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Rev Invest Clin. 1996 Nov;48 Suppl:15-22.

[Poor digestion of lactose. Its definition, prevalence in Mexico, and its implications in milk consumption].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Fisiología de la Nutrición, Instituto Nacional de la Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, México, D.F.


We review the studies that have been carried out in Mexico related to prevalence of lactase deficiency. We also describe a study carried out in three regions of Mexico with different consumption of milk (Northern, Central & Southeastern), comprising 960 individuals of ages ranging from 1 to 99 years. They were evaluated in a double blind study in order to determine the prevalence of lactose maldigestion with habitual dosis of milk. Each subject received two treatments: a) 240 or 360 mL of intact milk according to age, and b) the same amount of milk but with the lactose hydrolyzed (> 90% hydrolyzed). The participants were classified as digesters or maldigesters of lactose using the hydrogen breath test. The prevalence of maldigesters was higher in the Central (30%) and Southeastern (22%) regions than in the Northern one (9%, p < 0.01). The prevalence increased with age from 4.5% (< 3 years), 13.6% (3 to 5.9), 20.8% (6 to 12.9), 21.8% (13 to 17.9) and 32.9% in adults. Lactose maldigestion affected consumption marginally.

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