The Role of the Lactose in Our Body

Learn what is the lactose, where it comes from and what function it has. Know still the main cause of lactose intolerance and how to reduce your symptoms.

The Role of the Lactose in Our Body

Starting from its definition, the lactose is a carbohydrate, commonly called milk sugar.

Its structure is complex and for it to be absorbed by our body requires action of an enzyme, lactase, which degrades into glucose and galactose.

It is in the form of these molecules, the most simple that is absorbed in the small intestine, directly into the bloodstream.

Of bloodstream passes to our cells where they have an important role as an energy source and important constituents of cell membranes.


When the body does not produce lactase or its action is ineffective, the lactose reaches the large intestine without being degraded and there it is fermented by intestinal bacteria, may cause abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, gas, cramps, among other symptoms to which we give the name of lactose intolerance.

In Portugal, this intolerance affects a third of the population and the main cause is the decreased production of lactase from childhood to adulthood.

All the people are going to lose this enzyme but the rhythms and in different amounts, and this causes the symptoms are of different degrees or may even be non-existent.

Lactose is present in milk and milk products such as cheeses and yoghurts. However, many other products contain milk in their ingredients list and as such we must consider as having also lactose. As for example:

Milk bread and bread rolls, industrial
Breakfast cereals
Potato purees, soups and puddings snapshots
Mayonnaise and salad dressings
Caramels and chocolates
Cakes, pastries and biscuits
Liquor creamy

Lactose is also used in medicines, so you should always take care to the list of ingredients declared on the label.


First make sure with your gastroenterologist that is actually lactose intolerant. Do not remove from your diet foods rich nutritionally as milk, yogurt or cheese without having the diagnosis made.

No method can make the body go back to produce more lactase, but controlling your diet by eliminating or reducing foods with lactose, is able to minimize the symptoms.


Drink milk in small doses of a cup (100ml) or less,
Replace the versions with lactose-free versions, without the lactose or the same,
Replace the milk for cheese flamengo that has a very low level of lactose. And with only 2 slices reaches a portion of dairy products from two to three required on a daily basis.