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What is lactase?

Lactase is an enzyme produced in the small intestine that is required to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk.

What is lactaid?

Lactaid is an enzyme pill that can be taken with milk products to help break down the sugar molecule lactose. Some people may not produce enough of the enzyme lactase in their gut that breaks down lactose, which can result in undesirable side effects like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. This is also known as lactose intolerance. Taking the lactaid enzyme pill with meals can help prevent those symptoms and make consuming dairy products more tolerable.

What is lactaid milk?

Lactaid milk is cow’s milk that has an added enzyme (lactase) to help break down lactose. Lactaid milk is similar in nutrient content to regular cow’s milk, though some people feel it tastes sweeter because the broken down molecules of lactose (glucose and galactose) tend to have a sweeter taste than the whole lactose molecule. Lactaid milk is fortified with Vitamin A and VItamin D just as regular cow’s milk is.

Does lactaid work?

Lactaid breaks down the sugar molecule lactose into two simple sugars called glucose and galactose. People who are lactose intolerant do not produce enough of the enzyme lactase that normally breaks down lactose, so the Lactaid pill does that same function. This allows the lactose to be in a form that the body can digest without symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and upset stomach.

Related Terms

Ketones Gluten

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Photo of Kristin Ricklefs-Johnson

Medically reviewed by:

Kristin Ricklefs-Johnson, Ph.D., RD

Kristin is an RDN who also earned her Ph.D. in Nutrition from Arizona State University with an emphasis on insulin resistance, lipid metabolism disorders, and obesity. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Mayo Clinic where she focused on nutrition-related proteomic and metabolic research. Her interests include understanding the exact mechanism of action of various genetic variations underlying individual predispositions to nutrition-related health outcomes. Her goal is to help all individuals prevent chronic diseases and achieve long, healthy lives through eating well.

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