Lactose intolerance is a painful and socially difficult condition suffered by between 6 and 10 million people in the UK. Nausea, stomach cramps, bloating, wind and diarrhoea are all commonly associated with this condition.
Lactose and dairy intolerance is the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose (the major sugar found in milk). It occurs when there is an absence or shortage of the enzyme lactase produced by the cells lining the small intestine. It has been estimated that up to 70% of adults are lactose intolerant.
Without lactase, lactose cannot pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream. Lactase breaks the milk sugar into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galactose. These are then absorbed into the bloodstream.