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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2003 Apr;16(2):119-22.

Small bowel bacterial overgrowth and rice malabsorption in healthy and physically disabled older adults.

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Research Center of Health, Physical Fitness and Sports, Nagoya University, Furocho, Chikusaku, Japan.



To determine whether there are differences in small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SBBO) and rice digestion between healthy and disabled older adults and to estimate the influence of physical activity on these nutritional statuses.


Fifteen disabled adults who commute to a day-care centre and 11 healthy older adults participated in this study. SBBO and rice absorption were judged using a breath hydrogen test. Physical activity was estimated using a pedometer.


The average number of steps taken per day by the disabled was 1056 +/- 243, which was statistically lower than that of the healthy, 6904 +/- 782 (P < 0.001). No SBBO-positive subject was seen in the healthy group, whereas five (33.3%) of 15 disabled older adults were SBBO-positive. After ingesting glucose solution, the triangle up H2 of disabled subjects was higher than that of the healthy subjects (7.6 +/- 2.7 versus 0.5 +/- 0.3 p.p.m., P < 0.05). Rice malabsorption was seen in one (9.1%) of 11 in the healthy and two (14.3%) of 14 in the disabled groups, which was not statistically significant.


Disabled older people who have a physically inactive lifestyle are at risk of SBBO, probably because of a reduction in their intestinal motility. SBBO has no influence on absorption of rice, and some older adults, independent of physical condition, can not absorb rice adequately.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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