Most Humans Are Lactose Intolerant
We are the only species on the planet that drinks milk from another species after weaning. Milk from cows, sheep and goats has become a staple in our diets, but this is not what nature, or your original biological makeup had intended. With this evolution of change, has also come the need for your bodies to adapt. And through each new generation, your genetic makeup is evolving to allow for the continued production of the enzyme
lactase. Let’s start at the beginning. As an infant, your body naturally came equipped with the enzyme "Lactase," whose sole purpose is to break down (human) mother’s milk for absorption. After weaning, the lactase enzyme decreases, and any intolerances tend to start to show up by the teenage years. The enzyme continues to decrease with the passing years, making the most vulnerable group to have an intolerance in their mid-fifties and beyond. This is not an exact science, and anyone at any age can develop a lactose intolerance. Your heritage can also determine how likely you are to have an intolerance, as well as the health of your digestive system. IBS, Crohns and allergies, such as Gluten intolerance, increase the likelihood as well. The lactase enzyme is found on the walls of the intestines and requires healthy gut bacteria to keep the enzyme active. Undigested lactose in the small intestine acts like a sponging agent, pulling water and electrolytes into the intestines, which results in diarrhea, bloating, nausea and gas. Some people can drink milk without any bowel distress and are referred to as "lactase persistent." For reference, consider that these people’s genetic makeup has better adapted to the changing requirements of the human diet.
Can Lactase Enzyme Help?
Keep in mind that dairy products contain a type of sugar called "lactose," and your body needs the enzyme called "lactase" to break down lactose. Lactose is the large sugar-like molecule which cannot be absorbed naturally by your body. To metabolize this form of sugar, your body needs "lactase." It breaks down "lactose" into smaller particles so that it can be absorbed by the cells in your intestine. Without this enzyme, lactose remains in your digestive tract causing digestive disturbances. Supplementation with a lactase enzyme before consuming dairy products can help. Symptoms of a lactase deficiency begin 30 minutes
to 2 hours after ingesting milk or similar dairy products. Watch for bloating of the stomach, abdominal cramps, flatulence, nausea and diarrhea. The lactase in the supplements dissolves the sugar contained in the dairy, which permits your body to absorb the sugar from the milk source properly. Natural Factors Lactase Enzyme is an excellent choice to help prevent the symptoms of lactose intolerance. It is an enzyme that works directly on the lactose present in the food you are ingesting. The capsules must be taken each time lactose-containing foods are consumed as the enzyme only works on the foods just consumed. Lactase has no lasting effects beyond the meal with which it is taken and does not help your body to produce this enzyme. Natural Factors also offers several probiotics, which are an essential part of a lactose intolerance diet. Additionally, the live or active cultures in yogurt, kefir, fermented vegetables and supplements help to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Increasing healthy bacteria in your gut may help to spur higher lactase production, or at the very least, aid in digestion.
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