Disaccharidase Deficiency: Causes & Treatment for Lactose Deficiency

Disaccharide Deficiency

Disaccharide deficiency is also referred to as lactase deficiency which is characterized by inability of the body to either digest or absorb lactose. Lactase is an enzyme found in the intestinal which is responsible for breaking lactose (a sugar found in milk and milk products), into simpler sugars namely galactose and glucose. As a result of deficiency of lactase, the intestinal mucosa fails to break down lactose into simpler components and is associated with a wide range of symptoms and problems.

Disaccharide deficiency may be congenital or acquired.

Disaccharide Deficiency Symptoms

The most common symptoms associated with the Disaccharide deficiency include,

  • Abdominal bloating and distention
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Foul smelling stools and floating stools
  • Malnutrition and unusual weight loss
  • Nausea and retarded growth

Disaccharidase Deficiency Diet

Individuals suffering from disaccharide deficiency are recommended to avoid milk and milk products which are the chief cause of the symptoms. Hence a diet rich in calcium is required to compensate for the body’s demand for calcium.

The diet should include salmon, baked beans, spinach, leafy vegetables, shrimp, green peas, oysters, broccoli and fresh fruits.

In addition milk products which are easier to digest may be consumed which include soy milk, butter milk, lactose free milk, goat’s milk, etc

Disaccharidase Deficiency Treatment

The treatment comprises of avoiding lactose rich foods and ensuring an adequate intake of alternative calcium rich foods. Further regular health checks are an integral part of the treatment procedure.


  1. SU said:

    Can you please add some information about the other disaccharidases? Only one, lactase is covered here.

    February 27, 2014
    • PUP said:

      Disaccharidases are type of enzymes that breakdown complex sugar to simple sugar. It makes the intestinal absorption of sugar easier. Deficiency of these enzymes results in many gastrointestinal symptoms. Most of the dietary disaccharidases are lactose, maltose, and sucrose. They are broken down by lactase, maltase, and sucrose. Lactase breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose, maltase into maltose, sucrase breaks down sucrose into glucose and fructose.

      February 28, 2014

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