Disaccharides are organic chemicals that are basically sugars. These include lactose in milk, maltose in malt sugars, sucrose in common sugar, and trehalose in other foods like rye. All of these sugars have to be broken down by their specific enzymes like lactase, maltase, sucrase, and trehalase. These enzymes are collectively called disaccharidase enzymes. Their job is to simply break down disaccharides into monosaccharides like glucose, fructose, and ribose among other monosaccharides that are then absorbed into the body for further metabolism.
A deficiency in the enzymes of disaccharides is called a disaccharidase deficiency – a very common one is called lactose intolerance. These deficiencies manifest in problems that range from diarrhea all the way to malnutrition, and sometimes even death if more than one enzyme is deficient. Most of the time, deficiencies are caused by some kind of toxin or due to genetic reasons. The deficiency of these enzymes can be checked for using specific enzyme tests.
Checking for enzymatic deficiencies in any of these enzymes is a disaccharidase analysis. This test is crucial to check for possible intolerances. When many of these complex carbohydrates are ingested and the corresponding enzyme is not available to process it into the monosaccharide form, the result could be severe indigestion and diarrhea because enterobacteria can suddenly increase their activity levels because of more nutrients. On the other hand, the ingested sugar could simply not be ingested at all and passed out in feces.
The test for intestinal disaccharidase enzymes is performed depending specifically on the enzyme deficiency in question. Lactase deficiency is measured using a hydrogen breath test, a stool acidity test, or a biopsy. Maltase deficiency can be confirmed by an enlarged liver and some DNA tests. Sucrase deficiency can be tested by using the same method or by checking with stool tests.
There is no preparation that is specifically required though you would probably have to fast before coming for this test. In cases of enzymatic deficiencies, the treatment that is required to be done is to administer these enzymes in supplements. This is done along with the food. Changing one's food patterns is also very important, and one would need to change one's dietary patterns accordingly. Directly ingesting monosaccharides is the best technique of ingesting useful carbohydrates required for a healthy metabolism. Most people with intolerances can continue to lead a normal life.