Lactose intolerance or milk intolerance is the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, the predominant sugar of milk. This inability results from a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is normally produced by the cells that line the small intestine. Lactase breaks down milk sugar into simpler forms that can then be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Intolerance to food is not the same as a food allergy. Lactose intolerance does not involve the immune system and does not necessarily require complete avoidance of milk products.
What causes lactose intolerance?
Most cases of lactose deficiency results from an inherent lack of enzyme lactase that develop over a period of many years. Digestive diseases or injuries to the small intestine can reduce the amount of enzymes produced, and is the usual cause of lactose intolerance in young children.
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