Lactose is a healthy carbohydrate which is commonly available in milk and milk products. It has two simpler sugar units namely glucose and galactose. Lactose enhances the absorption of calcium which is very essential for your bone health. Additionally, lactose is the only source of galactose, a simple sugar which is necessary for good brain function and a healthy immune system. Lactose that reaches your body through food sources is broken down into its simpler units by the action of lactase enzyme. This normal process of lactose metabolism happens in the small intestine. When there is a disturbance in the activity of lactase enzyme, lactose without being broken down into its simpler units reaches the large intestine, where it causes gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.
Lactase enzyme activity is controlled by gene. Therefore individuals carrying variations in this gene have reduced lactase activity and may experience difficulties in digesting lactose. In some people a genetic variation in the gene prevents the LCT gene from being turned off thereby the activity of lactase enzyme optimally persists even during adulthood while most us cannot metabolize lactose. So now you know why your tummy calls out each time you consume milk or its allies
A DNA assessment determining the presence/absence of this mutation helps in assessing his/her ability to metabolize thereby allowing to modify their dietary intake of lactose and calcium