How to Diagnose and Treat Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a really prevalent situation, affecting 57% of the world’s inhabitants, being extra widespread in Asia and Africa. It is a scientific situation related to lactose malabsorption due to low/absent lactase exercise. Lactose or its synthesis.

Lactose is a disaccharide composed of galactose and glucose, present in milk and dairy merchandise. Lactase is an enzyme genetically encoded on chromosome 2 and expressed within the small gut, significantly the jejunum. Some genetic polymorphisms are related to decreased expression.

But learn on: Gluten and the chance of gastrointestinal neoplasms

Clinical Manifestations

Symptoms often seem when lactase exercise is lower than 50%. They happen as a result of unabsorbed lactose has an osmotic impact on the intestinal lumen, as well as to fermentation by the intestinal microbiota, which, as well as to diarrhea, will increase the manufacturing of gases resembling H2 and CH4, stomach ache and distention.

The severity of signs will depend on a number of elements, resembling:

  • focus of lactase within the intestinal mucosa;
  • composition of intestinal microbiota;
  • the focus of ingested lactose;
  • gastrointestinal motility;
  • Individual sensitivity to signs

In lactose intolerance, there may be additionally a rise within the manufacturing of gear resembling acetone, acetaldehyde, ethanol and different poisonous peptides. Thus, further intestinal signs may additionally happen: reminiscence loss, complications, musculoskeletal ache, coronary heart rhythm problems, despair, nervousness, oral mucosal ulcers, dyspareunia, menstrual problems, frequency, rashes, eczema and different pathologies (based mostly on allergy symptoms). rhinitis, bronchial asthma).

These sufferers even have alterations within the intestinal microbiota, that are linked to poisonous metabolites, main to an elevated incidence of sure cancers resembling colorectal most cancers. However, we should always not overlook about the advantages of dairy merchandise, that are wealthy in calcium and include carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.

Diagnostic strategies for lactose intolerance

When lactose intolerance is clinically suspected, diagnostic strategies must be used to affirm it.

  • Genetic testing – genetic analysis via a blood pattern (DNA). Look for the presence of particular polymorphisms.ifics (eg 13910 C>T and 22018 G>A).
  • Advantage: permits you to affirm or exclude major lactose intolerance; A bit aggressive.
  • Disadvantages: It doesn’t enable identification of secondary kinds; The presence of the polymorphism isn’t related to the event of lactose intolerance.
  • Breath check with H2 – This is a stimulation check that measures expired hydrogen earlier than and after ingestion of 25 or 50 grams of lactose. In people with lactose intolerance, a rise in expired H2 of at the least 20 ppm from baseline is anticipated.
  • Advantage: Non-invasive and cost-effective technique. High sensitivity and specificity. Easy implementation and interpretation.
  • Disadvantages: Long period (3-6 hours).
  • Oobserve: Some people have microbiota that predominantly produce CH4. In this circumstances, trial Respiratory price with H2 could also be falsely unfavorable. Thus, including H2 and CH4 breath checks will increase accuracy.
  • essential: Changes in microbiota and intestinal transit can intervene with check accuracy. Note some precautions shut to the examination, resembling: avoiding using oral antibiotics, probiotics, laxatives and PPIs; Avoid strenuous bodily train; give up smoking
  • Rapid lactase check – an invasive technique that evaluates lactase exercise in roughly 2 mm samples of post-bulbar duodenal tissue. In lactose intolerance, it’s anticipated to be absent or decreased.
  • Advantage: High specificity.
  • Disadvantages: Invasive, costly and poorly accessible technique.
  • Oral lactose tolerance check – evaluation of serum glucose 30-60-120 minutes after ingestion of fifty g of lactose. This is to be anticipated in lactose intolerance to occur Changes in blood glucose.
  • Advantage: low value; A minimally invasive check.
  • Disadvantages: Low sensitivity and specificity – up to 20% false optimistic or unfavorable. Interference has to be tolerated due to this fact gastric emptying time and glucose metabolism, and shouldn’t be carried out in people with diabetes.


  • Nutritional Management: Because of the advantages of dairy merchandise as a supply of calcium, protein, and minerals, dietary administration presently goals to keep a low each day consumption of dairy merchandise to keep away from growing signs of intolerance within the affected person. Most people are in a position to tolerate 12-15 grams of lactose per day. Currently, there are alternate options to the exogenous lactase enzyme within the dairy market, sustaining its dietary advantages.

The desk under exhibits some low/zero lactose choices:

substance Possible choices
milk Lactose free milk
Vegetable “milk” (soy, rice, spelt, almond, coconut, oat)
Lactose free yogurt
butter Lactose free butter
ghee butter
100% vegetable margarine
Powdered milk Lactose free powdered milk
Plant-based milk powder
Cheese Naturally lactose-free cheese
“Deslactosados” Quiche

Adapted from the desk: Dominici S, et al. Lactose: Features, meals and drug-related functions and its potential alternate options to meet the wants of individuals with lactose intolerance. substance 2022

  • Exogenous lactase in lactose-containing meals: There are capsules, tablets and liquid formulations out there. It is obtained via the metabolism of sure microorganisms, viz Kluyveromyces lactis, Aspergillus oryzae, And Aspergillus niger.
  • Probiotics: stress like Lactobacillus spp. (L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. casei, and many others.), Bifidobacterium longum spp., Streptococcus thermophilus and Saccharomyces boulardii. TheActs as an antagonist of gas-producing micro organism, regulates the permeability of the intestinal mucosa and reduces the degrees of short-chain fatty acids within the intestines, is reducing as a result of Abdominal ache and diarrhea.
  • Vitamin B6: Adding vitamin B6 to probiotics has been proven to be helpful in lactose intolerance, as it really works by bettering the intestinal microbiota.
  • Prebiotics: They are digestible oligosaccharides, containing fructans and galactans, which stimulate the expansion and proliferation of the lactose fermenters Bifidobacterium, Faecalibacterium and Roseburia spp.

Practical message

Lactose intolerance is a quite common situation, which could be major or secondary. Symptoms range in accordance to particular person traits and the lactose content material of meals. Currently, probably the most indicated diagnostic technique is Breath check with expired H2. Ideally, a methane breath check also needs to be carried out to keep away from false negatives associated to plant composition.

However, in follow, it’s typically tough to provide this check, due to the shortage of protection within the SUS and the restricted availability of complementary well being. As flawed because the oral lactose tolerance check is, it may well assist when different strategies will not be accessible (except for diabetic sufferers, the place it shouldn’t be carried out).

The mainstay of therapy is to scale back lactose consumption, present meals alternate options and take care not to prohibit calcium and protein consumption. Currently, exogenous lactase enzymes are the very best adjuncts within the administration of those sufferers.

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