Supplementing with lactase enzyme may be just what you need to manage lactose intolerance better. While many people are relatively unaware of the benefits of lactase products in treating this deficiency, it doesn’t stop it from being a trustworthy combatant to call on when the need arises.
But how does lactase help to become more tolerant of lactose? And, importantly, is lactase safe for use? Below, we’ll cover these questions as well as touch other relevant aspects which may be bothering you or are simply necessary if you’re to optimize the benefits of lactase supplementation.
What Is Lactase Enzyme?
First, the lactase enzyme is manufactured in the small intestine of humans and other animals, including mammals and organisms. Also known as lactase-phlorizin hydrolase, lactase is essential for the digestive tract to digest dairy products properly, particularly milk. Why?
Well, research has proven that lactase softens and crushes lactose, a dominant, naturally-occurring sugar that enhances the sweetness of milk.
Lactase enzymes are specifically produced in a part of the small intestine known as “border brush”— an area made up of intestinal epithelial cells, which are cells lining up the walls of the small intestine. Due to their short microvilli that look like fingers, these cells are charged with the absorption and dispersion of nutrients from foods and to the bloodstream, respectively.
Can I Get Lactase From Foods?
Unfortunately or perhaps not, lactase isn’t gotten from foods. Instead, lactose is what we have in food, which is what lactase helps to digest more easily. Foods that have a high level of lactose include:
- All types of cow milk.
- Goat milk.
- Whey protein powder.
- Pudding or custards
- Ice cream
- Ricotta cheese
- Soft frozen yogurt.
The foods mentioned above are unadvisable for people whose border brush no longer produce sufficient lactose to digest lactose, and this is common in older people. According to some findings, lactase deficiency is a likely occurrence in over 70% of the world’s senior population.
Benefits Of Supplementing With Lactase Enzyme
There are three basic benefits of lactase supplementation, all of which can be crucial to healthy living. Let’s see these three benefits.
Helps To Properly Digest Milk or Dairy
Arguably, the most important function of the lactase enzymes is to oversee the conversion of lactose from its initial disaccharide form into simple sugars, galactose, and glucose, which are more easily digested.
The inability of the border brush to produce adequate lactase to break down lactose is caused by the mutation of genes in charge of lactase production. Over time, the body will not be able to process lactose, and thus, the person becomes intolerant to it.
When the gastrointestinal tract fails to absorb lactose, it is fermented by bacterial strains in the colon. Should this persist, it will lead to symptoms, such as gassiness, diarrhea, bloating, pain, and distress in the intestines.
Luckily, supplementing with lactase will help to correct the defects in your border brush and thus improve its production.
Converts Milk To Energy
The human body produces lactase the most during infancy, as this is the only food that babies eat. And, so, the body must continue production of lactase for the infant to live. And why not? The baby’s organs are still in great shape anyway. As we grow older, however, the potential of the body is reduced.
As we mentioned already, lactase converts lactose into galactose and glucose, which are simple sugars that can provide energy to the body, even as adults. Coupled with healthy fats, proteins, multiple vitamins and minerals which are available in milk, specifically full fats whole milk, we can agree that there are a lot of nutrients to enjoy if we can consume foods containing lactose.
And how can we eat foods containing lactose even when suffering lactase deficiency? There’s no other way than supplementing with lactase enzymes that will help to break down lactose.
May Help To Improve Overall Level Of Living
As I have mentioned above, more than 70% of the world’s adult inhabitants cannot digest lactose, which is a terrible thing. This is because, apart from the problems that’ll arise, should you try to take lactose, you’ll be missing out on so many nutrients and benefits.
Yogurt, for example, is a probiotic which can help manage oxidative stress better, improve immune function and support gut health, but how can you enjoy these uses when it is made from milk, and you’re intolerant to lactose. There’s hardly a good diet without the presence of milk, so, if you’re not taking it regularly, you’ll be missing out on a lot. Keep in mind that lactose is ever-present in milk, so what’s the way out?
Well, it’s captain lactase to the rescue! When you take lactase products from time to time, you can become more tolerant to lactose and thus have access to all the wonderful benefits of milk I mentioned above. Some of your most prominent illnesses are due to lactose intolerance, because really, how do you cope without milk?
The only alternative you may have is kefir, which is also very beneficial. But, in some people, even kefir can lead to complications. So, what’s the best thing? Just supplement with lactase.
How Do I Use Lactase?
Lactase is available in pills and drops. There is no specific time to use lactase enzymes, but I would suggest that you use it before meals that contain lactose. Say, for example, before you drink some milk, grab some lactase supplements from the counter.
You can also add lactase supplements to breast milk to assist faster digestion in babies or if you suspect that your infant is having trouble digesting milk.
As per dosage, there is no fixed amount. However, you should follow directions on labels carefully to use the recommended dose.
Conclusion On Supplementing With Lactase Enzyme
Supplementing with lactase enzymes can improve your overall health condition in more ways than you currently think. Apart from the fact that it’ll help you to manage lactose intolerance better, think of the gorgeous benefits you’ll be enjoying when you start taking milk regularly. Keep in mind that there’s no permanent cure for lactose intolerance yet, so lactase supplementation may be your best shot at a healthy, enjoyable life.