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Most Humans Are Lactose Intolerant
 
 
You may have heard the statement “we are the only species on the planet that drinks milk from another species”?  It is fact a true statement.  What has changed is that over time milk from cows, sheep and goats have become a staple in our diets but this is not what nature or your original biological make up intended.  With this evolution of change has also come the need for your bodies to adapt and through each new generation your genetic make up is evolving to allow for the continued production of the enzyme lactase. (although not yet in quantities that you need) Going back to the beginning ….
As an infant your body naturally came equipped with the enzyme “Lactase”, whose sole purpose is to breakdown human mothers’ milk for absorption. After weaning, there is a dramatic decrease of the lactase enzyme of your infant, eventually to the point where the body has not more reserves and is not producing any new lactase enzymes.   What has started to changed is that after weaning the child, whose grows into and adult starts to and continue to drink milk from another species putting further drain and decline on the lactase enzyme.  Keep in mind your body is not naturally equipped to produce lactase after infancy and the strain of even the small amounts that you may be able to squeeze out is not an easy process which is why more humans are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is when the body does not produce enough lactase to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk and many other milks derived dairy products. The lactase enzyme is found on the walls of the intestines and requires healthy gut bacteria to even keep the enzyme active. Undigested lactose in the small intestine acts like sponging agent, pulling water and electrolytes into the intestines, which results in diarrhea, bloating and gassiness.  There are certainly a number of people that can drink milk without any bowel distress, they are referred to as “lactase persistent”, for reference consider these people the generations whose genetic make up has better adapted to the changing requirements of the human diet
 
 
Can Lactase Enzyme Help?
 
 
Keeping in mind that dairy products contain a type of sugar called lactose, your body needs the enzyme called “lactase” to break down lactose. Lactose is large sugar like molecule which cannot be absorbed naturally by your body. In order to metabolize this form of sugar, your body needs lactase to break down lactose into two smaller particles for absorption by the cells in your intestine.  Without this enzyme, lactose remains in your digestive tract and cannot be used by your body. Supplementation with a lactase enzyme before consuming dairy products can help. A lactase deficiency begins 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingesting milk or a similar dairy
product. Symptoms include bloating of the stomach, abdominal cramps, flatulence, nausea and diarrhea. The lactase in the supplements dissolves the sugar contained in the food and this permits your body to absorb the sugar.  As with all supplements make sure to use reputable brands that not only do 3rd party testing (Issura Testing) but use quality ingredients and researched formulation.  Natural Factors Lactase Enzyme is a good choice to help prevent the symptoms of lactose intolerance. As it is an enzyme that works directly on lactose present in food being ingested, the capsules must be taken each time lactose-containing foods are consumed as the enzyme only works on the food just consumed. Lactase has no lasting effect beyond the meal with which it is taken and does not help your body to produce this enzyme.  Natural Factors also has a number of probiotics which is an essential part of a lactose intolerance diet, also 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 greater lactase production, or at the very least, aid in digestion.
 
Resources
 
https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/LCT
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14616060
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11157352
http://www.altmedrev.com/archive/publications/13/4/307.pdf
 
 
 
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