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Lactose is the predominant sugar of milk. Lactoseintolerance is the inability to digest it in significant amounts and it is acondition that bothers approximately fifty million Americans. This condition isa result of lactase shortage which is produced by the intestine lining. Lactosegets broken down by lactase into simpler forms in order to be absorbed into thebloodstream. The distressing result is triggered by the insufficient amounts oflactase needed for the digestion of lactose.

The production of enzymes gets reduced due to variousdiseases and injuries of the digestive tract and the small intestines. Lactoseintolerance usually develops over time as the body begins to produce smalleramounts of lactase.

Lactose intolerance is characterized by certain symptomswhich usually occurs after ingesting food that is rich in lactose. Thesesymptoms includes gas, bloating, cramps, diarrhea and nausea, and their severitylargely depends on the amount of lactose a person is able to tolerate. One’sabsorption of lactose in the digestive system can be measured using three typesof tests: the hydrogen breath test, lactose tolerance test and the stoolacidity test.

It is not possible to increase the production of lactase inthe human body, but lactose intolerance can be treated fairly easily by meansof a carefully planned diet. Different people tolerate lactose in their ownindividual ways. One must find the perfect diet through trial and errordepending on the amount and the types of milk products that can be handled. Peoplewho have troubles digesting smaller amounts of lactose can use lactaseadditives or a lactase tablet in order to digest lactose more efficiently. Asolution that is slightly more expensive is the lactose-free milk.

Milk is a very important source of calcium which is veryimportant for the growth, strength and repair of bones. Osteoporosis andfragile bones are usually the result of calcium shortage. People who sufferfrom lactose intolerance can ingest fish and green vegetables since they arealso great sources of calcium but they contain little or no lactose at all.Yogurt is another potent alternative because it contains higher amounts oflactose, but its bacterial cultures actually contribute to the production oflactase. Grocery items that contained lactose are margarine, instant products,processed cereals, bread, candies, salad dressings and certain types of meat. Lactaidcan also be very useful because of its ability to reduce lactose to glucose andgalactose.

In order to prevent lactose intolerance one should take milkwith meals only, ingest low-lactose types of cheese, eat more yogurt, andpretreat milk with products like Lactaid.

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