Lactose: composition, properties, application, intolerance
A compound of organic origin - lactose belongs to polysaccharides, its name comes from the Latin word lactis (milk). Another name is "milk sugar", since most of this saccharide is found in the dairy product group.
Properties of the polysaccharide
Two components (glucose and galactose ) are bound by an oxygen molecule and provide a glycosidic bond. With participation in various chemical processes, it breaks, which is the reason for the splitting of lactose into simple monosaccharides. Breakdown and decomposition is carried out either by fermentation or by hydrolysis in sufficiently concentrated acids. For this process, either H2SO4 or HCL is most often used, and temperature indicators can serve as a catalyst for the process. The higher they are, the faster the process proceeds.
Many people ask the question “lactose - what is it?”. The science of chemistry says that lactose is a complex reducing substance - a carbohydrate. It is capable of donating electrons through the rupture of the oxygen bond. Lactose is also characterized by weak acidity, so it is capable of a chemical reaction with alkalis, for example, with caustic soda. Two moles of alkali are neutralized with one mole of milk sugar. Considered chemically active since its structure contains alcoholic components, moreover, the lactose molecule can take the form of an aldehyde substance. These and other properties make the disaccharide indispensable for many types of products.
When milk sugar is combined with alkalis (the same sodium hydroxide), it decomposes into acids, but the sugar structure is preserved. That is, lactose under the influence of alkali decomposes into elementary saccharides and each component forms an active acid bond, which turns the composition into an acid. The rate of hydrolysis with the participation of alkalis also depends on the temperature level.
To obtain various products, lactose is subjected to a special treatment, combining with other substances. As a result, a melanoidin reaction occurs. This is a rather complex process with many intermediate stages. The result is the production of complex substances (for example, acetaldehydes, oxymethylfurfural) due to which the taste and aroma inherent only to them appears in dairy products. At the same time, new compounds are formed, called melanoids because of their dark color.
Milk sugar can be affected not only by the hydrolysis process, but also by fermentation. It is with the help of the latter that excellent fermented milk products and tasty cheese are obtained.
Natural hydrolysis occurs with the help of enzyme substances (lactase and beta-galactosidase), which develop in the small intestine, provided that the microflora in it is within normal limits.
What does it consist of?
Milk sugar consists of a pair of structural units, that is, simple sugars and, therefore, is a disaccharide. All complex carbohydrates break down into such components. In chemistry, lactose is referred to as C12H22O11. If you depict it graphically, you can see that the two elementary saccharides are interconnected by an oxygen molecule.
Monosaccharides more easily penetrate into the blood and are absorbed. This polysaccharide consists of galactose and glucose components, which are separated under the influence of the body's enzymes called lactase.
Lactose, the properties of which have a positive effect on many products are widely used. At the moment, one cannot do without it in the following areas:
- In the confectionery business, it improves the taste and properties of caramel products (especially those with a milk taste). The appetizing dark brown crust on the bread is also the result of the use of lactose.
The properties of lactose are very useful in the treatment of dysbiosis, so it is a component of drugs for this scourge. This polysaccharide is an integral part of lactulose, which in turn is used as a laxative.
Lactose in meat products significantly softens the bitter and salty taste, and also has a good effect on the shelf life of food. It is also irreplaceable in the production of biscuits, condensed milk, meat products, chocolate, marmalades of any kind, marshmallows, jams, as well as products for people diagnosed with diabetes. Usually, it is added to all of the above mixed with sugar in equal parts. It is also used in the production of alcoholic beverages - to soften the unpleasant taste of alcohol. That is why lactose is good, the physical properties of which help to make food tastier.
In the production of canned fruit, marmalade, marshmallow, caramel, it plays the role of an improver of taste and aroma. For the same purpose, lactose is used in the production of various additives to improve the taste and aroma.
Where is lactose found?
If you understand what products contain lactose, the list will not be very extensive. Products are enriched with polysaccharide in two ways - natural and industrial. In the first case, lactose is initially a constituent part of the food, in the second, it is added to it during manufacture according to the developed technology. As a natural component, it is found in:
- Powdered or whole milk.
- Natural cheeses.
- Products derived from sour milk.
