stay away from dairy.

 
Shelly
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said this on
22 Aug 2008 8:50:40 PM PST
What I would like to know is additional info re: can the gut repair while still exposed to dairy or do you have to give up the dairy to heal; a longer article/more detail would be helpful.

 
Evie Oberfield
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said this on
27 Aug 2008 8:24:58 AM PST
What a shock to think that I might have lactose intolerance now after being diagnosed 8 years ago with celiac and being so careful with the diet. Too much milk and cheese in my diet??? Shelly's rating (#5) is asking what I would like to know also. . . is there more detail available??? Is repair possible?

 
mari
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said this on
25 Jan 2009 5:34:11 PM PST
I have been on a gluten-free diet for almost 3 years and it has not helped my celiac symptoms much. Until very recently, I was eating dairy products and thinking nothing of it. Well, I finally started taking a Lactaid tablet before consuming dairy and- voila!- much, much better now. Can't believe I suffered for so long without knowing I had become lactose intolerant due to the celiac.
Best wishes to all gluten & lactose
allergic folks out there. Don't give up HOPE!

 
Anne Loder
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said this on
26 Apr 2010 12:09:51 AM PST
I was diagnosed with celiac in 1990 and have had dairy for all these years until this past month. I decided to give dairy up for one month to see if it made any difference in the bloating I have after eating breakfast every morning. Sad to say I didn't find any change.
However, for the pass 20 years since I've been diagnosed I feel very healthy and have been running in races for years, and yes! I'm a senior.

 
Rob
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said this on
21 Mar 2012 11:36:12 AM PST
Mari, I too was recently diagnosed with celiac and now my bloating continues even with a 100% gluten free diet. I am experimenting with avoiding dairy with some success. What lactose aid are you taking to get this result?
Thank you.

 
Lola
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said this on
27 Jul 2010 12:23:04 PM PST
Wonder if anyone would have help for us here - my husband was diagnosed w/celiac 2 yrs. ago, and has done wonderful in eliminating gluten from his diet. About 2 weeks ago he began to have some of the same symptoms again - namely dermatitis herpetiformis & hearing loss -- only this time it is more widespread over his body. He is miserable and desperate for relief, which doctors. are working on - but wonder if anyone else has experienced the same relapse after being gluten-free for a couple of years and a complete cessation of symptoms?. Lactose & dairy haven't been a problem.

 
Sue Jones
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said this on
01 Aug 2010 9:54:30 AM PST
I have had a similar experience with dermatitis coming back after a period of years. For me the skin rash seems to be closely connected to my difficulty to digest fat. I have had success with liver flushes causing me to get rid of many gallstones. My information came from Dr. Hulda Clark who has written many books. I am recently also adding more digestive aids to help with fat digestion.

 
faith
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said this on
27 Oct 2010 2:56:10 PM PST
Have you seen a dermatologist yet? I had a red raised itchy and hot to the touch rash and after a biopsy was taken it came back as EAC a complication from the Immune system and inflammation. was given Prednisone and was the only thing that brought relief.

 
Cameo
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said this on
21 Jan 2011 5:24:49 PM PST
OMG I had shingles last summer - got Prednisone. Felt energy for the first time in a decade! Shingles gone, mouth sores gone, happy, eat gluten free healthy just fine. Then, NOT ONE DOCTOR WILL GIVE ME PREDNISONE AGAIN? I'm "60"...not the drugie type: just want to have my immune system calm. Considering going to Mexico to get PREDNISONE to feel alive again. Any advice? I am miserable and fatigued 24/7. help.

 
lynn
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said this on
13 Jan 2012 8:33:58 PM PST
You need to get your adrenal glands checked. What you may need is cortisol, not prednisone. You don't want to be on prednisone if you can help it. It could destroy your adrenal glands over time! Get a saliva cortisol test. Or you can go to a Naturopath and ask for a saliva cortisol test. This is more accurate than a blood test, although for some reason MD's don't like to do saliva testing. You should also get your thyroid tested: TSH, Free T3, Free T4, and thyroid antibodies.

 
Jen
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said this on
23 Mar 2013 11:07:37 AM PST
Cameo, please be careful with prednisone, it is like a miracle drug and makes you feel so much better but if used for too long it causes a lot of other damage to your system. This happened to my mother. She wanted to stay on it forever and it ended up causing her bones to weaken and she developed osteoporosis. I don't know if you will see this post as it appears I am replying two years later but good luck with your health issues and please be careful with prednisone.

