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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1992 Oct;27(10):819-28.

Fructose and related food carbohydrates. Sources, intake, absorption, and clinical implications.

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Dept. of Internal Medicine, Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


It is possible to point out subjects consuming considerable quantities of fructose and sorbitol, and the intake seems to be increasing both from added and natural sources. Studies of the absorption of fructose in animals are inconsistent, and the mechanisms of fructose uptake seem to vary in accordance with the species. In most species fructose absorption takes place by a specific carrier (facilitated transport), but it may be active in the rat. In vitro studies of human intestine are very scarce; there is no evidence of active intestinal fructose transport in the human intestine. By means of hydrogen breath tests, a very low absorption capacity for fructose given as the free monosaccharide has been found in humans. Fructose given as sucrose or in equimolar combinations with glucose is well absorbed, and only fructose in excess of glucose is malabsorbed. On this basis it is hypothesized that two different uptake mechanisms for fructose are present in the human intestine. One of these may be a disaccharidase-related uptake system. Sorbitol ingestion may aggravate malabsorption of fructose given as the monosaccharide; it is not known whether a specific mechanism is involved. In children and adults with functional bowel distress the absorption capacities for fructose may not differ from those of healthy individuals, but malabsorption of fructose and/or sorbitol may be the cause of or aggravate abdominal symptoms. Fructose polymers (fructans) are also subject to increasing nutritional interest. Fructans are not absorbed in the small intestine but are strongly fermented in the large bowel. Fructans may be of potential benefit for large-bowel function and blood glucose regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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