The aetiopathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) is very complex. So far, there are no definite links between ulcerative colitis and diet, but epidemiological studies have suggested that patients with Crohn’s disease eat more sugar and sweets.
Aim The evaluation of saccharase and maltase activity in patients with various forms of IBD.
Patients and Methods The study comprised 54 children, aged 3–18 years, in whom we diagnosed various forms of IBD: in 10 children Crohn’s disease, in 15 ulcerative colitis, in 7 lymphocytic colitis and in 22 undetermined colitis. During endoscopy of the upper part of the alimentary tract we took biopsy specimens from the descending part of the duodenum, where we determined saccharase and maltase activity using the Dahlquist method.
Results Decreased saccharase activity was most frequently observed in patients with lymphocytic colitis (4/7, 55%) and ulcerative colitis (7/15, 46%), but least frequently in children with undetermined colitis (8/22, 36%). Decreased maltase activity in the small bowel mucosa was most frequently observed in patients with Crohn’s disease (3/10, 30%), but least frequently in children with ulcerative colitis (2/15, 13%). The lowest mean values of maltase activity were found in children with Crohn’s disease (5.4 U/1 g). The lowest mean values of saccharase activity were observed in patients with lymphocytic colitis and ulcerative colitis (2.7∼3.3 U/1 g).
Conclusions It seems reasonable to perform diagnostic examinations aimed at saccharase and maltase intolerance and to initiate dietary treatment in children with IBD.