Dr. Ron’s Research Review – February 15, 2012

This week’s research review focuses on carbohydrate malabsorption.

Lactose, fructose and sorbitol are the most important sugars involved in eliciting gastrointestinal symptoms in case of incomplete absorption. Lactose malabsorption of adults is the most frequent malabsorption throughout the whole world. (Born 2011)

Most patients with symptomatic carbohydrate malabsorption complain of flatulence, distension, diffuse abdominal pain with colics, sometimes with concomitant diarrhoea. Headache after the intake of the malabsorbed sugar may occur. Symptoms are generally non-specific and there is no leading symptom for a single sugar. In more than 50% of all affected patients history reveals that symptoms began after gastrointestinal infection and/or an antibiotic therapy. (Born 2011)

Dr. Ron


The clinical impact of carbohydrate malabsorption

         (Born 2011) Download

Malabsorption of carbohydrates such as fructose, lactose or sorbitol can often be detected among patients suffering from so-called non specific abdominal complaints. Sometimes the differential diagnosis may be difficult. So far successful treatment consists of dietary interventions only. Nevertheless, many questions are remaining still unanswered.


Born, P. (2011). "The clinical impact of carbohydrate malabsorption." Arab J Gastroenterol 12(1): 1-4.