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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lactose malabsorption and intolerance in Uruguayan population by breath hydrogen test (H2).

This study of 200 Uruguayans between 0 and 86 years old was designed to determine the prevalence of lactose malabsorption. Lactose intolerance is defined as a clinical syndrome of abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatulence, and bloating after the ingestion of a standard lactose tolerance test dose (2 g of lactose per kilogram of body weight or 50 g/m2 of body surface area, maximum 50 g in a 20% water solution). Lactose malabsorption refers to the state in which dietary lactose remains unhydrolyzed and subsequently unabsorbed from the gastrointestinal tract; symptoms may or may not result from lactose malabsorption. The technique of breath hydrogen (H2) was used after ingestion of 2 g/kg body weight to a maximum of 50 g in a 20% solution. There was no lactose malabsorption in children younger than 5 years old. The prevalence increases progressively after the age of 5, and in adolescence the percentage of malabsorption is similar to that in adults, who show 65% lactose malabsorption, with 25% asymptomatic and 40% intolerant. In 109 white adults, the prevalence of lactose malabsorption is 63%, with 24% asymptomatic and 39% intolerant. In 11 black adults, lactose malabsorption is 82%, with 27% asymptomatic and 55% intolerant. The difference between white and black adults is statistically significant (p less than 0.05). The H2 test is simple, reliable, noninvasive, and appropriate to study large populations.[1]


  1. Lactose malabsorption and intolerance in Uruguayan population by breath hydrogen test (H2). Maggi, R., Sayagues, B., Fernandez, A., Romero, B., Barusso, P., Hernandez, C., Magariños, M., Mendez, G., Dilascio, C., Martell, M. J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. (1987) [Pubmed]
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