Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance work on Wednesday 27th March 2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (GMT).

During this time our website performance may be temporarily affected. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 8, 2018
Previous Article Next Article

Lactose malabsorption and intolerance: a review

Author affiliations


Food lactose and lactose intolerance are today hot topics in the field of food and nutrition. About 70% of the adult world population is lactose-intolerant, due to low levels of intestinal lactase, also called lactase-phlorizin hydrolase (LPH), a β-D-galactosidase found in the apical surface of the intestinal microvilli. This may be due to the loss of intestinal lactase in adulthood, a condition transmitted by an autosomal recessive gene, which differs in humans according to race. According to the cultural-historical hypothesis, the mutation that allows the metabolization of lactose appeared about 10 000 years ago in the inhabitants of Northern Europe where mammalian milk continued in the diet after weaning, and lactase-persistent populations were genetically selected in some areas. Many intolerant individuals can tolerate low levels of lactose in their daily diet. Probiotics have also been proposed as an alternative that could avoid some symptoms of lactose intolerance. Many products are marketed nowadays as alternatives to dairy products for lactose-intolerant individuals. However, the rules for low-lactose foods are currently not harmonised in the European Union. As scientific knowledge on lactose intolerance has notably advanced in recent decades, the aim of this work was to review the current state of the knowledge on lactose and lactose intolerance, its diagnosis and clinical management, and the various food products that are offered specifically for non-tolerant individuals.

Graphical abstract: Lactose malabsorption and intolerance: a review

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 22 Mar 2018, accepted on 25 Jun 2018 and first published on 29 Jun 2018

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8FO00555A
Citation: Food Funct., 2018,9, 4056-4068

  •   Request permissions

    Lactose malabsorption and intolerance: a review

    S. Ugidos-Rodríguez, M. C. Matallana-González and M. C. Sánchez-Mata, Food Funct., 2018, 9, 4056
    DOI: 10.1039/C8FO00555A

Search articles by author