Lactose Intolerance by Country 2022

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Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder caused by the inability to digest lactose. Those with lactose intolerance don’t make enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to digest lactose. Lactose is the main carbohydrate in dairy products. Lactose intolerance can start at birth or can develop suddenly later in life, even if the individual has never had a problem with dairy before. Lactose intolerance in infants is caused by a mutation of the LCT gene, resulting in life-long intolerance. In adults, the disorder is caused by decreasing activity of the LCT gene, resulting in an increasing inability to digest lactose as an individual ages. About 65% of the adult human population has this type of lactose intolerance.

The disorder is relatively very common, affecting millions of people in the U.S. alone. Lactose intolerance is generally harmless but its symptoms can cause extreme discomfort. Symptoms of lactose intolerance appear after consuming lactose or dairy and include bloaring, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and gas. Lactose malabsorption causes the digestive symptoms of lactose intolerance. Not everyone with lactose malabsorption has digestive symptoms after consuming lactose. Only those who have symptoms have lactose intolerance.

Treatment for the disorder includes avoiding dairy, the use of lactase supplements (such as Lactaid), and the use of lactose-free products. While treatment can help prevent symptoms, there is no cure for this condition. Those who have lactose intolerance and need to avoid consuming dairy products run the risk of not receiving enough nutrients, specifically calcium and vitamin D. A lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, a condition in which one’s bones become brittle and more likely to break. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has guidelines on how to eat with lactose intolerance without sacrificing your nutritional needs.

Lactose Intolerance Around the World

In the United States, individuals who are from or whose families are from parts of the world where lactose malabsorption is more common are more likely to have lactose intolerance. According to the NIDDK, those who are American American, American Indian, Asian American, or Hispanic/Latino are more likely to have lactose malabsorption. Lactose intolerance is generally most common in Asian countries, especially in East Asian, where about 70-100% of people show lactose intolerance; it is least prevent in Northern and Central Europe, where only about 5% of the population has lactose intolerance. The ten countries with the highest prevalence of lactose intolerance are:

  1. Ghana - 100%
  2. Malawi - 100%
  3. South Korea - 100%
  4. Yemen - 100%
  5. Solomon Islands - 99%
  6. Armenia - 98%
  7. Vietnam - 98%
  8. Zambia - 98%
  9. Azerbaijan - 96%
  10. Oman - 96%

The ten countries with the lowest prevalence of lactose intolerance are:

  1. Denmark - 4%
  2. Ireland - 4%
  3. Sweden - 7%
  4. United Kingdom - 8%
  5. New Zealand - 10%
  6. Netherlands - 12%
  7. Norway - 12%
  8. Niger - 13%
  9. Belgium - 15%
  10. Cyprus - 16%

