What is lactose?

Lactose is a natural carbohydrate in milk that is also called milk sugar. Breast milk contains approximately 7 g of lactose per 100 g, and cow's milk has approximately 4.8 g per 100 g.

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is a condition in which unabsorbed lactose causes digestive problems, such as diarrhoea, flatulence and bloating. These symptoms can vary greatly between individuals – and even in the same person between meals. The symptoms disappear when lactose is decreased or completely eliminated from the diet.

Lactose intolerance is a hereditary characteristic that usually develops during the growth. It can also be caused by diseases that destroy the intestinal mucosa. In this secondary type of lactose intolerance, when the intestinal mucosa is heals, the ability to produce lactase is returned.

”Lactose intolerance is a hereditary characteristic.”

Glass of milk

Watch Dr. Matti Harju explain what lactose intolerance is.

The normal lactose breakdown process

The lactase enzyme produced by the body breaks down lactose into galactose and glucose. Galactose and glucose are absorbed into the blood circulation.

Normal lactose break-down process

Incomplete lactose break down process

When the lactase enzyme is lacking or produced only in small quantities:

  • The unabsorbed lactose stays in the bowel.
  • Lactose binds water and increases formation of gas, causing diarrhoea and flatulence.
Incomplete lactose break-down process

How common is it?

Lactase enzyme deficiency is most commonly is a hereditary characteristic. In many populations, lactase deficiency is a prevalent characteristic. Only in populations where people are accustomed to drinking milk have the majority maintained a tolerance to lactose.

How common is lactose intolerance in the World?

Prevalence of lactose intolerance as a percentage of the adult population

Valio is the world’s leading expert in lactose free dairy

Valio is a true pioneer in lactose-free dairy. After launching the world’s first totally lactose free milk drink in Finland in 2001, the company proceeded to develop a complete range of lactose free dairy products with superior taste – over 100 products to date.

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Valio Eila® lactose free products simply offer the best taste

Lactose-free products from Valio are suitable even for those with the highest sensitivity to lactose intolerance. The Valio Eila® lactose-free brand stands for expertise in lactose-free production and is a firm favourite in Valio’s domestic market.

Valio lactose-free milk has the great taste of regular fresh milk. Lactose is removed from milk with the method patented by Valio, and the lactose content is 0 g per 100 g. It tastes like normal fresh milk and can be used in cooking just like ordinary products.

The lactose free milk drink has been the source of a number of innovations and was the launch pad for the development of Valio Eila® lactose-free products, ingredients and technology.

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Valio dairy products are made from pure Finnish milk. In them, you can taste the pristine Arctic nature.

Valio's new consumer powders are easy to digest*, so lactose intolerant consumers benefit from the milk nutrients, high protein content and added vitamin D, as part of a balanced and varied diet and a healthy lifestyle.

* Products containing less lactose can help relieve the digestion problems caused by lactose for people suffering from lactose intolerance