Fructose Intolerance (fructose malabsorption)

What is Fructose?

Fructose is a sugar found in fruit and is a basic component of table sugar called sucrose. If you have fructose intolerance you should avoid foods that contain fructose and sucrose. Sorbitol, sugar alcohol, is converted to fructose during digestion, should be avoided as well.

It is important to understand that there are two types of fructose intolerance.

  • Hereditary fructose intoler-ance- a rare genetic disorder in which a person does not have the enzyme to break down fructose in the digestive system. This is a more serious disorder and can lead to liver and kidney disease.
  • Fructose malabsorption or dietary fructose intolerance- A second, less serious disorder is. People with fructose malabsorption have difficulty digesting fructose. This disorder does not cause liver and kidney damage but can result in a variety of symptoms.

What are the symptoms of fructose malabsorption?

Symptoms very from person to person in severity but in general include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, weight loss, and fatigue.

How is fructose malabsorbtion diagnosed?

Fructose intolerance is diagnosed with a simple breath test. After some fasting requirements and medication and dietary restrictions the patient is given a substance to drink. Occasionally, patients may be intolerant to more than one substance so your doctor may order more that one test. The substance used to test for small bowel bacterial overgrowth is glucose; lactose is used to test for intolerance of milk products; and fructose for fructose intolerance. Glucose, lactose, and fructose are all sugars and intolerance to any can result in the same type of symptoms.

What causes fructose intolerance?

Unfortunately there are only theories as to why people are intolerant to fructose. Some ideas are abnormalities in GLUTE5, a fructose transporter; bacterial in the bowel; Celiac disease; chemotherapy; a familial tendency; injury to the intestinal lining; overuse of high fructose corn syrup; radiation; or motility problems.


DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ carefully the information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult the best in class gastroenterologist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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