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      Adult Lactose Digestion Status and Effects on Disease

      Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

      Hindawi Limited

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          Abstract

          BACKGROUND: Adult assimilation of lactose divides humans into dominant lactase-persistent and recessive nonpersistent phenotypes.

          OBJECTIVES: To review three medical parameters of lactose digestion, namely: the changing concept of lactose intolerance; the possible impact on diseases of microbial adaptation in lactase-nonpersistent populations; and the possibility that the evolution of lactase has influenced some disease pattern distributions.

          METHODS: A PubMed, Google Scholar and manual review of articles were used to provide a narrative review of the topic.

          RESULTS: The concept of lactose intolerance is changing and merging with food intolerances. Microbial adaptation to regular lactose consumption in lactase-nonpersistent individuals is supported by limited evidence. There is evidence suggestive of a relationship among geographical distributions of latitude, sunhine exposure and lactase proportional distributions worldwide.

          DISCUSSION: The definition of lactose intolerance has shifted away from association with lactose maldigestion. Lactose sensitivity is described equally in lactose digesters and maldigesters. The important medical consequence of withholding dairy foods could have a detrimental impact on several diseases; in addition, microbial adaptation in lactase-nonpersistent populations may alter risk for some diseases. There is suggestive evidence that the emergence of lactase persistence, together with human migrations before and after the emergence of lactase persistence, have impacted modern-day diseases.

          CONCLUSIONS: Lactose maldigestion and lactose intolerance are not synonymous. Withholding dairy foods is a poor method to treat lactose intolerance. Further epidemiological work could shed light on the possible effects of microbial adaptation in lactose maldigesters. The evolutionary impact of lactase may be still ongoing.

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          Most cited references 77

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            New IBD genetics: common pathways with other diseases.

            Complex disease genetics has been revolutionised in recent years by the advent of genome-wide association (GWA) studies. The chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis have seen notable successes culminating in the discovery of 99 published susceptibility loci/genes (71 Crohn's disease; 47 ulcerative colitis) to date. Approximately one-third of loci described confer susceptibility to both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Amongst these are multiple genes involved in IL23/Th17 signalling (IL23R, IL12B, JAK2, TYK2 and STAT3), IL10, IL1R2, REL, CARD9, NKX2.3, ICOSLG, PRDM1, SMAD3 and ORMDL3. The evolving genetic architecture of IBD has furthered our understanding of disease pathogenesis. For Crohn's disease, defective processing of intracellular bacteria has become a central theme, following gene discoveries in autophagy and innate immunity (associations with NOD2, IRGM, ATG16L1 are specific to Crohn's disease). Genetic evidence has also demonstrated the importance of barrier function to the development of ulcerative colitis (HNF4A, LAMB1, CDH1 and GNA12). However, when the data are analysed in more detail, deeper themes emerge including the shared susceptibility seen with other diseases. Many immune-mediated diseases overlap in this respect, paralleling the reported epidemiological evidence. However, in several cases the reported shared susceptibility appears at odds with the clinical picture. Examples include both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. In this review we will detail the presently available data on the genetic overlap between IBD and other diseases. The discussion will be informed by the epidemiological data in the published literature and the implications for pathogenesis and therapy will be outlined. This arena will move forwards very quickly in the next few years. Ultimately, we anticipate that these genetic insights will transform the landscape of common complex diseases such as IBD.
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              Mounting evidence for vitamin D as an environmental factor affecting autoimmune disease prevalence.

              Low vitamin D status has been implicated in the etiology of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and inflammatory bowel disease. The optimal level of vitamin D intake required to support optimal immune function is not known but is likely to be at least that required for healthy bones. Experimentally, vitamin D deficiency results in the increased incidence of autoimmune disease. Mechanistically, the data point to a role for vitamin D in the development of self-tolerance. The vitamin D hormone (1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D(3)) regulates T helper cell (Th1) and dendritic cell function while inducing regulatory T-cell function. The net result is a decrease in the Th1-driven autoimmune response and decreased severity of symptoms. This review discusses the accumulating evidence pointing to a link between vitamin D and autoimmunity. Increased vitamin D intakes might decrease the incidence and severity of autoimmune diseases and the rate of bone fracture.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
                Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
                Hindawi Limited
                2291-2789
                2291-2797
                2015
                2015
                : 29
                : 3
                : 149-156
                Article
                10.1155/2015/904686
                © 2015

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