The Ins and Outs of Breath Hydrogen

Have you ever wondered what Breath Hydrogen is? Or why Breath Hydrogen is used in nutritional testing?

Research has shown how our lungs do not only take in Oxygen and expel Carbon Dioxide but also removes other unwanted gases from our bodies like Hydrogen. But how do we get Hydrogen in our blood stream in the first place?

When we eat carbohydrates, if they don’t get broken down by enzymes and absorbed fully, they can end up in the colon and instead the bacteria there ferments the sugars which can lead to hydrogen production as a by-product. Our bodies do not want this gas and so it is absorbed into the bloodstream to be removed in our breath, via the lungs.

Using a Breath Hydrogen monitor, is a simple non-invasive test that can show how much hydrogen is in your breath. All you need to do is expel a deep breath through the tube into the monitor and it will give you the level of Hydrogen in your breath.

You might hear about breath hydrogen being used to diagnose Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). This is where the bacteria level in the small intestine is unusually high and so bacteria can be fermenting sugars in the small intestine. This is shown by the levels of hydrogen in your breath being higher than the average person.

Breath Hydrogen testing is also used to see if certain sugars like fructose or lactose or sugar alcohols e.g. Sorbitol or Xylitol are being digested by enzymes or fermented by bacteria. This can be used in conjunction with Glycemic response testing to true understand how a product is working.

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