With each breath, you exhale thousands of molecules. These molecules of gas make up what is essentially a “breathprint,” a unique mixture of hydrogen, methane, oxygen, nitrogen, and other gases in the air you exhale. Your breathprint can reveal a lot about your body, particularly your digestive health. If you’ve got a history of unexplained symptoms like bloating, diarrhea or stomach cramps, analyzing your breathprint might be just the tool to get to the bottom of things.
How does a breath test work?
It’s pretty simple. As the bacteria in your gut break down the foods you eat, they release various gases. These gases travel through the body via your bloodstream, eventually making their way to the lungs. As you exhale, your breath carries traces of these gases.
A breath test can analyze the chemical make-up of the air you exhale after you eat certain foods, and doctors can use this info to paint a pretty accurate picture of what’s going on in your belly. Gastroenterologists have been using breath tests for years to diagnose things like:
- Lactose intolerance
- Fructose intolerance
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition that deserves special mention. It’s fairly common but often overlooked. With SIBO, the bacteria that overpopulate the small intestine can be quite troublesome as they feast on the food traveling through your GI tract. Not only do these bacteria produce excess gas as they break down foods, but they can also change the gut environment, making it more suitable for additional pathogens to set up shop. This results in bloating, diarrhea, belching, pain and, over time, even poor nutrient absorption. And when you can’t properly absorb nutrients from the foods you eat, it takes a toll on the rest of your body—hair, skin, nails, energy levels, mood, weight, and more.
If you’ve got symptoms of SIBO, ask your doctor to investigate further. There are treatment options, including therapeutic nutrition plans, that can be very effective in restoring balance in the gut.
About Vivante Health
Vivante Health is an innovative digital healthcare company reinventing the way chronic conditions are managed, starting with digestive disorders. Our all-in-one digital gut health program, GIThrive, empowers people—through brilliant technology, advanced science, and on-demand expert support—to improve digestive health, while lowering cost of care. Learn how employers and health plans are saving money with GIThrive.
GIMate® Personal Digestion Monitor
In 2019, Vivante Health is releasing the GIMate breathalyzer device. We took the same technology that was once only available in specialty clinics and adapted it to be smaller, portable, and affordable enough for personal use. Read more about GIMate here.