Leeuwenhoek had stolen and peeped into the fantastic sub-visible world of little things, creatures that had lived, had bred, had battled, had died, completely hidden from and unknown to all men from the beginning of time. Beasts these were of a kind that ravaged and annihilated whole races of men ten million times larger than they were themselves. Beings these were, more terrible than fire-spitting dragons or hydra-headed monsters. They were silent assassins that murdered babies in warm cradles and kings in sheltered places. It was this invisible, insignificant, but implacable-and sometimes friendly- world Leeuwenhoek had looked into for the first time of all men of all countries. ~Microbe Hunters

Friday, 7 June 2013

Lactose Intolerance

I work with this incredibly boring person for 8.5 hours a day, who is strangely uninterested in health and science topics. I like to be chatty, but it is difficult for me to come up with conversations (more, things I can blabber about) which will not make her fall asleep. The other day, I brought up a lactose intolerance quote my Analytical Chemistry prof used in my lecture the night before. She made the mistake of asking what lactose intolerance was, and got a 4.5 hour response on all medical-related things I could come up with. Pounce on the chance, right??

The quote: “You don’t need to be tested for lactose intolerance, you can just ask your wife!” I think that’s hilarious.

Anyways, lactose intolerance is actually very interesting.

The body is very specific as to what it can use for energy and nutrients. That is why there are so many different enzymes and metabolic pathways food goes through to give us the energy we need to run the marathon, or sit at a computer for 8 hours. All carbohydrates (sugars), lactose included, must be broken down to the simplest carbohydrate from, glucose, to be used by the body. Lactose is actually made of 1 glucose and 1 galactose molecule. The galactose must undergo another enzymatic reaction by other isomerase enzymes to convert it into the usable glucose.

If someone becomes lactose intolerant, the digestive system doesn’t possess the lactase enzyme, or it doesn’t make sufficient amounts to break down the amount of lactose eaten into glucose and galactose. What happens is, the lactose travels through the digestive system, and into the large intestine, where there are species of bacteria, like E.coli, that use lactose as an energy source. Since there is no oxygen available in the intestine, the bacteria ferment the lactose anaerobically, causing a mixture of gas to be produced. This causes gas and bloating, etc. Also, because there are increased amounts of carbohydrate sugars not being absorbed by the body (increased osmolality), water from the cellular tissues moves into the intestinal cavity to try and balance the concentration with the body’s normal concentration. This causes diarrhea.


Well, I found this interesting. 


Darn good and sure of it,

adot

10 comments:

  1. This is interesting. I read somewhere that as we grow older, the likelihood of intolerance increases. Have you come across this in your studies?

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    1. I have, but I don't know the mechanism for this other than "used up all your lactase" or perhaps it's genetic. Are you familiar with the mechanism?

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    2. I found this: http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/smallgut/lactose_intol.html

      It states that it is genetic with the lactate allele 'turning off' dependent upon the allele inherited. Interesting read - let me know what you think.

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    3. Oh that's so interesting! That was so easily put, which I liked because I don't have a good background in genetics. Thanks for sharing :)

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  2. LOL! Love the quotation. :-D
    I went on a health binge one weekend and ended up thinking I was lactose intolerant. Turned out it wasn't the milk but the dried apricots - apparently you're not supposed to eat an entire bag in one go. :-/

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    1. Haha my mother did the same thing last week!!

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  3. Thanks for nominating me for the Liebster, "adot"! My responses are here: http://notesfrominnisfree.blogspot.ca/2013/06/lalalalalala-liebster.html

    Thanks, too, for following my blog :)

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  4. Hi Adot! very interesting, indeed, I just love how this kind of things that you learn in the basic cycle of healthcare-related careers explains the most large and basic symptoms like diarrhea for lactose intolerance, it's all about the little things!! very exciting n.n
    Also, thank you for nominating me for a Liebster Blog Award :) the answers to the questions you made are already on my blog, sorry it took so long to respond :(

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    1. So very true! You're welcome for the nomination :) Thanks for accepting!!

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