About Fructose Malabsorption

Did you know it’s estimated that up to 70% of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) actually have Fructose Malabsorption?  70%!!!!!!! As of now, Fructose Malabsorption is widely unknown, but since it’s also estimated the 30% of the population is afflicted, I think that will change–hopefully in the near future!

What is Fructose Malabsorption (FM)?

Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar found in many fruits and vegetables. Having FM means the small intestine does not absorb fructose, so it is passed on to the large intestine, and the large intestine does not appreciate that.

What the hell are Fructans?

Unfortunately it doesn’t just stop with fructose. There are things called “fructans” which are short chains of fructose with a glucose molecule on the end.  Wheat, onion, and garlic (to name a few) all have fructans.

What are the symptoms of FM?

Personally, I think there are probably a lot of symptoms that manifest in different ways, but here are some common ones:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal cramping and pain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Night sweats
  • Reproductive issues
  • Dark under-eye circles

How do I know if I have FM?

A gastroenterologist can provide you with a hydrogen breath test.  It’s not a bad idea to ask for the hydrogen breath test for lactose intolerance while you’re at it, since there are some people that have both.

How did I get FM?

Fructose Malabsorption is thought to be inherited, but it’s possible to have developed it due to the overload of things like High Fructose Corn Syrup in the food market.

I have FM. What do I do now?

There is no cure as of now. The best thing to do is to go on an elimination diet and find out what you can tolerate.

If you are still having problems even on your elimination diet, make sure to check other things that go in or on your mouth such as toothpaste/mouthwash/gum (for sorbitol, a fructose absorption inhibitor), medications, or even lipstick/lip balm.

I recently took a Mediator Release Test, and it has helped me so much.  If your problems persist, I really recommend doing this for yourself.

What are the upsides to having Fructose Malabsorption?

Um…upsides?  Yeah!  Don’t despair: there are some!
First, you will be feeling better, not only digestively, but most likely mentally and overall physically as well.
Also, personally, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that once I eliminated the major sources of fructose from my diet three years ago, I also haven’t gotten a single cold or the flu.  Before that, without fail, I would get at least one cold during the winter.
And finally, the most important one, can be explained to you by this article: The Trouble with Fructose.  It explains why FMers aren’t the only ones who should shun fructose; everyone should.

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