Lactase is an enzyme. Like other enzymes, it is needed for a specific biochemical reaction in the body. The biochemical reaction that involves lactase breaks down lactose, a sugar in milk and milk products. Some people’s bodies do not make enough lactase, so they are not able to digest milk well. These people are said to have “lactase deficiency” and are called “lactose intolerant.” They can take supplemental lactase to help them break down lactose and tolerate milk. In these people lactase can prevent symptoms of lactose intolerance including cramps, diarrhea, and gas.
- Milk is a major source of calcium, which is needed for strong bones. People who do not get enough milk are more likely than other people to develop weak bones (osteoporosis). Lactase can be taken before consuming lactose or it can be added to milk.
People who are lactose intolerant have trouble digesting the milk sugar lactose. Lactase is an enzyme that splits the milk sugar lactose, to produce the sugars glucose and galactose.
Source: WebMD, www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/