LACTOSE INTOLERANCE IN A FEW WORDS
Lactose is a sugar primarily found in milk. Our bodies possess an enzyme called lactase, which is responsible for breaking down this sugar. However, individuals with lactose intolerance experience a reduced activity or absence of this enzyme. As a result, lactose is not properly digested, leading to varying degrees of digestive issues such as bloating, flatulence, intestinal cramps, and diarrhea.
- These symptoms typically manifest within minutes to hours after consuming lactose. The only effective treatment for lactose intolerance is the complete removal of lactose from the diet.
WHAT IS LACTOSE ?
- Lactose is a sugar. It is the main sugar present in milk and is only found in milk or its derived products.
- Our body has an enzyme, lactase, to break down lactose and thus allow its digestion.
- Lactose is present in all dairy products: milk, yoghurt, butter, cheese... But also in all products and dishes prepared from its ingredients (sauces, pastries for example).
WHAT IS LACTOSE INTOLERANCE?
In the early ages of life, lactose plays an indispensable nutritional role and rarely poses a problem. However, over time, the activity of the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose may decrease.
Individuals with lactose intolerance experience a reduced production or complete absence of lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose. Consequently, when lactose is consumed, it cannot be fully digested. Instead, it undergoes fermentation by intestinal bacteria, leading to the onset of digestive symptoms.
Lactose intolerance can either be acquired or present from birth. In some cases, it may be a result of other digestive disorders, such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or gastroenteritis. These conditions can contribute to the development of lactose intolerance alongside their primary symptoms.