 
Lorraine hall
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said this on
04 Aug 2011 8:49:31 AM PST
I know this reply is a bit late, as I have only just read it. Does your husband eat fresh gluten free bread? Most of the fresh stuff contains codex wheat starch, which some celiacs can't tolerate, it makes them ill.

 
danielle
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said this on
06 Oct 2012 5:43:07 PM PST
There is another form of celiac disease out there called refractory sprue. Basically from what I have read about it, treatment is eating a more natural diet of fresh fruits and veggies... no processed foods. I am not sure how it is diagnosed but it is out there and very rare.

 
victor
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said this on
16 Oct 2010 5:15:12 PM PST
How long does it take for gluten symptoms to go away after not consuming it anymore??

I still have symptoms but it could be from the dairy products after reading this... or it could be the gluten symptoms wearing off.

 
Anna
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said this on
20 Nov 2010 9:15:02 AM PST
Here I am 69 years old and diagnosed about a year ago. The terrible gastric distress (the runs, pain, vomiting) from dairy and gluten were mixed together until I learned that I could tolerate neither one, but perhaps dairy in the future. So I stopped both and really felt magically better. Sheep and goat no problem. I would try cow and at first, would run to the bathroom within a half hour! Now, no problem.

But I agree with Sue that my symptoms tend to return when I eat fried food or fats. I never had that problem before OR I feel so good now that I really notice the difference when I feel bad. By the way, to answer Victor, when I ended the gluten, within 2 days, I was pain free and nausea free! Like magic! Thoough I get a little symptomatic when I eat more fat than usual. Probably a lesson here... Fat not so good anyhow...

All comments are very helpful to me. Thanks so much.

 
Pau
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said this on
14 Dec 2010 6:52:45 PM PST
Since being diagnosed with celiac I can't take vitamin supplement so I opt for B12 shots every month. Works wonders, gives me energy. I've not been sick in the 2.7 years since my diagnosis, I used to get a bad cold every fall/winter. My autoimmune system seems supercharged though I still have flare-ups I'm working on identifying the food that causes it.

 
Cameo
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said this on
21 Jan 2011 5:00:27 PM PST
Wow. I learned so much from this site. Me, Celiac + Lactose Intolerant + Insomnia + Vegetarian. OMG WHAT'S LEFT TO EAT?
Became "iron toxic" from eating ALL green. Afraid to eat anything. (no processed foods/canned foods/frozen foods). Any advice? Not one of 9 doctors asked me about diet! I must be my own doctor: most do not have a clue to the diet importance.

 
Lou
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said this on
30 Jan 2012 2:07:17 AM PST
The reason that doctors don't ask you about your diet very often is because they are not R.D.'s (Registered Dieticians). Often, the only nutrition related classes that they take in great detail are while they are getting their Bachelor's degree. Very little, if any, after that. Dr.'s are mainly taught to recognize symptoms and read results to diagnose problems. Most only know about diet related problems through their own studying or experience.

 
Lauren
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said this on
15 Apr 2011 4:28:04 AM PST
I am 19 and three years ago I was diagnosed celiac, I had severe eczema all over yet the dermatologists took a biopsy and said it was not dermatitis, so they have provided me with cyclosporine its incredible cleared up my eczema straight away now I can eat milk products and fatty products and it doesn’t flair up like it used to, however recently been having similar symptoms to that of gluten with cream, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Thornton’s chocolates and double cream but the doctors are reluctant to give me a lactose intolerant test, think they already think I’m using up enough of NHS money what with my gluten free products, it’s interesting to have read that the two are interlinked perhaps I’ll just stop eating lactose as well or go and get some of those Lactaid tablets!! Thanks for all your help!!

 
Greg
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said this on
16 Oct 2011 12:17:30 AM PST
I have been gluten free for two weeks and started feeling better right away. I have been eating ice cream and milk with a Lactaid pill and no problem until today when I ate some different ice cream than what I normally (Tillamook) ate, you guessed It BEN AND JERRY'S! I feel very bad...never again.

 
Colleen
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said this on
17 Aug 2011 7:25:31 AM PST
I have celiac disease and one day I ate some ice cream and started itching really badly all over..no rash, just very bad itching. I came to find out it was from celiac, so now no dairy or gluten!

 
Stephanie
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said this on
26 Aug 2011 6:52:33 PM PST
My mom, sister, and 2 aunts have celiac disease. I am lactose intolerant but as long as I stay on that diet I do not have any symptoms. Recently I had a positive Lupus test which then came back negative the 2nd time. I asked my doctor to test me for celiac and he did but the blood test came back as I did not have it. I am cold all the time and my family feels these are signs of celiac and that many people get false test results. Has anyone else had this or similar experiences that can offer me some advice? I do not want to be causing hard to my body and have future effects from it, but I also don't want to go on an expensive diet if I don't have to. I am 35 and have been lactose intolerant since I was about 23. Thank you for any insight!

