Identifying an often overlooked diagnosis
Disaccharidases are enzymes that break down complex sugars, such as lactose, into simple sugars, like glucose, so the nutrients can be absorbed in the intestine. Patients with disaccharidases deficiencies in the duodenum can experience intolerances to foods containing complex sugars, resulting in a range of gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and cramping, gas, bloating, and nausea. These common symptoms are frequently misdiagnosed as a food allergy or intolerance.
Mayo Clinic Laboratories now offers a test to evaluate patients for disaccharidase deficiency when serological testing, X-ray and ultrasound imaging, and breath testing come back negative. The disaccharides activity panel examines tissue samples, which have been taken as part of endoscopy, to gain quantitative values of lactase, sucrase, maltase, palatinase, and glucoamylase. Test reports include clinical interpretation of results.
A Test in Focus
Pua Hopson, D.O., discusses Mayo Clinic Labs’ new disaccharidase activity panel, which measures levels of five digestive enzymes to identify deficiencies that cause carbohydrate maldigestion and can lead to chronic conditions like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease. Performed on tissue sample biopsies during upper endoscopy, the activity panel is the gold standard test for detecting disaccharidase deficiencies.