Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 348-353

Fecal Hydrogen Production and Consumption Measurements (Response to Daily Lactose Ingestion by Lactose Maldigesters)

  • Steven R. Hertzler
  • , Dennis A. Savaiano
  • , Michael D. Levitt

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The alteration of hydrogen (H2)metabolism, which accounts for the large decrease inbreath H2 excretion following prolongedingestion of malabsorbed carbohydrate (lactulose,lactose in lactose maldigesters) was studied in six lactose-maldigesting adults.Metabolic inhibitors of the three mainH2-consuming reactions (methanogenesis,sulfate reduction, and acetogenesis) were used toindependently measure H production and consumption in fecal samples obtained after10 days of either dextrose or lactose feeding. Absolutefecal H2 production (net of production minusconsumption) after 3 hr of incubation with lactose was approximately threefold lower after lactoseadaptation (242 ± 54 μl) compared to dextroseadaptation (680 ± 79 μl, P = 0.006). FecalH2 consumption was not affected by eitherfeeding period. We conclude that decreased absolute H2 production,rather than increased H2 consumption, isresponsible for the decrease in breath H2observed with lactose feeding.