There is a hydrogen breath test at home that’s becoming a hot topic in the SIBO and gastrointestinal health world.
And I think you will enjoy learning more about it.
This hydrogen breath test comes to market from a company called FoodMarble.
Fun fact: FoodMarble got its name because a marble is unique; no two are the same. FoodMarble views the gut in a similar way. Since we are all unique, FoodMarble stuck for the company name.
My goal today is not to discuss a ton about FoodMarble the company. This is because the next A Gutsy Girl podcast show (episode 7) is dedicated to learning more about FoodMarble and the inspiration behind it.
The goal today is to discuss their pocket-sized device which helps take the guesswork out of eating.
Hydrogen Breath Test at Home
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It’s a hydrogen breath test you can take at home; it is called the FoodMarble AIRE.
Now, I have taken many SIBO breath tests.
So, let me first start off by sharing with you the standard SIBO breath test.
SIBO Breath Test
I have taken four total SIBO breath tests throughout my journey towards healing.
Each time, the process was almost the exact same:
- My doctor would order the SIBO breath test kit to be sent to my house.
- For the 12 hours prior to the 12-hour total fast and actual test, I would follow a stringent diet.
- Then, for the final 12 hours prior to the test, I did a complete fast (I ate nothing, except drank water). (This lasted for 12 hours prior to the test and then also the 3 hours during the test.)
- When it was time to start the test, I mixed a full packet of sugar substrate in 4 oz. of water and set it aside.
- Then, I collected my first (baseline) breath sample by blowing into a tube and immediately placing a cap over the tube.
- Immediately after that, I drank the solution I had set aside.
- And then, every 20 minutes for the next 3 hours, I’d collect another breath sample.
- Once the 3-hour testing period was over, life resumed normally.
- I then took the samples and shipped them so they would arrive within 48 hours of me shipping them.
- Finally, I’d wait some time for my doctor to call with the results.
This test could and would tell me if I had SIBO. It also told me if I was hydrogen or methane-dominant.
Looking back, here were the limitations/problems that test contained:
- I was only able to understand if it was hydrogen and/or methane-dominant. It would not help me understand that I was presenting with hydrogen sulfide gas. “Technically” there is hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide; they are not the same, different gasses.
- The mixture always triggered massive symptoms. I remember testing once, feeling great going into the test, only to have the substrate throw my entire system off. I was miserable for days after.
- A long wait. It was a huge process; took some time for the kit to arrive, then prepare for the test itself, and finally have it shipped off for evaluation and communication on the results.
So, when I heard about this breath test at home from FoodMarble, I was intrigued.
I wanted to learn about, see, and use it for myself to understand how and if it might be able to help you.
Note: If you’re already interested in the FoodMarble device, you can grab yours HERE now. Because I’m working with them and truly believe in what they are doing, I was able to get a 15% discount code for the Gutsy community. At checkout, just enter GUTSYG to save 15%.
The Breath Test
This is the first consumer-facing breath test on the market.
The way it works is via a phone app meets pocket-sized device.
Let’s first talk about the FoodMarble AIRE, which is the pocket-sized device.
Breath testing works like this:
- We eat, and the food travels through the digestive tract.
- Undigested food ferments in the colon.
- Some of the gas then passes into the bloodstream.
- Gas transfers to airways in the lungs.
- We breathe into the testing unit which then produces our results.
And here is the science behind how the FoodMarble AIRE, in particular, works:
- Food makes its way to your stomach where the digestive process begins.
- The food (bolus) then moves onto the small intestine. The small intestine is where most food is absorbed. (Side note: this is also why those with SIBO tend to have many nutrient deficiencies.) If you suffer from digestive issues certain hard to digest components (also known as FODMAPs) make their way, undigested, to the large intestine (colon).
- The large intestine is where most of our microbiome/bacteria live and they feast on these components releasing a lot of hydrogen gas quickly.
- A buildup of this gas can lead to symptoms you might be experiencing today, gas bloating cramping, diarrhea, etc.
- Some of this hydrogen gas passes into our bloodstream and into our lungs which we then breathe out.
- The FoodMarble AIRE device measures the amount of hydrogen on your breath which helps you understand how well you have digested your food. FoodMarble calls this a fermentation score.
- This measurement along with recording your other symptoms can help you detect which foods work best for you.
Okay, so now that we understand how the device works, how does it work in conjunction with the app?
Here are the exact steps to get setup:
- Download the app (it’s available for both Google and iOS)
- Create your account
- Answer a few questions
- Do you have a device?
- Do you have the FODMAP program?
- General questions
- Foods you suspect are problematic
- Current symptoms
- Set your goals around various things you want to track: meals, breaths per meal, symptoms, sleep, and stress
- Take your first breath test.
Simple as that.
Once you do the breath test, the AIRE automatically syncs with the app. Over the next few hours, you’ll be notified to do the breath test for that meal again.
In the above video, I tested a simple, one ingredient food; sauerkraut. My second breath test showed this.
And yes, the feedback is that immediate.
Currently, the FoodMarble app database holds about 1,000 foods. They continue adding more frequently.
But let’s say you want to test something more specific, from a category standpoint.
You can! And here’s how.
Lactose Fermentation Test
When you purchase your FoodMarble testing kit, you have the option to add-on the FODMAP program (it’s just an additional $29).
The FODMAP program allows you to test your response to four individual FODMAP components (lactose, fructose, sorbitol and inulin) using the FoodMarble device and app.
If you choose to add this to your testing device, you will receive 4 packets:
When conducting these tests, the process is a little different. In fact, it is a little more like taking a traditional SIBO breath test in the sense that you begin preparing for it the night before.
Unlike the SIBO breath test, though, you’ll have some answers immediately upon breathing into the device.
Where are all my impatient darlings out there?! Me, too! This information, on the spot is priceless.
Will this device diagnose SIBO?
No! Do not use this device as a diagnostic tool. However, it can be an incredible indicator as to whether or not you have SIBO.
Here is how I would use the device as it relates to a SIBO diagnosis:
No SIBO diagnosis
If I was not yet diagnosed with SIBO, I’d use it and then keep all the journal information to share with my medical practitioner. For this, you can use the app (since it already syncs perfectly) in combination with my 90-day journal because there are other things in that journal that will be super useful to use in conjunction with FoodMarble. Once you’re armed with sound information, work with your medical practitioner for next best steps.
If I was already diagnosed with SIBO, I’d still use this to help monitor my healing progress and/or manage symptoms. I’d also use the AIRE to get even more granular. If my SIBO test told me I was hydrogen and methane dominant, I still want to know more about which foods. Thus, the AIRE is going to help me arrive at that conclusion. The FODMAP program also acts as a huge benefit in this scenario.
Whew! That was a lot, but my hope is that it was comprehensive enough for you to take action.
And remember, you’ll save 15% at checkout by entering in code GUTSYG at checkout HERE.
Have you tried FoodMarble yet? Or are you planning to try it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments below with using it.
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Disclosure: This is a paid, sponsored post in partnership with FoodMarble. All opinions started here are 100% my own. I appreciate your support, as this compensation helps with expenses to keep this website up and running, and for me to continue sharing all that I can with you. For my full disclaimer and disclosure click HERE. Thank you for your support!
You will heal. I will help.