Fungal lactase is an enzyme derived from the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, known as “koji” which are critical in the production of many traditional Japanese fermented foods such sake, soy sauce, and miso. It hydrolyzes lactose into galactose and glucose to help with the digestion of dairy products. Approximately 20% of the U.S. population is lactose intolerant, having the inability to break down lactose when consuming dairy products. Fungal lactase can assist in correctly digest lactose and being a well-suited supplement in encouraging overall digestive health.
There has been increasing evidence that plant-based lactase offers a great benefit to digestive health as much as animal-based lactase enzymes. Lactase is active at low pH (3.5-5.5), making it specifically effective to digest lactose in the stomach and therefore being the ideal dietary supplement used as a digestive aid. When lactose is left undigested in the small intestine, it reaches the large intestine to be degraded by its microbiota that produces by-products that cause symptoms associated with lactose intolerance including bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence.
Studies have shown that fungal lactase blends can be useful in supporting digestive complaints to reduce flatulence and bloating in those with reduced lactase enzyme levels in the gastrointestinal tract.
Researchers now understand the link between the digestive system and genes, with some infants and children being more prone to chronic diarrhea, bloating, and cramping than others. Research suggests that fungal lactase in human studies have shown improvements in children with these difficult digestive complaints. This research further suggests there’s a link between enzyme deficiencies and the use of lactase as a beneficial aid for supporting digestive concerns.