 
Megan
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said this on
09 Sep 2011 5:14:57 AM PST
Stephanie, Try getting your thyroid tested. I have both hpyothyrodism and just recently tested positive for celiac disease. Some of the symptoms are similar like feeling cold and hair loss. It can't hurt to try. I've also had a false positive for lupus as well.

Goodluck. :)

 
Emily
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said this on
05 Oct 2011 7:57:19 AM PST
I also got negative from the blood, and from a biopsy. But I have cut out gluten anyway, and within 24 hours all my symptoms stopped. They have returned again recently (after 2 years GF) and it's only because I eat dairy, so I'm going to cut that out too.

My advice is, you can spend years and years trying to get the diagnosis from the doctors, and if you keep eating gluten, and end up seriously ill in a few years time, what's that to them? You're the only one who will be affected. Act as if you have the diagnosis, and see if you any better. I suffered for 23 years, almost everyday. Just try the diet, if you don't feel any different after 2 months, then stop. you may find that when you stop, your symptoms get worse. then at least you know. It can be expensive, but I don't get any prescriptions, and I manage. It's all about finding what 'normal' foods you can eat.

 
lynn
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said this on
13 Jan 2012 8:36:02 PM PST
If you are cold all the time you need to get your thyroid checked out. Get the following tests done: TSH, Free T3, Free T4, and thyroid antibodies!

 
Carol Phillips
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said this on
03 Jul 2013 6:49:32 PM PST
My nephew was recently diagnosed with Muckle-Wells disease. His symptoms were hives (since birth), joint pain, chills and eventually partial loss of hearing and eyesight. He's 25 and has never had anyone put all the symptoms together until now. It's a rare disease and not recognized by most physicians.

 
Georgia
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said this on
31 Jul 2015 7:16:32 AM PST
I have been diagnosed with celiac by my naturopath. I am staying far away from doctors as all of them have told me according to my blood test that I am not a celiac sufferer even though I have all the symptoms. Since I have been gluten soy and dairy free I feel fantastic. Do not trust the blood tests as most are not very correct and if you did not have much gluten in your diet on the day or day before your blood test it can come back negative.

 
Ute
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said this on
07 Oct 2011 12:46:22 PM PST
I have had celiacs for over 10 years (not sure since it only was diagnosed then) - Although I went on a gluten free diet I still had awful symptoms. Then I realized I could digest milk products and started to feel better once I stopped all milk products. Unfortunately I discovered that I already had some type of neuropathy which seems to be getting worse despite gluten and lactose free diet. I have terrible seasonal allergies that are getting worse. Anyone else have similar experiences?

 
Keesha
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said this on
24 Nov 2011 12:46:59 AM PST
These topics are so confusing but this heelped me get the job done.

 
adalaide taylor
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said this on
19 Jan 2012 10:59:19 AM PST
I have had celiac disease for 1 year. I have dermatitis and it is just as bad as it was when I was diagnosed. What's up with that?

 
Kristin N.
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said this on
05 Feb 2012 3:16:57 PM PST
If you've gone totally gluten free, but are still experiencing a lot of the symptoms, I would definitely stop eating dairy for awhile as well. But maybe more than that, I think it's a good idea to go on a candida diet, or close to it, if you can handle that (at least eliminate/reduce dairy, sugars, processed foods for awhile). An unhealthy celiac body is an easy target for yeast production - and that can cause a lot of similar symptoms.....skin problems, headaches, mucus, fatigue, brain fog, etc.

 
Leona
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said this on
05 Feb 2012 4:57:11 PM PST
I don't know my diagnosis, but my doctor suggested that I try a no lactose diet. It works a little. I might be eating food containing partly lactose. And hopefully I'm good with gluten. Alltogether comments are very useful.

 
shawn
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said this on
08 Feb 2012 5:38:58 PM PST
I've been diagnosed with celiac for 3 months, now the severe stomach bloating, even after going on a lactose free diet, I don't know what else to do, I am very miserable...any suggestions?

 
MikeS.

said this on
26 Apr 2013 4:57:45 AM PST
If you replaced dairy with soy milk, it could be the soy. It gives some people severe gas too.

 
JUDY
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said this on
26 Feb 2012 10:00:30 AM PST
This helped me SO much. I have celiac for a year and now I believe (after reading the blogs) I have a dairy problem also!
Thanks for the info.

