Fructose malabsorption or Dietary Fructose Intolerance is a digestive disorder of the small intestine in which the fructose carrier in enterocytes is deficient. As a result of this problem, the concentration of fructose in the entire intestine is increased. Fructose malabsorption is found in approximately 30-40% of the population of Central Europe, with about half of the affected individuals exhibiting symptoms
This condition is common in patients with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and most patients with fructose malabsorption fit the profile of those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A small proportion of patients with both fructose malabsorption and lactose intolerance also suffer from celiac disease. Typical symptoms of fructose malabsorption include: Bloating (because of fermentation in the small and large intestine) Diarrhea and / or constipation Flatulence Stomach pain (due to muscle spasms, which can vary from mild and chronic to acute but erratic) Other possible symptoms of fructose malabsorption include: Aching eyes Fuzzy head Fatigue Depression as a result of absorption disorders in the small and large intestines, other substances such as amino acids are not absorbed. Because of missing substances (among others tryptophan), hormones and neurotransmitters cannot be synthesized.
Medical tests are similar as in lactose intolerance, requiring a hydrogen breath test for a clinical diagnosis. When breath test can not be done from some reason, reducing substances in the stool, and subsequently fructose in the stool can be checked. It can be associated with reduced plasma tryptophan and clinical depression
There is no known cure, but an appropriate diet will help. However, it is very difficult for undiagnosed sufferers to see any relationship between the foods they eat and the symptoms they suffer, even if they keep a daily diet diary. This is because most foods contain a mixture of fructose and glucose. Foods with more fructose than glucose are a problem. However, depending upon the sufferer's sensitivity to fructose, small amounts of problem foods could be eaten (especially when they are not the main ingredient of a meal). Foods with a high glucose content actually help sufferers absorb fructose