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Human adult-onset lactase decline: an update

Human adult-onset lactase decline: an update

Nutrition Reviews 56(1): 1-8

Current knowledge on human adult-onset lactase decline is reviewed. This condition, which is prevalent in over half of the world's population, is characterized by a decrease in intestinal lactase enzyme activity during mid-childhood. Lactase levels, gastric emptying rate, and colonic salvage all affect the digestion and absorption of lactose. Symptoms can be alleviated in many lactose-intolerant people by commercially available "lactase" products. However, interventions that reduce the rate of gastric emptying and increase the proliferation of lactose-metabolizing bacteria in the colon could be devised if the variability of lactose tolerance was better understood. Affected individuals appear to be at increased risk for osteoporosis, and elderly people with both adult-onset lactase decline and atrophic gastritis or those undergoing anti-ulcer treatment may have a greater risk of low calcium absorption due to the lack of gastric acid that facilitates calcium uptake.

Accession: 003162754

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 9481112

DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.1998.tb01652.x

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