Although milk and milk products are commonly available and consumed on a daily basis throughout the world there are still an ever growing amount of people who are Lactose intolerent (LI). Lactose intolerance is actually the most common disorder in the world today.Lactose is in fact a disaccharide, meaning it consists of two saccharides (sugars) joined together. The term Lactose Intolerent is used to describe a condition whereupon not enough of the enzyme Lactase is being produced within the small intestine to seperate the saccharides(sugars) from each other. This leads to an inability to break down significant amounts of Lactose.
As Lactase breaks down the lactose, the main sugar in milk, into two smaller sugars (glucose and galactose) which is then absorbed in the bloodstream, it very easy to see why it is of significant importance.As far as is known, lactose itself has no real nutritional value for adults although is the most important source of energy during the first year of a human’s life, providing approximately half the total energy requirement of infants.
Lactose can be found in a huge variety of products within the food industry such as,sweets, confectionery, bread and sausages because of its physiological properties: lactose provides good texture and binds water and colour. Lactose is only about a third as sweet as normal sugar (glucose) and less than half as sweet as glucose.
The most common signs of Lactose Intolerance are abdominal bloating, cramping pain and flatulence. Diarrhoea can also be a common symptom as well but varies from one person to another, depending on the amount of lactose they can tolerate and also depends on the quantity of lactose they have consumed.
Other noticeable symptoms could be Nausea,vomiting and there could also be weightloss if left untreated for any length of time.
Although there is currently no cure for Lactose Intolerancy there is in fact gene therapy tests being undertaken which have proved to be successful on animals but may well be a long way off being available for humans.A more readily available way of treating lactose intolerance is by the intake of digestive enzymes. Tablets or capsules containing lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, should be taken immediately before having food containing lactose.
It is not neccessarily true that Lactose Intolerant sufferers must avoid all dairy products, some people are only mildly affected and are only slightly troubled by certain products whereas others find it much moe of a problem.Getting tested to confirm the presence of Lactose Intolerance is the first step and will be followed by planning a new diet to accomodate it.
One thing for sure is that Lactose Intolerance can be controlled quite successfully with a huge range of nutritional supplements to help to manage it
By Jay Jeffers