Empowering Human Performance | Athletigen Blog

Nutrigenomics: Lactose Sensitivity and Your DNA

Posted by Athletigen on Wed, Nov 06, 2019

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The ability to consume and easily digest dairy products into adulthood is common among individuals with European ancestry and, to a lesser extent, individuals of Middle Eastern ancestry

This is due to the persistence of lactose digesting enzymes after childhood (lactase persistence), a trait that developed in response to the consumption of cow milk by the ancestors of these groups. Individuals with ancestry from other parts of the world generally develop lactose intolerance after childhood, when they no longer need the ability to digest milk from their mother.

Individuals who are lactose intolerant are unable to break down the lactose sugars because their digestive system no longer produce the enzyme lactase. This means that the lactose sugars make it to the large intestine where they are digested by bacteria, who release gas. As a result, when lactose intolerant individuals consume dairy products they experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms including bloating, gas, cramping, nausea, and diarrhea.

Your DNA could play a role in your sensitivities to lactose.

The LCT gene produces lactase, a protein that breaks lactose into simple sugars. If your body doesn’t produce enough lactase, undigested lactose enters your colon where your gut bacteria consume it and produce gas. Certain variants of this gene are associated with decreased lactase production, resulting in increased risk of lactose intolerance.

Athletigen can tell you which variant of the LCT gene you have and give recommendations on what to do next. Get the Nutrition Report and find out what your nutritional needs are!

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