While milk remains an essential dairy product consumed as beverage or food ingredient for its vital nutrients, only a fraction of the population actually digest the compounds in milk efficiently and without issue. Infants and young children prefer to drink their milk formulas bought from the store simply because these products have sweeteners. Otherwise, real milk that’s been squeezed fresh from a cow’s udder rarely taste sweet if at all. Mostly, fresh milk is just a bland affair best added to food when cooking. Actually, the difference in taste isn’t the saddest thing about milk, but the inability of most adults to digest the compounds in milk that’s commonly referred to as lactose intolerance.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is a condition where the body lacks an enzyme known as lactase. People with this condition exhibit signs, such as diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and cramps whenever they consume milk or milk products. Additionally, people react differently with various milk products since every person’s tolerance level to lactose also varies. Some individuals are slightly affected whereas others experience adverse effects to the point where they shall require immediate medical attention.
How does lactase work?
Lactase is an enzyme that is found in the small intestine’s lining and is produced by the mucus cells. It is a catalyst that serves to aid the digestion process by breaking down lactose into galactose and glucose. Once broken down, these two compounds are in a form the body can easily digest.
Failure to digest milk can be attributed to a variety of reasons such as injuries to the digestive tract or old age. However, the prominent cause is advancement in age. If you suspect that you are intolerant to lactase, then it is highly recommended that you first consult your physician. A doctor will ask about your medical history and may even carry out several tests before making a definite diagnosis. In case you are found to be lactose intolerant, a prescription of supplements in form of tablets or drops will be given to you.
Lactose intolerance is a condition that can be contained. With the right advice from your doctor, you can gladly go back to consuming milk and its related products without having to worry about side effects associated with the inability to break down its compounds.
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