Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is a disaccharide that is produced in lactating mammals as an energy source for newborns

  • Lactose is digested into glucose and galactose by the enzyme lactase – this occurs within the small intestine

As mammals typically only intake milk as part of the weaning process, the production of lactase typically decreases after infancy

  • Without lactase, lactose will pass intact into the large intestine, where it is broken down by probiotic bacteria

As part of the bacterial fermentation process, large amounts of gas are produced

  • This leads to the various ailments associated with lactose intolerance – including abdominal bloating, cramps and flatulence

A proportion of the human population possess a mutation that maintains lactase production in adulthood

The Role of Lactase and Lactose Intolerance

lactose intolerance