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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2017 Apr;45(8):1094-1106. doi: 10.1111/apt.13978. Epub 2017 Feb 24.

Predictors of response to a low-FODMAP diet in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders and lactose or fructose intolerance.

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Brain-Gut Research Group, Gastroenterology Group Practice, Bern, Switzerland.
Mech-Sense, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark.



Diets low in fermentable sugars (low-FODMAP diets) are increasingly adopted by patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID), but outcome predictors are unclear.


To identify factors predictive of an efficacious response to a low-FODMAP diet in FGID patients with fructose or lactose intolerance thereby gaining insights into underlying mechanisms.


Fructose and lactose breath tests were performed in FGID patients to determine intolerance (positive symptom score) and malabsorption (increased hydrogen or methane concentrations). Patients with fructose or lactose intolerance consumed a low-FODMAP diet and global adequate symptom relief was assessed after 6-8 weeks and correlated with pre-diet clinical symptoms and breath test results.


A total of 81% of 584 patients completing the low-FODMAP diet achieved adequate relief, without significant differences between FGID subgroups or types of intolerance. Univariate analysis yielded predictive factors in fructose intolerance (chronic diarrhoea and pruritus, peak methane concentrations and fullness during breath tests) and lactose intolerance (peak hydrogen and methane concentrations and flatulence during breath tests). Using multivariate analysis, symptom relief was independently and positively predicted in fructose intolerance by chronic diarrhoea [odds ratio (95% confidence intervals): 2.62 (1.31-5.27), P = 0.007] and peak breath methane concentrations [1.53 (1.02-2.29), P = 0.042], and negatively predicted by chronic nausea [0.33 (0.16-0.67), P = 0.002]. No independent predictive factors emerged for lactose intolerance.


Adequate global symptom relief was achieved with a low-FODMAP diet in a large majority of functional gastrointestinal disorders patients with fructose or lactose intolerance. Independent predictors of a satisfactory dietary outcome were only seen in fructose intolerant patients, and were indicative of changes in intestinal host or microbiome metabolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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