What is lactose intolerance?
The main sugar in milk and most dairy products is lactose. The enzyme lactase (encoded by the LCT gene) is produced by your small intestine to help digest that sugar. In a large portion of the population, the production of lactase is reduced considerably after weaning, and this may lead to lactose intolerance. The lessened production of lactase is often called lactase non-persistence and Hypolactasia, and it makes the digestion of lactose a much more trying task for your body. Lactose intolerance manifests itself in a number of symptoms (see below). Our Lactose Intolerance Test helps you trace the cause of these symptoms in a sound scientific manner.
When we are infants, lactase production is high, as milk is the main source of our diet, but when the weaning period is over, lactase activity/ persistency decreases. As many as about 75% of the world’s population loses ability to digest lactose. Ethnicity and ancestry is a considerable factor in the case of hypolactasia, with occurrence in some Asian populations being as high as 100%.
Genetic counselling for lactose intolerance
homeDNAdirect’s genetic counselling service is ideal if you wish to discuss your results with a trained healthcare professional in the field of genetics. A genetic counsellor has a unique and valuable skill set that will help you make the best choices and also to make informed decisions. Genetic counselling, through our PhD specialist in medical genetics and counseling, is the right point of reference for individuals who undergo any type of genetic test and wish to fully understand how to make use of those results.
Causes and symptoms of lactose intolerance
Symptoms that may be caused by Lactose Intolerance most commonly manifest 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating or drinking lactose-containing foods, due to fermentation of bacteria and the lactose in the colon that remains undigested. Symptoms include stomach cramps, bloating and pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, painful passing of gas, nausea and vomiting.
Aside from being caused by dairy products, when one is more sensitive to lactose, foods that contain a smaller amount of lactose like baked goods, instant food and breakfast cereals may trigger these symptoms as well.
Related conditions and cures
Conditions that may manifest in similar symptoms include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease.
Depending on the severity of your sensitivity to products that contain lactose, you will need to regulate your diet in order to keep your stomach happy. There is no cure to Lactose Intolerance; however, having the condition does not always lead to a complete eradication of dairy products from your diet. In some cases, merely regulating the amount and type of foods consumed helps in lessening the severity and occurrence of the symptoms that come with lactose intolerance. Probiotics and fermented dairy products can be consumed to combat, and even eliminate, the symptoms of hypolactasia.
We recommend a doctor’s or dietician’s help in tailoring a diet that specifically suits your needs and lifestyle, as not everything works the same way for everyone.
How our lactose intolerance test works
Studies have found that lactose intolerance is not necessarily an effect of dairy products in our diet, but a genetic condition which is autosomally inherited, and whose markers can be found in our DNA, namely in the non-persistent phenotype.
The sample for our test can be easily collected in the comfort of your own home, and all necessary instruments and instructions will be provided in the kit that will be sent to you. This is done in an absolutely painless and quick manner, by collecting loose skin cells from the inside of your mouth through a cheek (buccal) swab.
In our partner laboratory, your sample is tested for the signs that point to genetic mutations related to Hypolactasia and Lactose Intolerance. In Caucasian adults, the LCT gene polymorphism -13910C>T (HGVS: g.30366C>T, rs4988235) has been linked to the condition. Lactase non-persistence seems to be the case when individuals are homozygous for C allele.
So take the steps to eliminate any feelings of discomfort or pain you may be having as a result of your diet and take our Lactose Intolerance Test, starting from just $199 and results ready in 3-4 weeks following receipt of your samples.
Related Tests: Testing for Celiac Disease
Lactose intolerance and celiac disease are known to share some common symptoms. homeDNAdirect offers other clinical DNA tests such as the celiac genetic predisposition test which tests for and confirms whether an individual carries the genes involved in celiac disease. Read more about celiac disease predisposition testing.