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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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          Increasing incidence and prevalence of the inflammatory bowel diseases with time, based on systematic review.

          We conducted a systematic review to determine changes in the worldwide incidence and prevalence of ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) in different regions and with time. We performed a systematic literature search of MEDLINE (1950-2010; 8103 citations) and EMBASE (1980-2010; 4975 citations) to identify studies that were population based, included data that could be used to calculate incidence and prevalence, and reported separate data on UC and/or CD in full manuscripts (n = 260). We evaluated data from 167 studies from Europe (1930-2008), 52 studies from Asia and the Middle East (1950-2008), and 27 studies from North America (1920-2004). Maps were used to present worldwide differences in the incidence and prevalence of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs); time trends were determined using joinpoint regression. The highest annual incidence of UC was 24.3 per 100,000 person-years in Europe, 6.3 per 100,000 person-years in Asia and the Middle East, and 19.2 per 100,000 person-years in North America. The highest annual incidence of CD was 12.7 per 100,000 person-years in Europe, 5.0 person-years in Asia and the Middle East, and 20.2 per 100,000 person-years in North America. The highest reported prevalence values for IBD were in Europe (UC, 505 per 100,000 persons; CD, 322 per 100,000 persons) and North America (UC, 249 per 100,000 persons; CD, 319 per 100,000 persons). In time-trend analyses, 75% of CD studies and 60% of UC studies had an increasing incidence of statistical significance (P < .05). Although there are few epidemiologic data from developing countries, the incidence and prevalence of IBD are increasing with time and in different regions around the world, indicating its emergence as a global disease. Copyright © 2012 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Convergent adaptation of human lactase persistence in Africa and Europe.

              A SNP in the gene encoding lactase (LCT) (C/T-13910) is associated with the ability to digest milk as adults (lactase persistence) in Europeans, but the genetic basis of lactase persistence in Africans was previously unknown. We conducted a genotype-phenotype association study in 470 Tanzanians, Kenyans and Sudanese and identified three SNPs (G/C-14010, T/G-13915 and C/G-13907) that are associated with lactase persistence and that have derived alleles that significantly enhance transcription from the LCT promoter in vitro. These SNPs originated on different haplotype backgrounds from the European C/T-13910 SNP and from each other. Genotyping across a 3-Mb region demonstrated haplotype homozygosity extending >2.0 Mb on chromosomes carrying C-14010, consistent with a selective sweep over the past approximately 7,000 years. These data provide a marked example of convergent evolution due to strong selective pressure resulting from shared cultural traits-animal domestication and adult milk consumption.
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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

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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