Lactose Intolerance by Country 2022

Country 2022 Population
Vatican City799
Tokelau1,378
Niue1,622
Falkland Islands3,539
Montserrat4,965
Saint Pierre And Miquelon5,759
Saint Barthelemy9,945
Nauru10,903
Wallis And Futuna10,982
Tuvalu12,066
Anguilla15,230
Cook Islands17,571
Palau18,233
British Virgin Islands30,596
Gibraltar33,704
San Marino34,085
Liechtenstein38,387
Saint Martin39,730
Turks And Caicos Islands39,741
Monaco39,783
Sint Maarten43,966
Faroe Islands49,233
Saint Kitts And Nevis53,871
American Samoa55,030
Greenland56,973
Northern Mariana Islands58,269
Marshall Islands60,057
Bermuda61,939
Cayman Islands67,277
Dominica72,344
Andorra77,463
Isle of Man85,732
Seychelles99,426
Antigua And Barbuda99,509
United States Virgin Islands103,971
Aruba107,609
Tonga107,749
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines111,551
Grenada113,475
Micronesia117,489
Kiribati123,419
Curacao165,529
Guam171,519
Saint Lucia185,113
Samoa202,239
Sao Tome And Principe227,679
French Polynesia284,164
Mayotte286,259
Barbados288,023
New Caledonia290,915
French Guiana314,169
Vanuatu321,832
Iceland345,393
Martinique374,087
Guadeloupe399,794
Bahamas400,516
Belize412,190
Malta444,033
Brunei445,431
Maldives540,985
Cape Verde567,678
Suriname596,831
Western Sahara626,161
Montenegro627,950
Luxembourg642,371
Macau667,490
Solomon Islands721,159
Bhutan787,941
Guyana794,045
Comoros907,419
Reunion908,061
Fiji909,466
Djibouti1,016,097
Eswatini1,184,817
Cyprus1,223,387
Mauritius1,274,727
Estonia1,321,910
Timor Leste1,369,429
Trinidad And Tobago1,406,585
Equatorial Guinea1,496,662
Bahrain1,783,983
Latvia1,848,837
Guinea Bissau2,063,367
Slovenia2,078,034
North Macedonia2,081,304
Lesotho2,175,699
Gabon2,331,533
Botswana2,441,162
Gambia2,558,482
Namibia2,633,874
Lithuania2,661,708
Puerto Rico2,829,812
Albania2,866,374
Armenia2,971,966
Qatar2,979,915
Jamaica2,985,094
Bosnia And Herzegovina3,249,317
Mongolia3,378,078
Uruguay3,496,016
Eritrea3,662,244
Georgia3,968,738
Moldova4,013,171
Croatia4,059,286
Kuwait4,380,326
Panama4,446,964
New Zealand4,898,203
Mauritania4,901,981
Central African Republic5,016,678
Ireland5,020,199
Costa Rica5,182,354
Liberia5,305,117
Oman5,323,993
Palestine5,345,541
Slovakia5,460,193
Norway5,511,370
Finland5,554,960
Republic of the Congo5,797,805
Denmark5,834,950
Singapore5,943,546
Turkmenistan6,201,943
El Salvador6,550,389
Lebanon6,684,849
Kyrgyzstan6,728,271
Nicaragua6,779,100
Bulgaria6,844,597
Libya7,040,745
Paraguay7,305,843
Laos7,481,023
Hong Kong7,604,299
Sierra Leone8,306,436
Serbia8,653,016
Togo8,680,837
Switzerland8,773,637
Israel8,922,892
Austria9,066,710
Papua New Guinea9,292,169
Belarus9,432,800
Hungary9,606,259
Tajikistan9,957,464
United Arab Emirates10,081,785
Portugal10,140,570
Sweden10,218,971
Honduras10,221,247
Azerbaijan10,300,205
Jordan10,300,869
Greece10,316,637
Czech Republic10,736,784
Dominican Republic11,056,370
Cuba11,305,652
South Sudan11,618,511
Belgium11,668,278
Haiti11,680,283
Bolivia11,992,656
Tunisia12,046,656
Burundi12,624,840
Benin12,784,726
Rwanda13,600,464
Guinea13,865,691
Zimbabwe15,331,428
Somalia16,841,795
Cambodia17,168,639
Netherlands17,211,447
Chad17,413,580
Senegal17,653,671
Ecuador18,113,361
Guatemala18,584,039
Romania19,031,335
Kazakhstan19,205,043
Chile19,250,195
Syria19,364,809
Zambia19,470,234
Malawi20,180,839
Mali21,473,764
Sri Lanka21,575,842
Burkina Faso22,102,838
Taiwan23,888,595
North Korea25,990,679
Australia26,068,792
Niger26,083,660
Ivory Coast27,742,298
Cameroon27,911,548
Madagascar29,178,077
Venezuela29,266,991
Nepal30,225,582
Yemen31,154,867
Ghana32,395,450
Mozambique33,089,461
Malaysia33,181,072
Peru33,684,208
Uzbekistan34,382,084
Angola35,027,343
Saudi Arabia35,844,909
Poland37,739,785
Morocco37,772,756
Canada38,388,419
Afghanistan40,754,388
Iraq42,164,965
Ukraine43,192,122
Algeria45,350,148
Sudan45,992,020
Argentina46,010,234
Spain46,719,142
Uganda48,432,863
South Korea51,329,899
Colombia51,512,762
Myanmar55,227,143
Kenya56,215,221
Italy60,262,770
South Africa60,756,135
Tanzania63,298,550
France65,584,518
United Kingdom68,497,907
Thailand70,078,203
Germany83,883,596
Turkey85,561,976
Iran86,022,837
DR Congo95,240,792
Vietnam98,953,541
Egypt106,156,692
Philippines112,508,994
Ethiopia120,812,698
Japan125,584,838
Mexico131,562,772
Russia145,805,947
Bangladesh167,885,689
Brazil215,353,593
Nigeria216,746,934
Pakistan229,488,994
Indonesia279,134,505
United States334,805,269
India1,406,631,776
China1,448,471,400

Lactose Intolerance by Country 2022

Sources