Getting
Started Guides

Step-by-step guides to help you get started with your new device

Find out more

Shop

For healthcare professionals
FoodMarble Health For use by physicians
  • 14 March 2022
  • Est. reading time: 3 minutes
  • Understanding Your Hydrogen & Methane Levels

  • We tend to think of variation in our digestion as being mostly driven by our genetics, but this is actually a relatively small factor in what makes us digest food differently. Each of us has a radically different array of gut microbes and it’s these microbes that are the biggest factor in how well we tolerate different types of food.

  • Est. reading time: 3 minutes
  • Understanding Your Hydrogen & Methane Levels

  • We tend to think of variation in our digestion as being mostly driven by our genetics, but this is actually a relatively small factor in what makes us digest food differently. Each of us has a radically different array of gut microbes and it’s these microbes that are the biggest factor in how well we tolerate different types of food.

Bacterial Fermentation in the Gut

Gases are produced directly during fermentation by the bacteria in your gut. Bacterial fermentation is normal and healthy. In fact, it helps to keep our body and gut in good shape. However, it becomes problematic if a rapid build-up of these gases occurs, as it can cause bloating, pain and other symptoms.

 

Methane

Most people also have methanogens in their gut. These are a type of microbe that can convert hydrogen to methane. The more methanogens you have, the more methane will be produced. The number of methanogens increases with age, but also relates to diet, ethnicity and factors like medications.

There’s evidence that methane can also act as a ‘neurotransmitter’ to slow down your digestion, which can be a factor in constipation. If you have constipation from time to time (or all the time), paying attention to methane levels could be helpful.

Your doctor might prescribe anti-microbials to reduce the amount of methanogens. What can often happen in this case is that your methane levels go down but your hydrogen levels shoot up. This makes sense, as to create a single methane typically requires 4 hydrogens, which means that the methanogens can actually be reducing the overall amount of gas in your gut.

 

Hydrogen

An important point to remember is that hydrogen levels tend to be more responsive to what you eat. This makes hydrogen more useful for assessing which foods you can digest best. For example, you might find that even if you eat low FODMAP, your methane levels may remain high.

When it comes down to it, before now, it hasn’t ever been possible to measure hydrogen and methane levels day-to-day. This means that it’s not yet known by the scientific community what to fully expect and what the levels of hydrogen and methane will mean for you. You’re exploring new ground. By tracking what you eat and how you feel, along with your breath measurements, you can better understand your unique digestive system.

 

Visceral Hypersensitivity & Symptoms

Those of us with gut issues are often more sensitive to the build-up of gases in the gut. This is known as visceral hypersensitivity. However, each person has a unique symptom threshold. This links to how much gases you can tolerate before experiencing discomfort. You can find yours by keeping tracking of how your symptoms change in response to your breath levels. If you’re feeling good after a high score, it means you have a pretty good tolerance. However, it’s best to not to ever overload your gut with too much fermentation after every meal. Remember fermentation is healthy but balance is key.

Aonghus Shortt, Ph.D

Aonghus is CEO of FoodMarble

Discover More

Search recipes, articles, stories:

FoodMarble Understanding Your Hydrogen & Methane Levels - FoodMarble
×
Newsletter

SIGN UP FOR 10% OFF

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get 10% off.

Cart
There are no products in the cart!
0