Objective: To establish whether supplementation with a standard oral dose of Beta-Galactosidase affects hydrogen breath excretion in patients presenting with lactose malabsorption.
Methods: Ninety-six consecutive patients positive to H2 Lactose Breath Test were enrolled. Mean peak H2 levels, the time to reach the peak H2, the time to reach the cut-off value of 20 ppm, the cumulative breath H2 excretion, the areas under the curve, and a Visual Analogical 10-point Scale for symptoms were calculated. Genotyping of the C/T-13910 variant was carried out.
Results: Following the oral administration of Beta-Galactosidase, in 21.88% of the cases, H2 Lactose Breath Test became negative (Group A), while mean peak H2 levels (74.95 ppm versus 7.85), P < 0.0000, in 17.71% (Group B) were still positive, with the H2 level 20 ppm above the baseline, but the peak H2 levels were significantly lower than those observed at the baseline test (186.7 ppm versus 66.64), P < 0.0000, while in 60.41% (Group C) they were still positive with the peak H2 levels similar to those observed at the baseline test (94.43 versus 81.60 ppm). All 96 individuals tested presented the C/C-13910 genotype nonpersistence.
Conclusions: The response to oral administration of Beta-Galactosidase in patients with symptoms of lactose malabsorption presents a significant variability.