Lactase Non-persistence and Lactose Intolerance
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Purpose of Review
To evaluate the clinical and nutritional significance of genetically determined lactase non-persistence and potential lactose and milk intolerance in 65–70% of the world’s adult population.
Milk consumption is decreasing in the USA and is the lowest in countries with a high prevalence of lactase non-persistence. The dairy industry and Minnesota investigators have made efforts to minimize the influence of lactose intolerance on milk consumption. Some lactose intolerant individuals, without co-existent irritable bowel syndrome, are able to consume a glass of milk with a meal with no or minor symptoms. The high frequency of lactase persistence in offspring of Northern European countries and in some nomadic African tribes is due to mutations in the promoter of the lactase gene in association with survival advantage of milk drinking.
Educational and commercial efforts to improve calcium and Vitamin D intake have focused on urging consumption of tolerable amounts of milk with a meal, use of lowered lactose-content foods including hard cheeses, yogurt, and lactose-hydrolyzed milk products.
KeywordsLactase non-persistence Lactose intolerance Lactase persistence Evolution, positive selection Milk drinking
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This review contains published papers that presumably met journal standards for publication.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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