What Is A Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is one of the most common food intolerances in the world. In fact, some estimates suggest that as much as 65% of the world’s population could be mildly lactose intolerant – but the majority of these people have no idea.

If you’ve noticed symptoms such as bloating after consuming milk products, you could well be lactose intolerant. But what exactly is lactose, and why are so many people unable to digest it?  

At Lifelab Testing, we’ve helped thousands of people to diagnose their lactose intolerance. In this blog post, we’ll be explaining what this condition is, what the symptoms are, and how you can test if you have it.

milk bottles

What is lactose?

Lactose is a type of sugar that’s found in milk and other dairy products. By weight, lactose usually makes up between 2 and 8% of milk and is responsible for its sweet taste.

Some people think that skimmed milk is safer to drink for those with lactose intolerances, but this isn’t the case. Skimmed milk has only had the fat removed, so this won’t affect the amount of proteins or sugar which it contains.

Why are people lactose intolerant?

When people are lactose intolerance, it means that their small intestine isn’t producing enough of an enzyme called lactase. Lactase is the component which enables us to break lactose down in our digestive system, where it can be easily absorbed into our bloodstream.

If you’re lactose intolerant, it’s possible to take lactase supplements (otherwise known as enzyme tablets) to boost the amount of lactase in your body. However, for people with severe intolerances, it’s usually recommended either to switch to lactose-free dairy products or to cut out milk from their diets completely.

What are the symptoms of a lactose intolerance?

The main symptoms of lactose intolerance are a range of digestive problems. These can include:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain

If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming dairy products, lactose intolerance could be the answer. But similar digestive problems can also be caused by a range of other conditions, so it’s important to find out for sure what’s behind your issues.

Order your intolerance test today

The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be difficult – and painful – to live with. If you suspect you might be unable to process lactose, the easiest way to find out for sure is by taking an intolerance test. At Lifelab, our intolerance kits can check for 40 common food and drink intolerances. Why not order yours today?  

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