A-Z: Lactose

What is lactose?
Lactose is a disaccharide sugar made of glucose and galactose. It is the sugar found in milk products from humans and many mammals (including cows) (1).

What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose is normally digested by the lactase enzyme. Lactase breaks the bond (shown in red above) allowing each of the simple sugars to be readily absorbed in the intestines or fermented by intestinal bacteria. Without lactase (or adequate amounts of lactase), gastro-intestinal symptoms of gas, bloating, and cramps. Individuals with lactose intolerance may consume dairy alternatives or take lactase (pill or powder) prior to consuming dairy foods.

This information is not meant for medical treatment but rather general information. If you have concerns, please discuss them with your healthcare provider.

1. Adan AC, Rubio-Texeria M, Polaina J. Lactose: the milk sugar from a biotechnological perspective. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2004;44(7-8):553-537. 

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