What does lactose intolerance mean?
Lactose is a, found in large quantities in milk.
Structure of lactose
Lactose is a diholoside, that is to say a complex sugar composed of the combination of two simple sugars,and , linked by a particular saccharide bond (hence the official name of β-D -galactopyrannosyl (1 → 4) D-glucopyranose). Its crude chemical formula is C 12 H 22 O 11 .
Lactose is met in high concentrations in theof and provides an important nutritional and energy intake. Indeed, in the of infants, it is converted into glucose and galactose thanks to the β-galactosidase (a ), that will be absorbed separately.
Although present in all mammalian babies, it is this enzyme that may be lacking in some adults, leading to lactose intolerance. Lactose is no longer degraded into simple sugars, can no longer be absorbed, and thus remains in the digestive tract. It is then the intestinalthat metabolize it (producing , methane, ) which leads to intestinal discomfort or .