That's a very good question. And not so easy to answer. To do that, we'll have to backtrack a bit and tell you a little bit about the properties and history of lactase. But don't worry, later there will also be specific tips for dosage.
Once upon a time… Lactase and its activity
Normally, the content of vitamins, minerals, etc. is always indicated by weight in the case of food supplements.
One tablet contains 50 mg of vitamin C, for example. With lactase, however, this makes little sense. Why?
A pure weight specification says nothing about the activity of the enzymes, i.e., about their ability to break down lactose.
So there may be 500 mg of lactase in a tablet, but who knows how many of the enzymes are still functioning at all and how many may have already broken down during production? No one can estimate that.
That's why it was agreed to indicate the activity of the lactase on the package instead. This makes it easier for the consumer to see how much is really in it. This information is usually given in FCC.
What does FFC stand for?
FCC stands for Food Chemical Codex. This is a book that serves as a standard reference for numerous tests used to evaluate food additives. It describes standardized test procedures that every laboratory must implement exactly in this way, for example, to determine the purity of a substance. This ensures that the results are comparable at the end.
The way it works is that a chemical substance called o-nitrophenyl-β-D-galactopyranoside is diluted in water, then lactase is added, and it is measured over a certain time how much of the substance is cleaved by the lactase.
The whole process takes place under laboratory conditions that are perfect for lactase, i.e., at the correct pH value and without any other interfering substances. This result is then referred to as FCC or the activity of lactase.
On the basis of such measurements, the common rule of thumb was established: 1000 FCC cleave 5g of lactose. However …
What is the right lactase dosage for me?
However, such measurements are not realistic. Our digestive system is not a giant water-filled test tube.
There are different pH values, there are other enzymes that interfere with lactase, and the food pulp is much more viscous than water and prevents lactase from being properly distributed. Researchers noticed this, too, so they tried to recreate the food pulp and the conditions in the digestive tract in the lab.
The results were impressive. Indeed, it turned out that the assumed 5g per 1000 FCC did not correspond to reality at all.
Rather, depending on the conditions and the lactase preparation studied, the researchers arrived at values of 1.7-2.5 g per 1000 FCC or 1.4 g per 1000 FCC.
However, the researchers also write quite honestly that these were only studies on a model and that even this cannot represent reality 100%.
And we see it similarly. People are different and eating habits are different.
For this reason, the most that can be done is to give a guideline as to how much lactase each individual needs. In case of doubt, it is better to take more lactase than less (more on this in a moment).
Therefore we assume about 1.4 g lactose per 1000 FCC. A glass of milk with 200 ml contains about 9 g lactose, so with half a tablet of LactoJoy 14500 FCC you have that safely covered and even a small buffer.
That's why our products are so high dosed—we assume slightly different values than our competitors.
But what if I take too much lactase? Will that harm me then?
No, there is no evidence of this. Lactase preparations are very safe, have been used successfully for a long time and have already been tested in several studies in humans without any side effects.
Studies have also been carried out in which lactase was given in maximum overdoses over a long period of time.
Extreme amounts of lactase were administered, exactly as much as someone would have to take if they wanted to drink 1500 liters or 16,000 liters of milk a day.
Even with that much lactase, no problems occurred. This suggests that lactase is not easily overdosed. Nevertheless, we recommend that you do not take more than 10 tablets a day—just to be on the safe side.
But then what happens if you've taken more lactase than you need?
The answer is: not much.
Lactase is an enzyme, just as our digestive system uses many other enzymes to digest our food. When the body has produced more enzymes than it requires, they all have a similar fate: they are either digested or excreted. This is also what happens to lactase.
- The National Research Council – Food Chemicals Codex: Third Edition, The National Academies Press (1981)
- De Vrese, M., Laue, C., Offick, B., Soeth, E., Repenning, F., Thoß, A., Schrezenmeir, J. – A combination of acid lactase from Aspergillus oryzae and yogurt bacteria improves lactose digestion in lactose maldigesters synergistically: A randomized, controlled, double-blind cross-over trial, Clin Nutr. 34(3):394–9, 2015.
- O’Connell, S., Walsh, G. – Physicochemical characteristics of commercial lactases relevant to their application in the alleviation of lactose intolerance, Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 134(2):179–91, 2006.
- Francesconi, C. F., Machado, M. B., Steinwurz, F., Nones, R. B., Quilici, F. A., Catapani, W. R., Miszputen, S. J., Bafutto, M. – Oral administration of exogenous lactase in tablets for patients diagnosed with lactose intolerance due to primary hypolactasia, Arq Gastroenterol. 53(4):228–234, 2016.
- Zou, S., He, X., Liu, Y., Chen, D., Luo, Y., Huang, K., Zhang, W., Xu, W. – Toxicological evaluation of lactase derived from recombinant Pichia pastoris, PLoS One. 3;9(9):e106470, 2014.
- Coenen, T. M., Bertens, A. M., de Hoog, S. C., Verspeek-Rip, C. M. – Safety evaluation of a lactase enzyme preparation derived from Kluyveromyces lactis, Food Chem Toxicol. 38(8):671–7, 2000.
Chris from LactoJoy