Hello friends! I hope you’re having a wonderful day. I apologize for the blip in blogging; I have been crazy busy with school and experiencing simultaneous computer issues. I am really hoping my laptop holds out for service until winter break. I really need it! Eep! Anyways, today while studying for a test, I was reviewing lactose intolerance and thought “Gee, this is interesting. Maybe I can procrastinate studying by writing a blog post about what causes lactose intolerance.”
So here we are! Procrastinating studying by writing about something else I’m studying. Do I know how to have a good time or what? But all jokes aside – this is a topic that impacts the majority of people (yup, more people are lactose intolerant than tolerant – read on to find out why).
I grew up super duper lactose intolerant, and that was back in the day before there was a dairy-free version of everything (I remember kids making fun of my Silk Very Vanilla boxes of soy milk, which by the way, are still delicious). Luckily, lactose intolerance is easy for most to manage, especially nowadays thanks to the dairy-free boom. But let’s chat about what lactose intolerance actually is, and why it happens. Read on!
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, which is the main sugar found in milk. Lactase, an enzyme, breaks lactose into glucose and galactose, to be absorbed by your small intestine.
People with lactose intolerance have insufficient lactase, meaning lactose in milk can’t properly be split into glucose and galactose for easier absorption.
Instead, individuals who are lactose intolerant have undigested lactose in their colon. Bacteria flock to the lactose to try to break it down. This fermentation process causes osmosis (meaning it brings water to the area) and creates gas, which comes out as, well, gas. The bacterial breakdown of lactose leads to the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.
What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?
Bloating, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, stomach rumbling/gurgling sounds, and indigestion upon ingestion of milk or milk products.
Some people may even vomit upon ingestion of lactose-foods.
What causes lactose intolerance in humans?
As it turns out, lactase deficiency is actually the norm for most adult populations. In most mammals (including humans), the gene that transcribes for lactase to be produced is turned off as the mammal matures after weaning off milk from their mothers, limiting their ability to digest milk after childhood.…