WHAT IS LACTOSE INTOLERANCE?
Milk is very beneficial to our health and provides us with many good substances. Despite this, some people have problems with digesting dairy products. This is caused by lactose intolerance (hypolactation), a condition that prevents the normal metabolism of the milk sugar (lactose). It is one of the most frequent disorders of metabolisms in humans, but this disease is not well-known to the general public.
Perhaps, many are not even aware that they can consume a suitable milk, despite their problems, and simply exclude all dairy products from their diet. This could be harmful to health, since milk and dairy products contain several vitamins and minerals, such as A, B1, B2, B6, B12, D, E and others, which prevent various diseases, of which osteoporosis is the most common. This is not recommended due to the many benefits of milk and it is also why Ljubljanske Mlekarne offers dairy products that do not contain milk sugar.
There are various factors that affect the metabolism of lactose in the human body. One of the most important is the quality of consumed lactose (i.e. cow’s milk contains 50 g/l, while breast milk contains 75 g/l), and the quantity of consumed lactose that remained in the digestive tract in adults. Beside these two factors, the time of food travelling from consumption to secretion and the ability of the intestinal microflora to metabolise lactose are also important.
THE OCCURRENCE OF LACTOSE INTOLERANCE
We know several types of lactose intolerance that have different symptoms. After being born, most children develop the ability to secrete the lactase enzyme, which enables lactose in breast milk to break down to glucose and galactose. A child needs increasingly more energy for healthy growth and development. For this reason, children have to obtain several nutrients, and breast milk quickly becomes insufficient for this purpose. Eventually, a child’s diet will require many other types of food (fruit, vegetable, meat, fish, cereals, etc.).
With changed eating habits, the ability of the lactase enzyme to break down into glucose and galactose decreases, but not in the same way for everyone. In some people, the activity of the lactase enzyme decreases to such an extent that intestinal problems are caused. Physicians often diagnose such symptoms as lactose intolerance.
Some people also cannot metabolize lactose due to the deficiency for the enzyme ß-galactosidase, which breaks down lactose, and have problems from their childhood on. In those individuals, the activity of this enzyme increases to the highest level after birth and keeps increasing for a few days after, when the digestive surface is expanding. In late childhood, the activity of the enzyme ß-galactosidase decreases, in 70% of the world population even to the level which causes lactose intolerance in adults.