- Animal oil.
It is lactose that, after passing through certain processes, gives the products their characteristic taste and aroma.
As a necessary additive, it is available in:
- Meat products (ham, sausages, wieners).
- Cubes for preparing broths and spices for a specific purpose (for pilaf, for meat products, for potato dishes and others).
- Chocolate glaze in plates and shavings.
- Chewing gum.
- Instant mashed potatoes.
- Powders for any baked goods. ;
- Certain drugs and dietary supplements.
In them, it is used as a flavor enhancer and preservative. You should definitely pay attention to what foods contain lactose for those who do not tolerate it, otherwise troubles are inevitable.
What is the use?
Lactose , the chemical properties of which help in the vital activity of the organism, is constantly present in it. It is she who helps to synthesize substances that make saliva viscous. The ingestion of the polysaccharide in the intestines guarantees absorption and maximum absorption of calcium. It participates in the production of vitamins that a person needs.
In addition, lactose polysaccharide has the most positive effect on the correct development of the children's nervous system, and in adults it stimulates it. It prevents heart disease and nourishes blood vessels.
But the main benefit of the polysaccharide is in its active participation in the production and reproduction of beneficial bacteria and bacilli, which are the "founders" of a good intestinal microflora environment. Therefore, the polysaccharide treats and prevents dysbacteriosis.
Where is it not?
There is also a whole list of products where this compound is not present and is not added there. It includes:
- Vegetable and fruit crops.
- Jerusalem artichoke.
- Tea and coffee blends.
- Any vegetable oil.
- Rice groats. ;
- Soy products and drinks (tofu, meat, dairy).
- Fish and meat products before processing any kind.
- Any eggs.
- Peas, beans.
- Natural vegetable and fruit juices.
- Any kind of nuts.
- Alcoholic drinks obtained by the method of natural fermentation (wine, beer).
All of the above, in its absence, is no less useful, but for For a healthy intestine, these foods should be alternated with those where it is present. Some of them are processed with lactose added to ensure tasty products.
Any brand that produces formula for artificial feeding babies, in a rather large assortment, it necessarily has options without lactose content. They are needed for children whose body does not tolerate this polysaccharide well. In them, the lactose component is close to zero, that is, there are only traces of it. In such quantities, it is absolutely safe for babies with lactase deficiency, who should not consume everything that contains lactose. These formulas are produced by a number of companies.
Lactose-free formulas are prescribed for babies with poor breast milk tolerance. It necessarily contains this polysaccharide, and if problems begin, natural feeding has to be turned into artificial. The disadvantage of these mixtures is that they are not very tasty. Some children at first refuse to eat them and take them only in case of a strong feeling of hunger, but lactose, the harm of which has been proven for them, is not available to them.
Its presence is desirable for a normal intestinal microflora environment. Its absence can result in problems with the digestive tract. Scientists believe that this requires lactose - its harm and benefits have long been studied. Since “good” bacteria do not develop in the intestines, constant cramps, bloating, and diarrhea may begin. If the nutrition has not changed for a long time and there have been no such problems before, most likely the baby has developed dysbiosis. In this case, it makes sense to replace the lactose-free mixture. Sometimes the company makes adjustments to the series of formula for feeding. The composition in this case does not change, but the reaction of the child's body may be polar.
At the moment, the inability to absorb milk sugar is successfully treated. Therefore, the baby will not have to choke on the tasteless mixture for a long time. But in the process of treatment and rehabilitation, it is still necessary to use them. If a mother prepares complementary foods on her own, she must remember that even porridge for a child should be cooked in a lactose-free mixture. To improve the taste, you can add fructose, which will not harm your baby. After all, when he is 6 months old, lactose-free mixtures can be replaced with various complementary foods.
The transfer to another option should be gradual. Pediatricians give the following recommendations on this matter:
- On the first day, no more than 30 ml of the new formula is added to the usual diet on the first day.
- On the second day, the same is done twice already.
- On the third day, the baby is fed twice with the new formula.
- On the fourth day, it becomes the main food.
Thus, the body will have time to rebuild and the transition will be much smoother.
What is real lactose intolerance?
