High prevalence of lactose absorbers in Northern Sardinian patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus

G. F. Meloni, C. Colombo, C. La Vecchia, A. Pacifico, P. Tomasi, A. Ogana, A. M. Marinaro, T. Meloni

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Abstract

Background: Increased intestinal lactase activity has been shown to occur in alloxan and streptozotocin diabetic rats. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether increased intestinal lactase activity is present in humans with diabetes mellitus. Design: We assessed the capacity to digest lactose by measuring breath-hydrogen production after oral administration of lactose in 50 patients with type 1 diabetes, 50 patients with type 2 diabetes, and 50 healthy control subjects from Sassari, Sardinia, Italy, a population characterized by a low prevalence of lactase persistence (lactose absorbers). Results: Fourteen percent of control subjects were lactose absorbers, compared with 48% of patients with type 1 diabetes and 52% of patients with type 2 diabetes (P <0.005). The odds ratio of lactase persistence in patients with type 1 diabetes was 5.3 (95% CI: 2.0, 14.0) and in patients with type 2 diabetes was 5.5 (95% CI: 2.1, 14.5). Conclusions: Diabetes is associated with increased intestinal lactase activity in humans. Consequently, there is a greater exposure to glucose and galactose in diabetic patients with high lactose consumption. This may explain the association between diabetes and the risk of cataract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-585
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume73
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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Keywords

  • Italy
  • Lactase
  • Lactose absorption
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

Cite this

Meloni, G. F., Colombo, C., La Vecchia, C., Pacifico, A., Tomasi, P., Ogana, A., Marinaro, A. M., & Meloni, T. (2001). High prevalence of lactose absorbers in Northern Sardinian patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 73(3), 582-585.