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Hydrogen Breath Tests

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Find out whether you can tolerate lactose, fructose or sorbitol with cerascreen® hydrogen breath tests. A specialist laboratory analyses your breath sample for gases that are produced in the gut if an intolerance is present. With the results, you can change your diet – and with a little luck, food intolerance symptoms such as flatulence, diarrhoea and stomach ache will improve.

When you exhale, you get rid of stale air with carbon dioxide (CO2) – but that’s not all. Other substances are also present in small quantities in the air you breathe. Sometimes, these substances can be an indication that you cannot tolerate food. Gases are produced in the intestines, which are in the air you breathe. You can measure these gases with a hydrogen breath test kit.

What does a hydrogen breath test kit diagnose?

Hydrogen breath tests, also known as H2 breath tests, are the gold standard when it comes to measuring intolerances to certain types of sugar and sugar-like substances. This method of intolerance testing is common when screening for lactose, fructose or sorbitol intolerance. To do this, you drink a sugar solution before the breath test and then take several breath samples.

In the laboratory, experts then measure the concentration of hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) in the breath gas. Large amounts of H2 and CH4 are an indication that you cannot tolerate lactose, fructose or sorbitol.

This is due to the processes that take place in your intestines when you have such an intolerance. If your small intestine cannot process the dissolved substance properly, they enter the large intestine where they ferment. These fermentation processes produce hydrogen and methane gases, among other things, which you exhale.

Get to the bottom of your intolerance symptoms

Intolerances to lactose, fructose and sorbitol can lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms, including flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, but also fatigue and headaches.

Hydrogen breath tests can help you to identify any intolerances you may have and avoid the foods that you cannot tolerate. In the case of lactose intolerance, you should avoid milk and dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and cream. Large amounts of fructose are found in certain types of fruit such as apples, pears and grapes, as well as in sweets. Sorbitol is also found in fruits and dried fruits, as well as in sweets and ice cream.

How the hydrogen breath test works

There are intolerance tests that work by taking a blood test to measure the presence of IgG4 antibodies to a specific food or substance in your body – such as our Histamine Intolerance Test – and tests that screen for several different intolerances at once. 

The cerascreen® breath tests are home health tests. With the test, you receive a sugar solution with the substance being tested for. Before and after you take this solution, you fill a total of five tubes with breath gas, at set intervals, using the hydrogen breath test kit. You then send these breath gas samples to a specialist laboratory where they are analysed for hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) content. Once the analysis is complete, you will receive your results report via your online account, with the test results, concrete recommendations for action and information on the intolerance tested.

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