Association of lactase persistence genotypes (Rs4988235) and ethnicity with dairy intake in a healthy u.s. population

Elizabeth L. Chin, Liping Huang, Yasmine Y. Bouzid, Catherine P. Kirschke, Blythe Durbin-Johnson, Lacey M. Baldiviez, Ellen L. Bonnel, Nancy L Keim, Ian Korf, Charles Bolt Stephensen, Danielle G. Lemay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Lactase persistence (LP) is a trait in which lactose can be digested throughout adulthood, while lactase non-persistence (LNP) can cause lactose intolerance and influence dairy consumption. One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP ID: rs4988235) is often used as a predictor for dairy intake, since it is responsible for LP in people in European descent, and can occur in other ethnic groups. The objective of this study was to determine whether rs4988235 genotypes and ethnicity influence reported dairy consumption in the United States (U.S.). A food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and multiple Automated Self-Administered 24-h recalls (ASA24® ) were used to measure habitual and recent intake, respectively, of total dairy, cheese, cow’s milk, plant-based alternative milk, and yogurt in a multi-ethnic U.S. cohort genotyped for rs4988235. Within Caucasian subjects, LP individuals reported consuming more recent total dairy and habitual total cow’s milk intake. For subjects of all ethnicities, LP individuals consumed more cheese (FFQ p = 0.043, ASA24 p = 0.012) and recent total dairy (ASA24 p = 0.005). For both dietary assessments, Caucasians consumed more cheese than all non-Caucasians (FFQ p = 0.036, ASA24 p = 0.002) independent of genotype, as well as more recent intake of yogurt (ASA24 p = 0.042). LP subjects consumed more total cow’s milk than LNP, but only when accounting for whether subjects were Caucasian or not (FFQ p = 0.015). Fluid milk and alternative plant-based milk consumption were not associated with genotypes or ethnicity. Our results show that both LP genotype and ethnicity influence the intake of some dairy products in a multi-ethnic U.S. cohort, but the ability of rs4988235 genotypes to predict intake may depend on ethnic background, the specific dairy product, and whether intake is reported on a habitual or recent basis. Therefore, ethnicity and the dietary assessment method should also be considered when determining the suitability of rs4988235 as a proxy for dairy intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1860
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Alternative plant-based milk
  • Dairy
  • Dietary recalls
  • Healthy American population
  • Lactase persistence
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Rs4988235

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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