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Sciences des Aliments

0240-8813
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An international journal of food science and technology
 

 ARTICLE VOL 22/4 - 2002  - pp.431-436  - doi:10.3166/sda.22.431-436
TITLE
Lactose intolerance: the medical point of view

ABSTRACT

Some subjects experience intolerance signs (borborygmi, flatus, abdominal distension, pain, and in the worse cases diarrhoea) when ingesting lactose. These lactose intolerant subjects represent a part of the subjects who are not able to fully digest significant loads of lactose (i.e. lactose malabsorbers). Many physiological and physio-pathological studies have provided the explanations for these two situations. Lactose i.e. the main milk sugar cannot be absorbed as such in the intestine but first needs to be digested in the small bowel by a lactase. The non absorbed lactose exerts an osmotic effect which induces secretion of water and sodium into the intestinal lumen. This increases the volume of the chime and accelerates the transit of small bowel contents. The part of lactose reaching the colon is fermented by the colonic bacteria. Some of the lactose intolerant subjects are not able to diagnose lactose intolerance by themselves and consult doctors, however the majority avoid spontaneously milk products. Other individuals think that they do not tolerate milk products although blinded studies fail to confirm it, however the consequence is the same i.e. they avoid consuming milk products, and sometimes consult doctors. As milk products constitute the main source of calcium in food, subjects avoiding them are exposed to osteopenia (CARROCCIO et al., 1998; HONKANEN et al., 1996; DI STEFANO et al., 2002). We review here the main factors influencing lactose intolerance; the frequency of lactose intolerance to various lactose loads; and the possibility to treat lactose intolerance without avoiding all milk products.

AUTEUR(S)
Philippe MARTEAU, Eugenia MORALES, Tuula VESA, Riitta KORPELA

CITATIONS
sda.revuesonline.com/revues/3/citation/910.html

LANGUE DE L'ARTICLE
Anglais

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