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Lactose Intolerance

The normal small intestinal cells contain an enzyme called lactase which is necessary to digest the sugar called lactose contained in milk and dairy products. Many people in the United States, particularly as they get older, are unable to digest milk because of an inadequate amount of this enzyme. This is particularly true in blacks and people of Chinese, Eastern European and Mediterranean descent. It is now possible to provide the enzyme lactase which can be added to milk so some people can have milk without the symptoms of gas, cramps, abdominal bloating or diarrhea.