Lactase is the enzyme that helps us digest milk and other dairy products. Although most of us are born with the ability to naturally produce enough lactase to properly digest dairy foods, production of lactase can be slowed or stopped, resulting in rather uncomfortable digestive complaints when dairy products are consumed. Supplementing with lactase can help you digest your favorite dairy foods without the intestinal repercussions.*
Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactase is the enzyme produced by the lining of the small intestine that breaks up lactose into the simple sugar monosaccharides glucose and galactose, which get absorbed into the bloodstream. If there is not sufficient lactase enzyme present, lactose travels undigested to the colon where intestinal bacteria will feed upon it. This is what causes the uncomfortable symptoms of lactose intolerance—abdominal bloating and cramping, diarrhea, gas, nausea.
Although lactose intolerance is not dangerous, it can be an uncomfortable condition to live with. Some individuals are born lactose intolerant, but the condition can develop overtime as we age—the body’s ability to produce lactase decreases with age—or can be due to illness, surgery or injury to the small intestine.