Lactase Enzyme Information
Digestive enzymes are proteins which are used by the body to break down food and extract nutrients, which can then be digested. The human body produces around 22 different digestive enzymes, each of which acts on a different type of food. Lactase enzymes are one of the many types of digestive enzymes nad amylase enzymes that aid in the digestion process, and they work on lactose. Lactose is a milk sugar made up of two simple sugars: galactose and glucose.
Lactase enzymes are found in the brush border or microvilli of the small intestine. When they come in contact with lactose, they cause it to break down into its smaller components, glucose and galactose, which our bodies then can easily metabolize and use for energy. This enzyme is believed to be produced by the mucous membrane cells that line the intestinal walls. Like all other digestive enzymes, lactase works to split only a single type of sugar - lactose, in this case - and will not affect any other sugar.
Lactase is a naturally occurring enzyme in the human body, but anyone wanting to enjoy a glass of milk or other dairy products must have a healthy supply in their bodies. This enzyme is high in newborn babies, but production can decline with age. If the body's supply is depleted, the lactose sugar you intake is metabolized by bacteria in the intestine instead of by lactase, and this may lead to stomach discomfort, food sensitivities, and other irritations. You should consult your doctor if you feel you may have a lactase deficiency or if you are considering going on a lactose intolerance diet.