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β-d-galactosidase; an enzyme in the intestinal mucosa that hydrolyzes lactose, producing glucose and galactose.
lactase deficiency a deficiency of intestinal lactase, which causes abdominal distention and cramping and often diarrhea when milk is drunk. The condition is usually hereditary with an onset between infancy and early adulthood, and is more common in Blacks, American Indians, and East Asians (70 to 90 per cent) than in Whites (10 to 15 per cent). It may also occur secondary to massive small bowel resection or to diseases involving the mucosa, such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, tropical sprue, and ulcerative colitis.