The most common type of lactose intolerance is when your body slowly decreases the amount of lactase it makes. This can start in early childhood, but most people don’t notice any problems until they become a teenagers or adults. This type of lactose intolerance is inherited from our parents; we’re born with it!
Did You Know?
Most animals stop making lactase once they stop breastfeeding.7 In the animal world, lactose intolerance is perfectly normal!
When we can’t break down lactose, the bacteria in our gut try to help out. Unfortunately, the bacteria produce a lot of gas when they break down lactose. This is why we feel our stomach rumbling and bloating. What’s more, extra lactose in our gut will pull lots of water into our intestines, which normally causes diarrhea.7
Who gets lactose intolerance?
Experts believe that up to 75% of the world’s adults are lactose intolerant. Since lactose intolerance is inherited from your parents, it varies in different groups of people. Lactose intolerance is very common among African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and East Asians.7
Some populations are rarely lactose intolerant. For example, only about 5-10% of people of Northern European descent have lactose intolerance.7