Irritable Bowel Syndrome is much like a puzzle. We discover pieces that look like pieces of the puzzle, only to later find out that they were just similar to the real piece...
Fructose malabsorption looks very promising in solving the IBS puzzle.
Fructose is a type of sugar that you can find in most plants. Fructose, the table sugar we know, is a mixture of different sugars, one of them being fructose.
For quite some time the word in the street has been that fructose is good for you, especially to people struggling with their weight, and people with hypoglycemia. New research proves the word in the street wrong: instead of fructose being good for you, it is, by itself, a true poison.
The body doesn't know how to use fructose! The digestive system can't deal with it effectively, when it is by itself, or when the proportion of the fructose is over the proportion of other sugars, like glucose. Instead of it being able to use it as food, it just feeds the bad bacteria and the yeast in our gut, causing horrible symptoms, both inside and outside our gut.
And if you have depression, mild forms of hallucination, sleeping disorder, confused mind, dyslexia, high blood pressure, headaches, then you may be dealing with the effects of the alcoholic fermentation and its results: leaky gut syndrome, GAPS, and mild alcohol poisoning.
What Is Fructose Malabsorption or Fructose Intolerance?
Fructose malabsorption is a condition where there are digestive symptoms after eating fructose containing foods, like high fructose corn syrup, like most fruits, some vegetables, and ALL PROCESSED FOODS, including cold cuts, ham, both are sugar cured. The fructose does not get digested in the gut, where the yeast eats it to multiply themselves, and the bad bacteria digests it by turning it into alcohol.
This alcoholic fermentation causes negative effect in GI motility (the moving the food along in the intestines) and cause gas and bloating. Some people can tolerate fructose when it is mixed evenly with glucose, but react with symptoms occur high percentage fructose content foods are eaten at one sitting. Fructose malabsorption causes small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
When you eat any carbohydrate foods, including grains, the already compromised gut can't deal with it, and it can turn into a whole horrible condition, like IBS, like celiac disease, like GAPS.
Fructose malabsorption is not the same as hereditary fructose intolerance, a genetic disorder typically diagnosed in infancy, even though most fructose malabsorption cases begin in infancy. Infants that are not breast fed or not breast fed long enough, or maybe the mother eats a lot of fructose containing foods during pregnancy or gestation, are the colicky children that won't let you get a good night's sleep, that cry for no apparent reason, and will likely grow up sickly or unhealthy adults.
Is there a test to diagnose Fructose Malabsorption?
Fructose malabsorption can be detected through testing the breath, of the hydrogen breath test. This test measures the amount of hydrogen in the breath following the ingestion of a fructose solution. A positive finding for fructose malabsorption would be a rise in breath hydrogen a result of the alcoholic fermentation in the gut, about a day after the consumption of the fructose.
Have there been any larger scale tests?
In one study they tested healthy individuals and individuals that experienced bloating and flatulence after eating certain fruits. The test was informal and small, only eight people with complaints and four considered healthy participated participated in the study. The people with bloating and flatulence had higher hydrogen levels than the healthy study subjects.
Then the test was replicated with a higher number of participants, and it was found that 75% of the "patients" had abdominal symptoms after the fructose solution finding that test subjects experienced symptoms from the fructose solution. 183 "patients" with unexplained digestive symptoms participated. The symptoms included flatulence, abdominal pain, bloating, belching and a change in bowel habit.
Yet another study looked at the relationship between fructose intolerance and unexplained abdominal pain in children. 32 children in this study were given different doses of the fructose solution. 13 of the children had a positive hydrogen breath test result. The larger the quantity of fructose was, the larger percentage of the children tested positive. 11 children that tested positive were put on a fructose-restricted diet. According to the researchers, nine of these children experienced rapid symptom improvement upon following the diet.
Another study looked at fructose intolerance in adults diagnosed with IBS. 26 of the 80 study participants had a positive hydrogen breath test result. These 26 participated in a follow-up assessment a year later. 14 of these patients reported significant improvement in the symptoms of pain, belching, bloating, indigestion and diarrhea on a fructose restricted diet.
Fructose: The Bottom Line
As you can see, research on the role of fructose malabsorption in IBS is still in its beginning stages.
If your symptoms of gas, bloating and diarrhea seem related to the ingestion of fruits, fructose malabsorption is probably part of your issue. Ask your doctor to prescribe the hydrogen breath test, or even without that you can ask them to consider putting you on an elimination diet to see what are the offending foods exactly.