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Carbohydrate Maldigestion and Malabsorption

  • Anam Omer
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Lynda K and David M Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Houston Methodist Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, Houston, Texas
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  • Eamonn M.M. Quigley
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests Address requests for reprints to: Eamonn M. M. Quigley, MD, FRP, FACP, MACG, FRCPI, 6550 Fannin Street, SM1201, Houston, Texas 77030. fax: 011 353 21 4901289.
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Lynda K and David M Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Houston Methodist Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, Houston, Texas
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Published:February 06, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2018.01.048
      On a typical Western diet, carbohydrates provide the most calories yet may pose significant challenges in their digestion and absorption.
      • Bishu S.
      • Quigley E.M.M.
      Nutrient digestion, absorption and sensing.
      Maldigestion and malabsorption of carbohydrates are of particular clinical importance, not only because of lost calories, but also because of the impact of the metabolic products of bacterial metabolism of incompletely absorbed carbohydrates on the colon.
      • Wilder-Smith C.
      • Materna A.
      • Wermelinger C.
      • et al.
      Fructose and lactose intolerance and malabsorption testing: the relationship with symptoms in functional gastrointestinal disorders.
      These metabolic products have been incriminated in the pathogenesis of a variety of functional abdominal symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, and altered bowel habits.
      • Wilder-Smith C.
      • Materna A.
      • Wermelinger C.
      • et al.
      Fructose and lactose intolerance and malabsorption testing: the relationship with symptoms in functional gastrointestinal disorders.
      • Hammer H.F.
      • Hammer J.
      Diarrhea caused by carbohydrate malabsorption.
      Carbohydrates are perceived to contribute to obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and other diseases, and many patients express a belief that their symptoms result from allergy or intolerance to them. Carbohydrates have thus achieved considerable prominence in the lay media, and are frequently the subject of patient inquiries to their medical practitioners.

      Abbreviation used in this paper:

      SCFA (short-chain fatty acid)
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