Lactose Intolerance…

Friday Apr 2, 2010

Most nutrient molecules in our body must be broken down by enzymes in the digestive system before they can be absorbed.

Lactose, “milk sugar”, must be broken down into glucose and galactose (refer to my previous post “Confusion over sugar”) in order to be absorbed in the small intestine. The enzymes that perform this task are found on the surface of the small intestine, they are called lactase.

In certain individuals with a condition known as lactose intolerance, however, this is not the case.  Lactose intolerance develops when the body stops producing the enzyme lactase.  When this occurs a person begins to have trouble digesting lactose and thus, cannot absorb it.

The problem with this is that lactose remains in the intestine, serving as a nutrient for bacteria that normally live there.  Lactose stimulates bacterial growth and the resultant production of gas and other waste products.  These substances irritate the lining of the intestine and cause bloating, discomfort, and diarrhea.

Lactose intolerant individuals experience these symptoms after drinking milk or eating other daily products and therefore eventually learn to avoid them.

Lactose intolerance has a genetic basis and is more prevalent among certain people.  It has been estimated that this condition affects over 50% of adults worldwide.

Although there is no cure, new commercial products that allow affected individuals to indulge their taste for dairy products include pills containing enzymes that can break down lactose, as well as lactose-free milk.

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4 Comments »

Thanks for the great info! I guess I fall into the category of those 50% :/

April 3rd, 2010 | 9:20 am

Me too 🙁

April 12th, 2010 | 9:03 am

There are so many lactose free products out there that being lactose intolerant shouldn’t be a hassle but rather a lifestyle…
You should try non-daily products like almond milk… It is high in vitamins, calcium, as well as low in fat and calories…great alternative! 🙂
Also, if you enjoy cheese, the bacteria that is used to make the cheese feeds on lactose, therefore the older the cheese the less lactose it would have. So you should choose aged cheeses rather then fresh, or processed cheeses.

If you know any delicious lactose free products, share them with others to enjoy as well 🙂

April 12th, 2010 | 9:56 am

this isn’t a bad website to go to for lactose free product info. http://www.annecollins.com/list-of-lactose-free-foods.htm

May 27th, 2010 | 4:40 pm
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