Lack of the enzyme lactase in the small intestine. Lactase is needed to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and most other dairy products and also used as an ingredient in other foods. Although most people are born with the ability to make adequate amounts of lactase, the production of lactase normally decreases with age, and there are significant differences in lactase production among ethnic groups. People of African or Asian descent commonly have difficulty digesting products that contain lactose. The most common symptoms of lactase deficiency are diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Treatment usually involves avoiding lactose in the diet or taking over-the-counter lactase supplements before eating foods that contain lactose.
- Lactate dehydrogenase
(LDH) An enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of lactate to pyruvate. This is an important step in energy production in cells. Many different types of cells in the body contain this enzyme. Some of the organs relatively rich in LDH are the heart, kidney, liver, and muscle. As cells die, their LDH is released and […]
The process of milk production. Human milk is secreted by the mammary glands, which are located within the fatty tissue of the breast. The hormone oxytocin is produced in response to the birth of a new baby, and it both stimulates uterine contractions and begins the lactation process. For the first few hours of nursing, […]
some types have become an important part of food digestion, although Lactobacillus can also contribute to cavities in the teeth if allowed to remain too long within the mouth.
- Lactic acidosis
Acidosis (too much acid in the body) due to the buildup of lactic acid in the body. Lactic acidosis occurs when cells make lactic acid (from glucose) faster than it can be metabolized. The key signs of lactic acidosis include unusually deep and rapid breathing, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Lactic acidosis is a feature of […]
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
This bacteria is part of the normal flora of the human and animal mouth, intestinal tract, and vagina. As normal flora, it helps to prevent overgrowth of potentially harmful bacteria by maintaining an acidic environment. Acidophilus and some related bacteria are considered to be “probiotic” because they may help the body maintain or restore its […]