What is disaccharidases?

Also known as: disaccharidase analysis, disaccharidase biopsy.

Disaccharidases are enzymes (lactase, maltase and sucrase) in the small bowel that break down complex sugars (like lactose, maltose and sucrose) into simple sugars (like glucose) for digestion. A deficiency of one or more of these enzymes results in poor absorption of the corresponding sugar resulting in a wide range of gastrointestinal symptoms.

Disaccharidase deficiency may be congenital (from before birth) or acquired.

While there are a number of laboratory options available to diagnose disaccharidase deficiency, the “gold standard” is examination of a tissue samples obtained from the small bowel.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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