Diagnostic Tests

Lactose Tolerance Test


Lactose Tolerance Test

Also known as Lactose Tolerance Test Blood
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What is this test?

Lactose tolerance test blood is done to check the lactose levels in the blood of an individual for assessing the risk factors related to lactose intolerance. This test is usually performed to know how an individual is processing the lactose in the body.

What is Lactose tolerance?

The ability of the body to metabolize the lactose and clear it from the bloodstream is called lactose tolerance. Increased tolerance to glucose may lead to an increase in blood lactose levels and may cause problems in digesting dairy products. This may cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, gas, etc.

Lactose is a type of sugar with a complex structure and is found in milk and many other dairy products. Lactose is broken down into glucose and galactose before it is absorbed by the body. This breakdown is performed by lactase, an enzyme produced by cells present in the small intestine.

Why this test is performed?

The doctor may ask you to undergo this test if an individual is suffering from symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, gas, etc. When an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, obesity, or a previous history of gestational diabetes visits hospital for a general check-up, the doctor may ask to undergo the lactose tolerance test blood which gives a better status of the condition. Mostly, this test is done along with other diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis.


For individuals above 45 years of age, this test is recommended every 3 years. The frequency of this test depends on various factors like body weight, history of heart disease, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, imbalance of female sex hormones, a family member with diabetes, physically inactive, polycystic ovary disease, etc. Children above 10 years of age with any of two above-mentioned risk factors should be recommended to this test at least once in every 3 years even with no symptoms.


Report the use of any medicines or diets to your doctor as they may interfere with your test results. Overnight fasting may make an individual feel dizzy, so it is recommended to have a caretaker along with the individual.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Lactose Tolerance Test. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Lactose Tolerance Test.

This test is done after you fasted (without eating anything) for a whole night or for 8 to 12 hours. Usually, the blood is drawn in the morning after overnight fasting. After the first blood sample collection, a lactose solution is given to the individual for consuming and the second blood sample is drawn after 2 hours of consuming the lactose solution.

Understanding your test results

The test results may be different depending on gender, age, health conditions, and other factors.

If the test results are above/more than the normal reference range, then it may indicate that there may be a chance for the patient to develop diabetes and lactose tolerance.

Based on the test results, your doctor may advise you appropriate medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, or further diagnostic tests, etc.

GenderAge groupsValue
MALEAll age groupsIf Blood Glucose levels are < 20 mg/dl, then the patient is intolerant
FEMALEAll age groupsIf Blood Glucose levels are < 20 mg/dl, then the patient is intolerant
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