Reader's Digest (Canada) - - Reader’s Digest -

Lac­tase is… A. a mi­cronu­tri­ent found in dairy prod­ucts that helps build mus­cle mass.

B. when a mother stops pro­duc­ing

milk af­ter wean­ing her child. C. an enzyme that breaks down

lac­tose, a sugar found in milk.

D. a dis­or­der af­fect­ing in­fants who

lack the in­stinct to breast­feed.

An­swer: C. Lac­tase is a di­ges­tive enzyme that helps break down milk sug­ars. Vir­tu­ally all hu­mans pro­duce plenty of lac­tase as ba­bies, but many de­crease pro­duc­tion in adult­hood. In fact, only about a third of the world’s adults can fully di­gest dairy. Genes play a large role in lac­tase per­sis­tence: for in­stance, roughly 25 per cent of Greek adults can con­sume lac­tose with­out ef­fects such as gas or bloat­ing, com­pared to up­ward of 90 per cent of Ir­ish men and women.

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