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Thu, 20 Jun 2013
Lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks the enzyme needed to break down lactose, the natural sugar in milk. This undigested lactose causes the body to become irritated.
Lactose in the natural sugar found in milk. If you are lactose Intolerant your body lacks the enzyme ‘lactase’ which is needed to break lactose down. This undigested lactose then causes the body to become irritated.
In order to digest lactose, we need an enzyme called lactase, which is specifically designed to breakdown milk sugar in the digestive system.
For some people, the amount of lactase produced in the body is not enough to digest lactose properly and this can cause the milk sugar to stay undigested in
Any undigested lactose will then pass into the large intestine (colon) where it will be fermented by bacteria which live in the gut. These bacteria then produce gases and fatty acids which cause bloating, flatulence, stomach
cramps and diarrhoea.
This means that lactose Intolerance runs in your family and is very rare. The body doesn’t produce any of the enzyme ‘lactase’. In this case, lactose needs to be completely omitted from the diet.
This is more common in certain races, for example African, Asian, and American Indians. In this case the amount of lactase made by the body reduces after infancy. You will need to manage your lactose intake for life.
This occurs when the small bowel is damaged due to inflammation of the gut wall, for example, in Crohn’s disease, Coeliac disease or Gastroenteritis. This intolerance is usually temporary and eventually resolves. You will need to eat less lactose for the duration of the disease activity or until the gut heals and lactase levels return to normal.
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