According to statistics, Europeans have intolerance to this saccharide most often it is produced by the adolescent period - 10-12 years. But this does not mean that the body stops taking milk. Therefore, the enzyme lactase is produced enough. This disorder occurs regardless of the number of years, but most often in adults. This is easily explained - in early childhood, nutrition begins with breast milk and the body produces the enzyme lactase as much how much is needed. Over time, he stops consuming milk in such a large amount and the level of polysaccharide decreases sharply. A person begins to react to milk worse and worse. Do not confuse lactose intolerance and milk dislike. Those who really do not produce lactase get sick from eating all foods that contain milk sugar.
What's wrong with lactose intolerance is that it is a complete inability of the human body to assimilate and digest this carbohydrate. It manifests itself in the form of various digestive disorders, for example, colic, bloating, the appearance of diarrhea. The reason is the lack of lactase. Unpleasant symptoms appear quite quickly after a person has eaten whole milk, which contains lactose.
Intolerance to this carbohydrate occurs in babies for the same reason - an insufficient amount of the corresponding enzyme. Most often it is transmitted at the genetic level. Many people retain the body's ability to produce lactase until old age. These are primarily residents of the north - Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Britain. In the above countries, lactose intolerance occurs in a maximum of 5% of residents. Germans, French, Italians, Austrians show a higher percentage - up to 20. And the representatives of Asian countries in the majority do not tolerate milk sugar. Residents of India, China, Kazakhstan and other countries in 75-90% suffer from lactase deficiency. Thus, we can conclude that the European body is more adapted to the consumption of foods containing this carbohydrate.
The same situation is observed in children. While young children in northern countries do not practically suffer from lactose intolerance, Asians can have it from birth. According to statistics, 90% of children in China do not digest milk and dairy products by the age of 4. In the Russian regions, the situation is not as dire as in Asia and depends on location and genetics. But there is exactly the same tendency - the further north the place of residence, the better and longer food with lactose polysaccharide continues to be absorbed.
Children under 6 months old may suffer from functional intolerance to milk sugar due to an intestinal trauma ... A kid can get it due to many traumatic factors, including the presence of an allergen in the body. And milk protein can also act as it. Moreover, in most children, such an allergy can be supplemented by a negative reaction of the body to soy protein. Therefore, they are harmed by lactose in fermented milk products, whole milk and even its soy version. Therefore, it is worth passing the mandatory tests for allergens.
The presence of gastritis, as well as dysbiosis, including those caused by prolonged use of antibiotics, can cause intestinal trauma. The result of injury is a deficiency of the desired enzyme - it stops being produced. In this case, there is no need to transfer the child to lactose-free formulas - you need to continue feeding him as usual, but slightly increasing the fat content of the food. The mixture is enriched with olive oil - it is added directly to the mixture. And with breast milk they act a little differently - they express the first third of it, for the baby to suckle milk until it runs out in the breast. The secret is that the first portion of milk (about a fifth) is the least fat (that's why some pediatricians do not recommend giving the baby water during breastfeeding), but the last one is exactly the opposite.
Lactose intolerance can manifest itself in varying degrees - strong, weak, moderate. It all depends on the amount of lactase produced by the body. If it is not too different from normal, then the person absolutely does not notice the troubles and calmly takes even whole milk without any special consequences.
Often such intolerance is confused with an allergic condition caused by the use of milk and dairy products. These are two different things. The first will only cause symptoms of poisoning or an eating disorder, while the result of the second is absolutely unpredictable - up to a lethal outcome. If an allergy is diagnosed, milk protein should not be consumed at all.
What are the symptoms and how to treat?
When they say “deficiency of the enzyme lactase” and “carbohydrate intolerance lactose "is basically the same thing, but from different points of view. The first is an insufficient amount of the required enzyme, the second is the result of this phenomenon. But some people simply confuse lactose and lactase, since the names are very similar.
Causes of lactose intolerance
As already indicated, most often the reason lies in genetic factors. Europeans are much less susceptible to this intolerance than Asians. If two races are mixed in a person (for example, the mother belongs to the European race, and the father to the Asian), then the chances are about half. Genes can take over from one side or the other.
