So, you've heard of the Low FODMAP Diet and suspect that you are a candidate for it. What next? You do some research and find out that there is a Hydrogen Breath Test, also known as Breath Hydrogen Test available for FODMAP. What does this mean exactly?
In a nutshell, the Hydrogen Breath Test detects and assesses carbohydrate malabsorption by evaluating your intestinal gas. Carbohydrate malabsorption is the key to the Low FODMAP Diet.
The Hydrogen Breath Test consists of three possible tests. These include evaluation for Fructose, Sorbitol and Lactose intolerance. Before any of these tests can be conducted, there is an initial test called Lactulose which must be performed before proceeding with other tests.
Your GP and dietitian would refer to the results of these tests to assist with your IBS management.
HOWEVER…before you rush off to book in for your Hydrogen Breath Test…here are some facts to consider.
The tests are not cheap. Each test is for one type of carbohydrate, and only one analysis can be performed each day. Each test can cost upwards of $100 (out-of-pocket).
Each test takes 2 hours to complete, requiring the patient to drink a sugary beverage then blow into a tube every 15 minutes for 2 hours as well as rate symptoms being produced by the beverage.
Research has shown that results can change for any given person with repeated testing.
The only test that had reliably reproducible results was the lactose test.
Research shows that symptoms produced during these tests are not an indicator of the level of malabsorption.
The dose of fructose in the fructose test beverage is equal to the fructose content of 9 apples, while the lactose dose contained in the lactose test drink is equal to the lactose content of 1 litre of milk! The amounts obviously do not reflect what we would consume in real life!
Source: Dr. Rebecca Burgell, Dr. Peter Gibson, Dr. Jaci Barrett, Caroline Tuck, CK Yao The best thing you can do if you are experiencing symptoms is to talk to your GP or Accredited Practising Dietitian and get their advice on the best way forward for your particular case.
For more information on the Low FODMAP Diet and whether it's right for you, give us a call.