What is lactulose, and why is it given to liver patients?

Non-digestible sugar

Lactulose is a non-digestible sugar. When ingested, it is metabolized by normal colon bacteria into small fatty acids, acetic acid, & lactic acid. The extra H+ attracts & binds ammonia (NH3) from the blood creating ammonium (NH4+). This is trapped in the colon & defecated out. This reduces the overall blood ammonia concentration which worsens hepatic encephalopathy. But it also causes diarrhea.
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Diarrhea Sugar Lactulose Lactic acid Encephalopathy Ammonia blood level Hepatic encephalopathy Bacteria Blood Colon