But all this does not apply to the so-called functional intolerance to milk sugar. It arises independently of genetics, since its cause is completely different. Constant trauma to the intestines is what leads to functional disorder. Anything that interferes with the normal functioning of the intestines can end up in it. These are gastritis, and dysbacteriosis, and other problems with the gastrointestinal tract. The presence of a viral infection may also be the cause. And if lactose is present in the body, intolerance and treatment are inevitable. The good news is that therapeutic measures help; symptoms disappear without a trace after the cause is eliminated. As soon as the course of treatment is completed, the patient will feel relief.
The third reason is age, or rather a change in diet. Dairy products are being replaced by others. The food becomes mixed and the body "understands" that there is no need to produce such a large amount of lactase. As a result, it becomes less and a person digests this polysaccharide much worse. But the rate of decrease in the amount of enzyme in the body depends directly on genetics. If in China it is equal to zero already in early childhood, then in Europe the process of producing the substance can be completed already in adults - by the age of 25-30. And the percentage indicates that Asian genes are the cause of the low content of the enzyme.
Symptoms of the disease
They are unpleasant and are associated primarily with a disorder of the digestive system. As a rule, they appear in a short time interval after eating foods containing this carbohydrate. Among them:
- Vomiting (not always).
- Cramping pains.
All of the above symptoms apply to adults. Infants may additionally suffer from constipation and frequent bowel movements. In this case, the stool will be almost liquid, greenish in color, foamy consistency. Colic will make your baby restless after eating. In this case, you should definitely contact a medical institution and undergo examinations.
How is milk sugar intolerance diagnosed?
A whole range of diagnostic measures is used to make an accurate diagnosis .
Biopsy is considered the most accurate method for diagnosing milk sugar intolerance. Several samples of the mucous membrane of the small intestine will show the degree of activity of the desired enzyme. If it is high, there is no intolerance, if it is low, it is available. Of the disadvantages of this method, it is noted that it can only be used for adult patients. It is not suitable for children, as well as for those who have heart problems, since the material is collected under general anesthesia, and it is harmful to some groups of people.
A lactose curve is a graph of how a person's milk sugar level changes over a given amount of time. The glucose curve is built in a similar way. A blood test is taken first and should be taken on an empty stomach. Then the patient is given a certain amount of milk sugar and the analysis is repeated several times in an hour. Then a graph is drawn up in accordance with the changes in the level of lactose over the time after its intake.
Then it is compared with the glucose curve made earlier. The location of the lactose curve relative to the glucose variant is considered important. If the first passes below the second, then milk sugar intolerance is diagnosed. Although this method is not the most accurate, it is more informative than analyzing stool for the presence of carbohydrates. An additional disadvantage is that it is not suitable for diagnosing a baby. Taking lactose on an empty stomach, and then also a multiple blood test is a clear overkill for the body of the smallest patients.
The hydrogen breath test is often used for children. Its principle is simple - to determine the amount of hydrogen in the air, which goes when you exhale after taking milk sugar. This is done using a special device and is somewhat similar to the procedure for measuring lung volume. But it cannot be applied to babies under 3 months old. For them, it is impossible to determine the norms of exhaled hydrogen according to age, therefore, it will not be possible to notice deviations.
Analysis of feces for the presence of carbohydrates is well suited for children of any age. But it is not very informative, since it often gives false results. Besides, even if it is precisely determined that carbohydrates are still present in the initial biological material and the acid-base balance is somewhat abnormal, the reason may not be at all in the intolerance of milk sugar. There are many others.
The norms of carbohydrate content are also very conditional. Some values are accepted, which are relied on when decoding analyzes. For example, many diagnostic centers believe that excess carbohydrate levels of 0.25% are considered a sign of lactose intolerance. But scientists who are addressing this problem think differently. The above indicator is relevant only if the baby is more than 6 months old. From the moment of birth until he was 1 month old, it is equal to 1%, and then it begins to gradually decrease. So, up to 2 months it will approach 0.8%, up to 4 months - 0.6%, up to six months - 0.45% and only then it will become 0.25%. This is the result of the latest research.
In addition, it is not a fact that the detected carbohydrate in the feces will be exactly lactose - the price of error can be high. Glucose, galactose, and other carbohydrates also have the ability to be there. Therefore, we can only talk about poor tolerance of milk sugar in this case in conjunction with other diagnostic methods.
