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Journal Articles Digestive and Liver Disease Year : 2013

Agreement between indirect calorimetry and traditional tests of lactose malabsorption

Virginie Alexandre
  • Function : Author
Michel Bouchoucha
  • Function : Author
Claire Bertin
  • Function : Author
Patrick Even
  • Function : Author
Christine Lamberto
  • Function : Author
Robert Benamouzig


Background: Lactose malabsorption occurs frequently and the variable consequent intolerance may seriously impair quality of life. No reliable and convenient test method is in routine clinical practice. A recent animal study showed that the respiratory quotient changed significantly after ingestion of sucrose and lactose in naturally lactase-deficient rats. Aims: This exploratory study evaluated the relevance of monitoring the respiratory quotient after lactose ingestion to detect malabsorption. Methods: Healthy volunteers were identified and classified lactose absorbers and malabsorbers by a lactose tolerance test (25 g). After an overnight fast, a second lactose challenge was performed to monitor hydrogen excretion and respiratory quotient kinetics over 4 h. Participants also completed questionnaires to score and localise their gastrointestinal symptoms. Results: 20 subjects were enrolled (10 per group, 60% males, mean age 34 +/- 4 years). Respiratory quotient kinetics were different between absorbers and malabsorbers during the first 100 min after lactose ingestion (p \textless 0.01) and during the initial 30-50 min period. Respiratory quotient was significantly, positively correlated to peak glycaemia (R = 0.74) and negatively correlated to hydrogen excretion (R = -0.51) and symptoms score (R = -0.46). Conclusions: Indirect calorimetry could improve the reliability of lactose malabsorption diagnosis. Studies on larger populations are needed to confirm the validity of this test and propose a simplified measurement. (c) 2013 Editrice Gastroenterologica Italiana S.r.l. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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hal-01568638 , version 1 (25-07-2017)



Virginie Alexandre, Anne-Marie Davila, Michel Bouchoucha, Claire Bertin, Patrick Even, et al.. Agreement between indirect calorimetry and traditional tests of lactose malabsorption. Digestive and Liver Disease, 2013, 45 (9), pp.727--732. ⟨10.1016/j.dld.2013.03.015⟩. ⟨hal-01568638⟩
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