Expired radiocarbon dioxide has been collected by a simple autotitration method following the ingestion of lactose-1-14C. With this method, which is suitable for clinical use, 12 subjects with alactasia have been readily separated from 24 normals, both groups being defined by strict criteria.
This test, which may be used to measure the absorption of other sugars, is especially suitable for population surveys and may be used to investigate the distribution of disaccharidase deficiency.
A further advantage is that false low readings resulting from rapid plasma clearance of absorbed sugar do not occur with this method although they may do so in up to one in three lactose tolerance tests, thereby overestimating the prevalence of alactasia.
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