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Lactase is a common enzyme that exists in the small intestine of many people. It is essential for digestion of lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk.
Not everyone produces enough lactase, resulting in difficulty or inability in digesting milk. Those who are lactose-intolerant often suffer from symptoms such as stomach cramps, gas, and diarrhoea. Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed by simply drinking two cups of milk on an empty stomach and seeing if any gastrointestinal symptoms develop over the next five hours. Repeat this test the next day using several ounces of cheese instead of milk. If gastrointestinal symptoms arise from consuming milk but not cheese, then it is likely that you are suffering from lactose intolerance. If the symptoms occur when consuming milk and cheese, then it is more likely that you have an allergy to dairy products.
Lactose intolerance in quite common. World-wide, only one-third of people have the ability to digest lactose in adulthood. Most individuals of Asian and African descent are lactose-intolerant. Half of Hispanics and about 20 percent of Caucasians do not produce lactase as adults.
Benefits of Lactase
Lactase has been used in connection with the following conditions in lactose-intolerant individuals: diarrhoea, indigestion, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome.
Dosage and Administration
There are a number of ways to deal with lactose intolerance. Lactose-reduced milk is available or lactase drops can easily be added to regular milk to reduce lactose levels. Lactase drops, capsules, and tablets can also be taken directly as needed.