Increasing Expiratory Hydrogen in Lactose Intolerance Is Associated with Additional Food Intolerance/Malabsorption

Nutrients. 2020 Nov 30;12(12):3690. doi: 10.3390/nu12123690.


Single and/or combined food intolerance/malabsorption may cause nonspecific, functional gastrointestinal (GI) complaints. In lactose-intolerant patients we evaluated the influence of additional food intolerance/malabsorption with hydrogen (H2) breath tests. In a retrospective analysis of charts from 279 lactose-intolerant patients, we found 128 patients with only lactose intolerance (LIT). Then, we identified 106 LIT patients with additional histamine intolerance (HIT). Additionally, 45 LIT and HIT patients also had fructose malabsorption (FM). A hydrogen (H2) breath test was performed to evaluate LIT and FM. A serum diamine oxidase value of <10 U/mL and a response to a histamine-reduced diet was used to identify HIT. Using pairwise comparison with the Kruskal-Wallis test to associate the area under the curve (AUC) of LIT patients and, LIT with HIT, to LIT with HIT and FM it was found, that the exhaled hydrogen values were significantly higher in patients with two-fold and triple combined food intolerance/malabsorption (p < 0.004 and p < 0.001, respectively). Within the pool of 170 LIT patients with >20 ppm increase of expiratory H2 from baseline, there were 74 LIT-only patients, 60 LIT with HIT patients, and 36 LIT patients with additional HIT and FM. With the Kruskal-Wallis test AUCs demonstrated a significant difference between all three groups (p = 0.024). In patients with LIT, the presence of additional food intolerance/malabsorption, significantly increases expiratory H2 values. We demonstrate evidence, which may suggest HIT to embody an own GI disorder as food intolerance/malabsorption.

Keywords: diamine oxidase; fructose malabsorption; histamine intolerance; hydrogen breath test; lactose intolerance.