Why Some People Are Lactose Intolerant by anamaulida


									We all start out drinking milk in one form or another. So why do so many
of us seem to "grow into" lactose intolerance? Lactose intolerance, as
you may know, results in the digestive discomfort that comes from
consuming lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products.Most people
in the U.S. are born with the ability to digest lactose. Infants
naturally produce an enzyme called lactase in their systems that enables
them to break down lactose, which is present in breast milk, as well as
cow's milk. Infants who may be lactose intolerant are fed lactose-free
commercially prepared formulas, often containing soy milk.As the years go
by, the incidence of intolerance in the population increases. That's
because our bodies are genetically programmed to produce less and less
lactase as we mature. Eventually we start to experience the symptoms of
intolerance when we drink milk or eat ice cream, cheese, yogurt, sour
cream, or other dairy products. The symptoms are uncomfortable - gas,
bloating, cramps and diarrhea - and at times, embarrassing.Since not
everyone becomes lactose intolerant, what determines who is at risk for
developing the telltale digestive discomfort that comes from consuming
foods with lactose? Researchers have discovered some interesting findings
about lactose intolerance:Postmenopausal women are more likely to start
to experience the symptoms of intolerance compared to men in the same age
group. However, lactase production slows down as part of the natural
aging process for both and women.Ethnic descent can determine who will
develop lactose intolerance. Descendants of Northern European countries
are less likely to develop intolerance until later in life. In cultures
where dairy products were not typically consumed after weaning, the body
naturally produces less of the lactase enzyme. These percentages show the
prevalence of lactose intolerance among certain ethnic
groups:•Chinese: 95%
•Native Americans: 90%
•Asian-Americans: 90%
•South Americans: 75%
•African-Americans: 75%
•Hispanics: 55%Infection and digestive tract disorders can cause a
drop in the level of lactase production, even if only temporarily. If
your body isn't generating this enzyme, you will probably experience the
symptoms of intolerance.Some antibiotics can block the body's ability to
produce lactase while they are in your system.New research continues to
give us insight into the likelihood of developing lactose intolerance. A
statement released by The National Institutes of Health during its
conference in February of 2010 on "Lactose Intolerance and Health"
discusses the prevalence of lactose intolerance by race, ethnicity and
age.You can also learn more about lactose intolerant from people who have
discovered how to cope with it successfully. On the website for Lactagen,
a program that makes it possible for people who are lactose intolerant to
eat dairy products comfortably, people of various ages and ethnicities
share their stories: a mother of a child diagnosed with intolerance, a
chemotherapy patient, and a physician, among others.For those who have
experienced the digestive discomfort of intolerance and wondered "Why
me?" it's comforting to understand the reasons for intolerance. If you've
longed for the days when you could enjoy dairy products, consider
exploring programs like Lactagen. You can't turn back the clock or change
your genetic history, but you can target strategies for managing the
symptoms of lactose intolerance.

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