Malabsorption, allergy and food intolerance

Written by: Dr. Fermín Mearin Manrique
Published: | Updated: 05/12/2017
Edited by: Top Doctors®

It is very common for patients to certain symptoms related to the ingestion of certain foods. This may be due to various reasons: sometimes it is the result of a true food allergy, in others it is due to malabsorption of certain carbohydrates, in many cases it is a food intolerance, and– often - it's just a coincidence.

In this regard we must remember that is defined as food allergy proteins induced immune response of some foods. It differs from the food intolerance (which is much more common) because this is a non- immunological reaction produced by the constituents of some foods such as toxins or pharmacological agents (eg caffeine ). On the other hand, malabsorption is the default absorption of nutrients from the intestinal lumen to the lymph or blood, and the term maldigestion is reserved for cases that intestinal absorption is altered as a result of the deficit of certain digestive enzymes.

The dreaded lactose

L a lactose malabsorption is caused by a deficiency of lactase in the intestinal mucosa, and may be congenital or acquired. It is important to remember that there is a poor correlation between lactase deficid and clinical manifestations. There are significant racial differences in incidence. Thus, in white adults in northern Europe is 5 %, 15-30% in Spain, and black Americans, Bantu and Eastern races of 60-90%.

Other sugars: fructose and sorbitol

The sorbitol and fructose are sugars that are present - in varying proportions - in the fruit and also are used as sweeteners in beverages, jams, and diet products for diabetics. Large amounts of sorbitol cause diarrhea even in healthy subjects.


To establish that produce food food allergy is necessary to analysis of specific blood and often testing skin provocation.

There is no evidence that is truly useful to establish food intolerances (“who feel bad food&rdquo ;). There is not enough scientific data to show that the blood analysis for immunoglobulin G ( IgG) are useful. The most effective and simple for diagnosis is food malabsorption test breath test. Is to obtain samples of expired air ( blowing ) following administration of a known amount of studying carbohydrate (lactose, fructose, sorbitol, etc ).

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Fermín Mearin Manrique

Eminence specialty, is currently the director of the Department of Gastroenterology of the Teknon Medical Center. Doctor Cum Laude at the Autonomous University of Madrid, has experience in professional and research centers of excellence such as the Mayo Clinic in the United States and the Hospital Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

TOPDOCTORS utiliza cookies propias y de terceros para facilitar su experiencia como usuario de nuestra web y captar datos estadísticos mediante el análisis de sus datos de navegación. Si usted continúa con la navegación, entendemos que nos ofrece su consentimiento para el uso de cookies. Puede cambiar la configuración de cookies u obtener más información here.