Sucrose Malabsorption



What is Sucrose Malabsorption?

Sucrose malabsorption is a disorder characterized by the deficiency or absence of the enzymes sucrase and isomaltase. Lacking this enzyme complex affects a person's ability to digest certain sugars including sucrose and maltose. Sucrose (a sugar found in fruits, and also known as table sugar) and maltose (the sugar found in grains) are called disaccharides because they are composed of two simple sugars. These disaccharides are normally broken down into simple sugars during digestion. Sucrose is broken down into glucose and another simple sugar called fructose, and maltose is broken down into two glucose molecules. People with congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (CSID) cannot break down the sugars sucrose and maltose, and other compounds made from these sugar molecules (carbohydrates).

CSID usually, but not always, becomes apparent at an early age when a child starts to consume fruits, juices, and grains. After ingestion of sucrose or maltose, an affected individual will typically experience stomach cramps, bloating, excess gas production, and diarrhea. These digestive problems can lead to failure to gain weight and grow at the expected rate (failure to thrive) and malnutrition. Most affected individuals are better able to tolerate sucrose and maltose as they get older, but the condition still affects many adults. The prevalence of congenital sucrase-isomaltase deficiency is estimated to be 1 in 5,000 people of European descent.

What are the symptoms of sucrose malabsorption?

Patients suffering from Genetic Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency or Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency experience a variety of symptoms, including:

• Mild to severe chronic, watery, acidic diarrhea

• Bloating

• Abdominal pain

What is a hydrogen and methane breath test for sucrose malabsorption?

CDI’s hydrogen and methane breath test for sucrose malabsorption is the most useful non-invasive test for determining sucrose malabsorption. The test is well validated and widely used. Following a 12-hour fast and 12-hour dietary preparation period, patients ingest a sucrose rich substrate solution. The sucrose malabsorption breath test then measures the breakdown of that specific amount of sucrose over the course of time by capturing breath samples at regular 40 minute intervals. People with a sucrose malabsorption will not breakdown the sugar properly and will exhibit elevated levels of hydrogen or methane gasses in their breath samples.

A malabsorption is diagnosed based on exhibited symptoms and following a test with elevated gas concentrations in the collected breath samples. Expert dietary advice may be helpful for the identification of trigger foods and drinks containing sucrose. Our sucrose malabsorption hydrogen and methane breath test can be administered in-office or in the comfort of the patient’s own home.