Is fructose malabsorption a cause of irritable bowel syndrome?

DiNicolantonio JJ1, Lucan SC2. Med Hypotheses. 2015 Jun 2. pii: S0306-9877(15)00217-0. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2015.05.019. [Epub ahead of print]
Author information

1Department of Preventive Cardiology, Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO, United States. Electronic address: jjdinicol@gmail.com. 2Department of Family and Social Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY, United States.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that may be marked by abdominal pain, bloating, fullness, indigestion, belching, constipation and/or diarrhea. IBS symptoms can result from malabsorption of fructose. Fructose is a monosaccharide found naturally in small quantities in fruits and some vegetables, and in much larger quantities in industrially manufactured sweets with added sugars (e.g. sucrose and high fructose corn syrup). Fructose malabsorption leads to osmotic diarrhea as well as gas and bloating due to fermentation in the colon. A low-fructose diet has been found to improve IBS symptoms in some patients. This paper discusses the prevalence of fructose malabsorption and considers fructose ingestion as a possible cause of--and fructose restriction as a possible dietary treatment for--IBS.

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