Using the liquid form of lactase enzymes, children can add a few drops in their milk, put the milk in the refrigerator and drink it after 24 hours, when the lactase enzymes have reduced the lactose content by 70 percent.
Lactose intolerance can be caused by some diseases of the digestive system (for example, celiac sprue and gastroenteritis) and by injuries to the small intestine that result in a decreased production of lactase.
When dairy products are ingested, the lactose reaches the digestive system and is broken down by lactase into the simpler sugars glucose and galactose, which can then be absorbed into the bloodstream.
People with celiac disease may also experience lactose intolerance because they do not produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the sugar in milk into a form the body can absorb.
The enzymes lactase, maltase, and isomaltase (or sucrase) are needed to break down the disaccharides; when one or more is inadequate, the result is carbohydrate intolerance.
Currently, formulas made from soy are recommended for infants with galactosemia, primary and secondary lactase deficiency and for families choosing a vegetarian lifestyle.
Alactasia is a very rare congenital condition and the result of a genetic defect that causes the complete absence of lactase, the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar.
The enzyme lactase, which is normally produced by cells lining the small intestine, breaks down lactose into substances that can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
In cancer patients, treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy may affect the cells in the intestine that normally secrete lactase, leading to intolerance.
Of especial note is the transformation of maltose by maltase into glucose, and of cane sugar by invertase into a mixture of glucose and fructose (invert sugar); other instances are: lactose by lactase into galactose and glucose; trehalose by trehalase into glucose; melibiose by melibiase into galactose and glucose; and of melizitose by melizitase into touranose and glucose, touranose yielding glucose also when acted upon by the enzyme touranase.