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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is lactose intolerance diagnosed?

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    I have completed a Bachelor of Exercise Science, Graduate Diploma in Education - Secondary, Master of Human Nutrition and I am a Level 2 Athletics … View Profile

    In an individual with Lactose Intolerance there is a deficiency of the enzyme lactase and thus subsequently the double sugar molecule being glucose and galactose   cannot be broken down into individual sugars.  This leaves the lactose molecule to ferment in the small bowel which in turn produces hydrogen gas.  The hydrogen gas is then taken up by the blood stream in the large bowel , carried to the lungs and breathed out.  The best way to diagnose Lactose Intolerance is via a Hydrogen Breath Test. A dcotor can refer you to a facilty that can perform this test.   Upon ingesting a drink containing the sugar lactose, an instrument is used to analyse the breath at specified periods to ascertain the levels of hydrogen breathed out from the lungs.  Any symptoms such as blaoting, gas are noted down and any rise in the amount of hydrogen gas in the breath is noted and a diagnosis is made depending on these results. 

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