Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another Crash Course: Sugar Intolerance 101

After finally getting a copy of Ellie's dissacharide test, I realized I had no idea what I was looking at. The nurse had suggested they were concerning and very low, and with no current treating GI doctor I figured I had better get my fanny moving on what these new terms meant. What her test results showed, and what a quick google search along with consulting a few fellow FPIES mamas revealed:

Lactase - 4.8 (below 15 is abnormal, but normal starts at 24.5ish)
Sucrase - 11.6 (below 25 is abnormal, but normal starts at 54.4ish)
Glycoamylase - 0 (I have no idea what is abnormal but am pretty sure ZERO is not normal)
Palatenase - 2.8 (below 5 is abnormal, but normal starts at 11.1ish)

Keeping in mind that lab results always give a wide range that can be considered normal, these results were still extremely low. But what in the world were these things? They are enzymes. Digestive enzymes found in the intestine that split double sugars for proper processing by the body. Without these enzymes Ellie was unable to process these double sugars. So what are these double sugars?

Latase. OK got it. Sucrase. Alright. But glucoamylase? And palatenase? uh..... And since she is the lowest in these two, I really needed to know what they are. Here is what I found, perhaps over simplified, using my non-medical layman jargon:

glucoamylase is STARCH, that leads to proper digestion of maltase
palatenase is isomaltulose, that leads to proper digestion of FRUCTOSE

OK. So now that I knew what they were, I had to find out what this meant. What I quickly discovered was that these deficiencies could be genetic or acquired, and came with a whole list of other names for diagnosis. And they all had very similar symptoms to FPIES. And guess what? The medical community doesn't know anything much about those diagnoses either. What they do know is that the majority of intestinal disorders come with enzyme deficiency to some degree (more on this later).

*sigh* Back to the mommy brain to digest what this means (pun intended).

What I now know:
Ellie has sugar intolerance. Her intestines have virtually no digestive enzymes to break down sugars.

What I needed to know:
How do we get them back?
How does this affect what I feed her?

With almost four weeks until our next 'new patient' GI appointment I started my next medical crash course on digestive enzymes.


  1. Sorry Nichole...but you are doing an amazing job of taking the lead and researching on your own. Tiring, I know, but go Nichole go!

  2. Well written....much more helpful than my posts on Sam's enzyme deficiency! :) Will be interesting to see what the new GI has to add (cause I doubt it will surpass what you already know).

  3. ladies are too sweet!

  4. Seriously, all the research you're doing is just as complicated as what I was doing in grad school...if not more so! Certainly sounds like you might be unlocking more answers, though! Keep goin', mama!


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