Lactose is a bicarbonate sugar derived from the association of glucose and glycoside sugar. Its chemical formula (C12H22O11) is found in milk and its derivatives mainly. It accounts for 2-8% of the milk components. It is also found in breast milk. It consists of two sections: (Lacto) and Latin means milk, and the section (Oz), which means Latin sugar. Lactose is absorbed into the small intestine of the human body, which in turn secrete the lactase enzyme, which breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose to absorb it and transfer it to other cells of the body through the bloodstream.
Lactose Intolerance is a disease caused by a deficiency or inactivity in the lactase enzyme that converts lactose into glucose and galactose, resulting in an inability to absorb foods containing lactose sugar and thus digestive disorders. The degree of sensitivity may vary between people, ranging from simple to very severe. It is worth noting that this disease may be affected by people of different ages, and many studies indicate that the disease spread in the Middle East and Africa by 60-100% among individuals, and diminishing in the European countries to reach 2-30%.
The health benefit of lactose
- Promote the health of the intestines by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine such as Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacilli, preventing the growth of pathogenic bacteria and toxins in the intestine, and lactose intake in infants and children will help To increase their resistance to intestinal infection.
- Supplying the human body with energy, since lactose is a carbohydrate-derived substance.
- Helps to absorb and retain minerals within the human body, such as calcium, zinc, magnesium.
Use of lactose in the industry
It is used in many industries, including:
- Lactose is used as a suitable medium for the growth of Penicillium fungus for the purpose of producing penicillin. Link flavors and aromas in the food industry.
- Manufacture of foods containing low sugar content.
- Increase the lifetime of the product, and the possibility of storing it for longer periods.
- The preparation of baked goods, because of its interaction with the protein materials, which leads to the production of brown color an distinctive smell of baked goods, this interaction is called the Maillard reaction.
- Use in the manufacture of suitable media to detect pathogenic bacteria.
- It is used as an additional substance in the pharmaceutical industry (excipient), which is an inert substance not used for treatment, but rather to preserve the active substance in the drug and inhibit unwanted biological growth.
- It is used to manufacture other substances such as lactic acid used in the food industry, lactulose, and ammonium lactate.
Lactose intolerance symptoms
Lactose intolerance may have the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea is severe, noting that newborns suffer from severe diarrhea when they eat their mother’s milk and disappear this offer when they eat lactose-free milk.
- Puffiness and gases.
These symptoms are caused by not digesting and decomposing lactose in the small intestine, which is fermented by bacteria in the colon, producing organic acids, gases such as hydrogen gas, methane gas, and carbon dioxide, It makes the stool acidic, so lactose intolerance is diagnosed by doing a stool acid test, and testing the hydrogen gas in the air caused by exhalation.
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