The Importance of Lactose Tolerance to Europe’s Development

By Phin Upham

Are you able to drink milk and eat cheeses without feeling sick? If so, you can likely trace your ancestry to a single line of Hungarian farmers and herders from 7,500 years ago. According to an article in Nature, most Europeans are lactose tolerant because of a single genetic mutation that was spread through generations.

Up through the most recent Ice Age, only children’s bodies could break down lactose by producing the lactase enzyme. That changed around 7,500 years ago with a genetic mutation among the farmers of Central Europe that allowed adults to produce the lactase enzyme and safely consume milk, cheeses and other dairy products. This allowed people with this mutation to store dairy products over the winter, giving them a source of nutrition and helping them to withstand famine conditions.

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Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.

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