 
Garland
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said this on
08 Jul 2012 1:54:35 PM PST
I have taken the york test for food allergies and come back intolerant to dairy and wheat/gluten. I believe I do not suffer from celiac disease but I am possibly lactose intolerant. This is a really rubbish situation as I'm sure a lot of you know. I am in my early teens and the thought of facing these awful skin outbreaks (I get the red dry flaky patches as mentioned further up and also a rash that covers most of my body, I also get recurring ear infections) really gets me down a lot. I am interested to find out more about these lactaid pills and if they could help me in any way.

 
spartangrl
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said this on
14 Aug 2012 11:14:33 AM PST
I have tested for celiac through blood work and biopsy, both negative. However, I have the symptoms and feel better avoiding gluten. I have excluded dairy and now feel that almost normal again, excluding the feeling of constant hunger. I avoid gluten and dairy and take a digestive enzyme but still feel constant starving. Does anyone feel this way after changing their diet? What else can be done to gain nutritional satisfaction?

 
Jay
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said this on
08 Nov 2012 6:34:25 AM PST
Did you try the Cybrex test out of Arizona? It is a very comprehensive gluten intolerant test.

 
carol
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said this on
05 Sep 2012 8:36:21 AM PST
Great site! I'm lactose, soy, and gluten intolerant. I also have to be careful with fiber (eating too many vegetables). Most packed foods cause me to dump. I live and carry immodium all the time. Never sure what to eat?

 
Rose
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said this on
07 Oct 2012 12:19:19 PM PST
It seems I have become lactose intolerant. I believe I have been for a while. I am 62. So you think I should be tested for celiac disease to make sure that the lactose intolerance isn't the result of celiac?

 
judy
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said this on
07 Jan 2013 7:10:31 PM PST
I was diagnosed with celiac just over a year ago and just today was told I am probably lactic intolerant. I haven't been tested yet, that happens next week. I will know more after the test and hope to feel better soon. I am sick and tired of feeling this bad. I am so good about gluten, but still sick. I am 72.

 
Pete
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said this on
23 Mar 2013 2:20:35 AM PST
I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2007, but have only recently started having issues with lactose. From reading all the other comments, I think it's safe to say that everybody is different and your symptoms may occur at different times.

 
chantel
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said this on
09 Apr 2013 9:33:37 PM PST
I'm 16 and haven't been diagnosed with celiac yet, but am being tested. I have just recently cut all gluten out of my diet and I was better the next day. I realized that dairy affects me as well, but was wondering if anyone has had pain in their veins. My grandma is a RN and said it was because my stomach could be leaking into my blood stream. Just wondering if it had anything to do with celiac disease?

 
john

said this on
22 Jun 2013 1:17:11 AM PST
I am a coeliac (15 years) and I have tried so many times to bring milk into my diet (for the health benefits) it's not funny. UHT trim milk almost works a bit but mucus still develops eventually and a general tiredness after consumption.Rotating food helps a bit if that's possible. I look to get my calcium but eating sardines .I now its not conventional but a meat only diet including fish(well cook the red meat),vegetables , some fruit seems to work best for me. Uninspiring I know but survivable.Depending on your sensitivity I have found that after avoiding dairy the occasional diversion (once a month) can be tolerated.

 
robin
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said this on
24 Oct 2013 7:04:54 PM PST
I wish restaurant owners would read this. So many of the gluten free options in restaurants contain dairy.

 
stacey
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said this on
23 Mar 2014 7:59:04 AM PST
I totally agree. Even when family try to accommodate me for picnics and barbecues, they are disappointed when they go out of their way to find GF foods, but find out I can't eat them because of the lactose intolerance.

 
jonie
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said this on
27 Jul 2014 4:40:53 PM PST
Lactose intolerance and celiac disease are NO fun. Shocking when dieticians from reputable hospital recommend a product and upon looking at the ingredient list it contained milk powder! They don't get it and it's very frustrating as a patient!

 
Karenvo

said this on
05 Apr 2014 12:10:28 AM PST
I have been diagnosed for two years and am 100% loyal to my GF diet (not including accidental cross contamination). I am also on a high salt/high protein diet for a heart condition. I have been consuming Greek yogurt for a lot of that protein. After looking at this site, I am going to greatly decrease my intake of dairy to see if there are any further improvements to my health. For those who are new on the GF diet....hang in there. You will go through a "mourning phase", and a "denial phase", and an "anger phase", but eventually you will be at "acceptance" and you will find that when people are around you consuming those cookies and doughnuts, you really don't care anymore, because you know how much better you feel now over the past life with gluten. I have been on the diet loyally for two years, minus one day when we celebrated out anniversary, our should I say, I ruined our anniversary, and I am not even tempted. There are things I miss, but not enough to return to the pain and illness.




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