Lactose intolerance, also known as lactose sensitivity, is a condition when the body is unable to digest lactose taken in with food in the absence of the enzyme (lactase) that breaks down lactose.
Lactose is a complex sugar that requires the enzyme lactase produced in the small intestine to break down the lactose molecule into simple sugars that the body can utilize.
Lactose intolerance is not really a disease, but an evolutionary state, as adult mammals no longer need to digest lactose. As a result, in humans, the production of the enzyme that breaks down lactose decreases significantly with age after the breastfeeding period, it is a result of a gene variant that it persists in some people.
A larger part of the Hungarian population is able to digest lactose, among the Hungarian population approx. 60-65% are lactose tolerant and 35-40% are lactose sensitive.
It is important to highlight that lactose sensitivity is not the same as food intolerance caused by lactalbumin. A separate laboratory package is available to investigate complaints after consuming milk, which also includes testing for lactalbumin allergy and food intolerance. However, complaints always require a gastroenterological examination, avoiding self-diagnosis, because the symptoms can be caused by several diseases.