Managing Lactose Intolerance
Many adults are unable to digest lactose, the naturally occurring sugar found in milk. Lactose intolerance can result in diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain.
Lactose is the predominant sugar in milk products. An enzyme called lactase is produced in the small intestine and breaks down lactose so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. People whose bodies do not make enough lactase to fully digest lactose are unable to break down lactose and may experience mild to severe side effects within 30 minutes to two hours of eating dairy. This condition, called lactose intolerance, is very common. It is not usually serious, but its symptoms can be bothersome.
Approximately 75 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. The condition is more common among African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans than among people of Northern European descent. Few infants are affected by lactose intolerance; usually, it occurs naturally as people mature and stop producing lactase. This process begins around age two, although symptoms may not appear until much later in life.
This information about Lactose Intolerance is provided courtesy of www.lactaid.com.
Many lactose intolerant individuals are able to consume fermented dairy products, such as yogourt, with fewer symptoms than the same amount of milk. Yogourt was found to aid digestion of lactose because the lactic acid bacteria used to make yogourt produces lactase and digests the lactose.