Effects of asymptomatic Giardia intestinalis infection on carbohydrate absorption in well-nourished Mexican children

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2002 Mar;66(3):255-9. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2002.66.255.


The aim of this study was to evaluate carbohydrate absorption in well-nourished children with asymptomatic giardiasis. Two groups were selected based on results of stool examination of 211 children attending pre-school centers in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico: a control group of six non-infected children, and an infected group of seven children harboring Giardia intestinalis, without gastrointestinal symptoms of disease. Carbohydrate absorption was determined in the control group, before and after drug therapy in the infected group by the hydrogen breath test. Hydrogen production after lactose ingestion was higher in children with giardiasis compared with control group and after anti-parasite treatment; however, hydrogen production was not high enough to classify children as lactose malabsorbers by the cut-off criteria. Similar results were obtained for xylose absorption. None of the children had hydrogen increments high enough to be considered xylose malabsorbers. In conclusion, children asymptomatically infected with G. intestinalis showed significantly higher hydrogen production. However, the biological relevance is questionable since they did not exceed cut-off criteria to classify them as carbohydrate malabsorbers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breath Tests
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Giardia lamblia*
  • Giardiasis / parasitology
  • Giardiasis / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology*
  • Lactose / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Nutritional Status
  • Xylose / metabolism


  • Hydrogen
  • Xylose
  • Lactose