Adaptation of lactose maldigesters to continued milk intakes.

Johnson AO, Semenya JG, Buchowski MS, Enwonwu CO, Scrimshaw NS
Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 58 (6): 879-81

PMID: 8249871 · DOI:10.1093/ajcn/58.6.879

Twenty-five lactose-maldigesting and lactose-intolerant African Americans, ranging in age from 13 to 39 y, were given gradually increasing amounts of lactose in milk over a period of time until the maximum lactose dose tolerated was determined. Seventeen (77%) of the 22 subjects who completed the study tolerated > or = 12 g lactose and 5 (23%) tolerated < 12 g. Breath-hydrogen tests done on each subject with the maximum dose of lactose tolerated showed that only four (18%) had a breath-hydrogen concentration < 5 ppm above fasting concentration. This study suggests that the majority of African-American young adults who claim intolerance to moderate amounts of milk can ultimately adapt and tolerate > or = 12 g lactose in milk (the equivalent of 8 oz of full-lactose milk) with minimal or no discomfort if milk is ingested in gradually increasing amounts. The mechanism of adaptation is assumed to be an increased tolerance to colonic lactose-fermentation products.

MeSH Terms (10)

Adaptation, Physiological Adolescent Adult African Continental Ancestry Group Animals Breath Tests Double-Blind Method Humans Lactose Intolerance Milk

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