Lactose intolerance – the milk sugar intolerance
Many people ask themselves, “What is lactose intolerance?”
The best first: All our hay milk cheeses in the Alpen Sepp Shop are lactose-free – the milk sugar was 100% utilized by the lactic acid bacteria.
People with lactose intolerance can not or only insufficiently digest milk sugar (lactose or lactose). If people take lactose-containing products, they may experience abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, or diarrhea. The reason for lactose intolerance is a deficiency or complete absence of the digestive enzyme lactase in the small intestine.
Lactose intolerance is a food intolerance due to an enzyme deficiency and not a food allergy.
Comparison: Cow’s milk allergy is different
Not to be confused is lactose intolerance with the rarely occurring cow milk allergy. This is a real allergy. The human immune system reacts to proteins (proteins) in cow’s milk.
Why do many people have lactose intolerance?
Presumably, about three-quarters of the world’s population can no longer completely break down lactose after about 4-6 years of age. Milk is almost baby food and this situation represents a natural state.
Originally humans could digest milk sugar only during the lactation well. With the emergence of livestock and the related adult consumption of milk, a genetic change has developed in certain populations. Because of this mutation, enough lactase is also found in the small intestine of adults.
For all other people, the ability to digest lactose decreases rapidly after weaning and reduces to as much as ten percent of baseline later in life.
What happens with lactose intolerance in the body?
Milk sugar is a double sugar. In infants and adults with lactase compatibility, milk sugar molecules in the small intestine are completely broken down into their constituents with the aid of the enzyme lactase and are taken up via the mucous membrane.
If people with intolerance ingest a large amount of lactose, only part of it will split up in the small intestine. The undigested remainder enters the large intestine. The bacteria there remove the milk sugar and it comes to gas formation.
Right – it is then fermented in the colon!
This produces various organic acids and gases. Often these can cause discomfort. The undigested lactose and organic acids retain water in the colon, which can lead to soft stools and diarrhea. The increasingly accumulating intestinal gases in turn inflate the intestine. The symptoms usually increase with the amount of milk sugar consumed.
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