Coprogram is also an analysis of feces. But it determines the acidity of the initial biological material and the amount of fatty acids in it. In the presence of milk sugar intolerance, the acid-base balance skews and slides from the normal indicator of 5.5 units to 4.0, that is, it becomes sour. The amount of fatty acids also becomes elevated, which confirms the presence of poor carbohydrate tolerance.
Allergic reaction to milk sugar
There is no such reaction to lactose - there is its intolerance and an allergic reaction directly to milk and dairy. Some people confuse these concepts, which is dangerous. These concepts refer to different pathologies and even their reasons are different. Lactose intolerance is a reaction to carbohydrates, while milk protein gives rise to allergies. In the latter case, dairy products should not be consumed even in minimal quantities, and in case of intolerance to milk sugar, it is important to simply maintain a balance between the amount of the corresponding products and the amount of the enzyme produced that can break down lactose. Otherwise, unpleasant symptoms should be expected - nausea, diarrhea, bloating, colic. But allergies give a completely different picture:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Feeling of a lump in the throat or narrowing of the larynx.
- Presence of discharge from the sinuses.
- Swollen eyes and eyelids.
- Presence of skin rashes.
- Nausea, vomiting.
When such symptoms should immediately call an ambulance or take the patient to the nearest medical facility. You can give antihistamines, but medical advice and help are needed.
Is there lactose-free milk?
Of course, large manufacturing companies could not help but respond to such a problem, and along with lactose-free milk formulas for artificial feeding of babies, special lactose-free milk appeared. There is always a special note on the packaging. In fact, lactose is present in it, but already in a split form. It was processed, and a chemical reaction did what the human body normally does - it was broken down into glucose and galactose. And these substances are easily absorbed in the intestines, even with intolerance to milk sugar. You can buy such milk in any large supermarket chain or online stores. It is produced by large manufacturing companies, for example, President, Parmalat and others.
It is relevant for those who play sports, builds muscle mass, but at the same time suffers from intolerance to milk sugar. And without pure protein, workouts will be useless. Many sports companies have responded and found a solution to this problem - lactose-free proteins. They can be with a complete absence of polysaccharide, supplemented with lactase to immediately break down the carbohydrate, regardless of the amount of enzyme in the athlete's body. The third option - protein consists of a vegetable type of protein - from artichoke, peas, cranberries, and so on. Thus, athletes can successfully engage in strength sports without suffering from unpleasant symptoms.
What is Lactase Baby?
It is the necessary enzyme for the breakdown of milk sugar in tablets. Produced specifically for children suffering from its deficiency, and helps to normally tolerate lactose that enters the body with breast milk or milk formulas. Their action resembles the famous "Mezim", only there the amount of enzymes useful for digestion and produced by the pancreas is replenished.
"Lactase baby" increases the amount of the corresponding enzyme, as a result of which milk sugar is broken down in the body as he should. It relieves unpleasant symptoms - diarrhea, vomiting, bloating and improves the health of the baby. Dosage - 0.5 capsules immediately before meals, that is, up to 5 times a day. An overdose can cause constipation.
Which tablets contain lactose?
Often, it acts as an auxiliary component in many medicines in the form of tablets. Lactose in tablets helps in compressing the drug. Therefore, for those who suffer from milk sugar intolerance, it is better to pay attention to other dosage forms or carefully study the composition of the drug. In extreme cases, if there is no way to replace the medicine, take the lactase enzyme in addition to tablets. In the list of drugs:
- Medicines that relieve diarrhea - loperamide, imodium.
- Antispasmodic drotaverin and its variation - no-shpa.
- Remedy for dysbiosis - bifidumbacterin and others.
If you neglect the precautions, good drugs will not only not help, but also harm. And don't self-medicate. The diagnosis must be made by a specialist. There is no need to "carry out diagnostics" on your own and even more so to contact dubious medical centers, where all diagnoses are made with one device. Be attentive to your health.
You can place an order for lactose by phone (050) 495-37-71
You can download the quality certificate for food lactose at the bottom of the wanderer.
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