The inability to absorb the lactose is called lactose intolerance. This results in some abnormalities, when milk products are taken. Lactose is made of glucose and galactose. The lactose is absorbed by the intestine, when lactose splits into glucose and galactose with the help of the enzyme lactase present on the surface of the cells of the intestine. Lactose intolerance occurs due to minimal activity of lactase or complete absence of the activity of the enzyme.

The causes of lactose intolerance include mutations in the gene responsible for lactase production, diseases that cause damage to the lining of the intestine (Celiac Sprue is one of such disease) and decrease in the levels of lactase.

The common symptoms include diarrhea, pain in abdomen and nausea. The lactose present in the milk is brought back to colon, where some bacteria break the lactose and release the gases. These gases are expelled through lungs during breathing process. The lactose intolerance can be diagnosed by milk tolerance test, hydrogen breath test, blood glucose test, stool acidity test and intestinal biopsy test. Change in the diet, using tablets of lactase, calcium supplements can prevent the lactose intolerance.

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