Dynamic DNA Labs: Genetics of Lactose Intolerance

Dynamic DNA Labs Looks at the Genetics of Lactose Intolerance

Milk is a nutritious food — containing micronutrients, carbohydrates and, of course, a fair amount of calcium. However, many of us are intolerant to lactose and are unable to digest milk without experiencing multiple unpleasant side effects such as diarrhea, bloating, nausea, and abdominal cramps. Why does this happen? We now know it’s hereditary and some genes are responsible for passing this trait down from our parents.

At Dynamic DNA Labs, we can test for nutritional traits. This helps our customers find the optimal diet for weight loss and helps them find potential food reactions. When it comes to food sensitivity, lactose intolerance is common but we haven’t understood the science of lactose reactions for very long. In today’s blog, Dynamic DNA Labs takes a closer look at the genetics of lactose intolerance.

Lactose

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and milk products, including human milk. Lactose is sometimes called milk sugar, and it is not found naturally in any other food. By adulthood, many people lose the ability to digest lactose, a condition known as lactose intolerance. Those who are lactose intolerant will typically become symptomatic (usually gastrointestinal issues) within a half an hour of consumption.

Lactose Intolerance and Genetics

There is a large amount of lactase, an enzyme needed to digest milk, produced by our bodies when we are infants, which allows us to digest milk. Most of us (roughly 75 percent) begin to become lactose intolerant as we reach adolescence. The main reason for this is a variation found in a gene called MCM6, which enables the production of lactase. The single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) rs4988235 in the MCM6 gene results in varying levels of lactose metabolism:

  • CC Variant: Having a CC genotype in the MCM6 gene means you are more likely to be lactose tolerant, especially as an adult.
  • CT/TT Variant: Having a CT or TT genotype in the MCM6 gene indicates that you are more likely to be able to digest lactose as an adult, also known as lactose tolerant.

Typically, if you are lactose intolerant, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have any milk or dairy product; you simply need to swap the dairy products that are high in lactose with ones that have lower amounts.

Are You Lactose Intolerant?

At Dynamic DNA Labs, quick methods of genetic testing are available that can help to determine whether or not you are lactose intolerant. In fact, at Dynamic DNA Labs, our nutrition DNA test can help you identify many food sensitivities and allergies, and help you find the optimal diet for weight loss.

Contact Dynamic DNA Labs

If you have questions about food sensitivities, health, nutrition, or how to uncover your genetic ancestry, contact Dynamic DNA Labs. We do our testing in-house in a state-of-the-art lab, with personal service and trusted results. Visit our website today.

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