Most Human Beings Are Lactose Intolerant: Here’s Why

advertisement - learn more

milk kidLactose intolerance is when the body does not produce enough lactase to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk and many other milk derived dairy products.

The enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose is lactase, an enzyme found on the wall of the intestines. Lactase breaks down lactose (the sugar found in milk) into galactose and glucose. The activity of lactase becomes reduced after breastfeeding, at that point the body no longer needs as much lactase. Not to mention a human mothers milk is much different from the milk of a cow.

The reduction of lactase activity after infancy is a genetically programmed event. Approximately 75 % of Earths population is lactose intolerant for a reason, because it’s perfectly natural.

The statistics vary from race to race and country to country but overall they show an abnormal amount of individuals who qualify. In some Asian countries, 90 percent of the population is lactose intolerant.

Interestingly, we are the only species on the planet that drinks milk from another species. Since lactase’s only function is the digestion of lactose in milk, most mammal species experience a dramatic reduction in the activity of the enzyme after weaning. Lactase persistence in humans has evolved as an adaptation to the consumption of non-human milk and dairy products consumed beyond infancy. Our diet has changed a lot, and as a result some of our genes have adapted, but it’s not an easy process. This is why most humans are lactose intolerant.

Every other species weans and then never drinks milk again for the rest of their lives, and because of that they don’t have an enzyme to break down the sugar in milk. But during human evolution, some humans experienced a mutation in the LTC gene, the lactase gene, these mutations allow us to process lactose as adults. With over 75 percent of humans on the planet unable to properly process it, it is evidence enough that we are not doing what is natural and in accordance with our bodies.

Our natural state is to be lactose intolerant. Undigested lactose in the small intestine acts like an osmotic agent, causing water and electrolytes to be pulled into the intestines, which results in diarrhea, bloating and gassiness. The body struggles and compensates, as well as protects itself by developing coping methods for our unnatural habits.

Lactase enzyme, found in the cells lining the small intestine of mammals, cleaves lactose, a disaccharide, into the constituent monosaccharides, galactose and glucose, which are readily absorbed by the intestine. The amount of lactase activity decreases substantially after weaning in mammals, as lactose is no more a major part of their diet. This condition in humans is referred to as lactase non-persistence (LNP) or adult-type hypolactasia or primary lactose mal-digestion (LM). In several human societies all over the world, lactose is a part of the diet of adults due to the prevalence of dairy products and fresh milk in diet; this has been the case ever since human societies had domesticated cattle. A genetic mutation seems to have occurred in one (or more) such society (ies) resulting in lactase activity persisting in the cells lining the intestine even in adult stage. This condition is referred to as lactase persistence (LP). This mutation, due to its selective advantage, had spread extensively in such cattle rearing societies; this is the generally accepted explanation for Northern European societies having a large proportion (up to 90%) of the population being LP. Human genome sequencing studies done since 2001 have led to uncovering the molecular basis of this mutation. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at the position 13910 nucleotide upstream to the gene coding for lactase (LCT; located on chromosome 2) appears to determine the LP/LNP status of most populations studied. The nucleotide C at this position (which is the ancestral condition as determined by comparison with primate genome sequence data) corresponds to the LNP status whereas the nucleotide T at this position (which is a mutation) corresponds to the LP status. LP allele is dominant over LNP. This relationship between the SNP at -13910 upstream of LCT and LP/LNP has been verified for several populations including East Asia, East Europe etc and holds good nearly universally with the exception of some small pockets of indigenous populations in African Continent and Arabian peninsula. Studies carried out (to be published) in the Indian population by scientists at Biotools Technologies Pvt Ltd., and a Govt. Medical Research Laboratory show that the SNP at -13910 upstream of LCT does determine LP/LNP status in Indian population as well. (1)

A huge increase in milk alternative products like rice milk, almond milk and coconut milk are popping up in grocery stores and convenience stores everywhere. It may be long before the truth about milk becomes more common knowledge and consumption and production weans off.

You can view more of our articles on mile and dairy products below:“milk-does-a-body-good”/


Sources: (1)

Take The 30 Days of YOU Challenge!

Take the free 30 Days of You Challenge and discover more about your heart, mind and soul.

There are powerful benefits associated with taking time to relax, meditate, do something you love, journal, reflect or get started on a new hobby, but that means dedicating YOU time for it.

This challenge will help you set out on a journey to getting powerful habits started that can transform your life.

Join the free challenge and get the full guidelines on how to do it as well as support throughout the challenge.

Click Here!

advertisement - learn more

More From 'Awareness'

CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Pingback: Vegan Butter Biscuits | Amy Joyce

  2. Pingback: Research – Sophia | Adaptive Mutation

  3. Pingback: Some Scientists Are Calling This The Second Brain. It’s Very Important To Keep It Healthy | Fun Health Facts

  4. Pingback: 10 Great Reasons Why You Should Ditch Milk and Dairy Products - Live Love Fruit

  5. Pingback: Deutschland, Singapur, Malaysia | koCKtrail

  6. Pingback: Some Scientists Are Calling This The Second Brain. It’s Very Important To Keep It Healthy | Michael Andrew Arata, MD

  7. PassingReader

    just wanted to say that we aren’t the only species to consume ànother species milk, I have witnessed puppies drinking from cats along with her kittens and vice versa cats milking from a dog both willingly with the mother animals knowledge. I have also seen adolescent cats attempt to milk from a cat, however most times if the mother cat sees the other cat pushing aside her kittens to get his mouth on a teat its usually followed by a smack to the face but I have seen the same cats come in when momma cat was not watching (lying with her head back and eyes closed and let the other cat go ahead when she doesn’t know of its presence. I never had any goats or anything but I would assume that younger dogs could come in and milk a goat in much the same fashion.
    Having been witness to this multiple times it seems that a group of mothering animals will mother babies of another species willingfully. I would assume that this is not just limited to dogs and cats.

    • Well that’s because they’re still babies! only babies have the ability to digest milk.

    • Rachel P

      That’s true, however those are exceptions not the rule. Typically that only occurs if the babies have been abandoned. And only as babies. Adult animals don’t seek out another species just for their milk as humans do. Sure they’d more than likely drink it if a human provides it, but in the wild they would never approach nursing mothers repeatedly just to drink their milk.

  8. Pingback: Some Scientists Are Calling This The Second Brain. It’s Very Important To Keep It Healthy |

  9. Pingback: Gut – Some Scientists Are Calling This The Second Brain. | Conscious Ninja

Leave a Reply

Sign Up For Updates

Free Exclusive Film Screening!

Free Film Screening

Featured TEDx Talk

TEDx - Agents of Change
advertisement - learn more
Connect, Inspire, Chat & Share!
CE Radio - Listen now!
advertisement - learn more
Subscribe to CE Magazine Monthly For Exclusive Content!
The Mind Unleashed

We Recommend

Trending Now


Merck’s Former Doctor Predicts Gardasil To Become The Greatest Medical Scandal Of All Time

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly…