Lactose Intolerance: Starch, Fructose, Sucrose, & Thyroid Status

Also see:
Hypothyroidism, Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, & Lactose Intolerance
Autoimmunity and Intestinal Flora
Thumbs Up: Fructose

Am J Physiol. 1995 Jun;268(6 Pt 1):G1066-73.
Diet-induced changes in gene expression of lactase in rat jejunum.
Goda T, Yasutake H, Suzuki Y, Takase S, Koldovský O.
To explore the mechanisms by which jejunal lactase activity is modified by carbohydrate and/or fat intake, mRNA levels and the absolute synthesis rate of lactase-phlorizin hydrolase (LPH) were determined in 6-wk-old rats that were fed either low-starch diets containing long-chain triacylglycerol (LCT, 73% energy as corn oil) or medium-chain triacylglycerol (MCT, 66% energy as MCT, 7% energy as corn oil), or a high-starch diet (70% energy as cornstarch) for 7 days. LPH mRNA levels in the jejunum were similar between LCT-fed and MCT-fed rats, but animals fed the high-starch diet exhibited a greater (2x) LPH mRNA level than other groups. The absolute synthesis rate of LPH, estimated by the flooding dose technique using [3H]phenylalanine, was greater (2.4x) in rats fed the high-starch diet than in other groups. A short-term force-feeding experiment revealed that sucrose was able to evoke LPH mRNA levels within 12 h but that a nonmetabolizable sugar (alpha-methylglucoside) was unable to enhance it. By contrast, animals fed the high-LCT diet showed a lower (by 30%) lactase activity than rats fed the low-starch, high-MCT diet, which was accompanied by not only a reduction of immunoreactive LPH in brush-border membranes but also a reduction in lactase activity per unit weight of immunoreactive LPH. These results suggest that both gene expression and posttranslational events of LPH might be influenced by dietary manipulations; carbohydrate intake primarily increases LPH mRNA levels, and LCT accelerates inactivation and/or degradation of lactase.

Biochem J. 1998 Apr 1;331 ( Pt 1):225-30.
Dietary carbohydrates enhance lactase/phlorizin hydrolase gene expression at a transcription level in rat jejunum.
Tanaka T, Kishi K, Igawa M, Takase S, Goda T.
We have previously shown that dietary sucrose stimulates the lactase/phlorizin hydrolase (LPH) mRNA accumulation along with a rise in lactase activity in rat jejunum [Goda, Yasutake, Suzuki, Takase and Koldovský (1995) Am. J. Physiol. 268, G1066-G1073]. To elucidate the mechanisms whereby dietary carbohydrates enhance the LPH mRNA expression, 7-week-old rats that had been fed a low-carbohydrate diet (5.5% of energy as starch) were given diets containing various monosaccharides or sucrose for 12h. Among carbohydrates examined, fructose, sucrose, galactose and glycerol elicited an increase in LPH mRNA accumulation along with a rise in lactase activity in the jejunum. By contrast, glucose and alpha-methylglucoside were unable to elicit a significant increase in LPH mRNA levels. To explore a transcriptional mechanism for the carbohydrate-induced increases in LPH mRNA levels, we employed two techniques currently available to estimate transcriptional rate, i.e. RNA protection assays of pre-mRNA using an intron probe, and nuclear run-on assays. Both assays revealed that fructose elicited an increase in transcription of the LPH gene, and that the transcription of LPH was influenced only slightly, if at all, by glucose intake. These results suggest that certain monosaccharides such as fructose or their metabolite(s) are capable of enhancing LPH mRNA levels in the small intestine, and that transcriptional control might play a major role in the carbohydrate-induced increase of LPH mRNA expression.

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2006 Oct;52(5):347-51.
Dietary sucrose enhances intestinal lactase gene expression in euthyroid rats.
Kuranuki S, Mochizuki K, Goda T.
It is postulated that dietary carbohydrates and thyroid hormones are major regulators for expression of the lactase/phlorizin hydrolase (LPH) gene in rat jejunum. In this study, we investigated the effects of thyroid hormones and dietary sucrose on LPH gene expression and lactase activity in starved rats. Firstly, animals at 8 wk of age were fed a low-starch diet (5.5% energy as cornstarch) or high-starch diet (71% energy as cornstarch) for 7 d (experiment 1). The mRNA level of LPH as well as lactase activity significantly decreased in rats fed the low-starch diet as compared to those fed the high-starch diet. To investigate the effects of thyroid hormone status, the animals previously fed the low-starch diet were starved for 3 d, and half of the animals were given intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of 20 microg/ 100 g body weight triiodothyronine (T3) twice daily (experiment 2). The LPH mRNA level and lactase activity were elevated by starvation for 3 d, but they were repressed by the injection of T3 during starvation. To investigate the effects of dietary sucrose in starved rats, they were force-fed a sucrose diet for 6 h (experiment 3). The LPH gene expression and lactase activity were up-regulated by force-feeding a sucrose diet, only when the animals were kept in euthyroid status by daily T3 administrations. In contrast, the sucrase-isomaltase mRNA levels and sucrase activity were unaffected by force-feeding the sucrose diet for both T3-treated and untreated starved rats. Our work suggests that dietary sucrose is capable of enhancing lactase gene expression in starved rats when they have a sustainable thyroid hormone level.

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2 Responses

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  1. Raven says

    sigh, my milk issues (bloating, gas etc) have been my main issue with adopting a Peat style diet. The other of course is the high amounts of liquids in the diet which tend to make me colder. So, the above studies are saying that sucrose helps digest milk better or do they mean something else ? Would be nice to have a two line summary in english 😉

  2. Team FPS says

    I was surprised to see that starch was beneficial for lactase expression; I wish they also had a fructose and/or sucrose only group in the Goda, et al. study for a more complete comparison. Avoiding polyunsaturates is a good idea for multiple reasons — “animals fed the high-LCT diet showed a lower (by 30%) lactase activity than rats fed the low-starch, high-MCT diet.”

    I am more likely to recommend ripe fruits, OJ, refined white sugar, honey, and a good fructose supplement than starches for individuals with pre-existing digestive conditions. Supporting thyroid status is important to improving outcomes in beating lactose intolerance.

    Hypothyroidism, Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, & Lactose Intolerance