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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Can you test gut candidiasis with an alcohol breathalyzer ?

A specialising lab in the UK, Biolab, believes that yeast is the most likely producer of ethanol from sugar in the gut, and so they have designed their gut candidiasis test based on this. They give you a sugar-challenge and then test your blood for ethanol levels (as well as other alcohols, that are thought to be produced by bacterias). Their test is primed to test you for small intestine fungal overgrowth, the first blood sample drawn an hour after glucose ingestion as the glucose capsule has not had time to reach the colon by then.

http://www.biolab.co.uk/gutferm.html

Excessive growth of Candida in the small intestine results in the production of ethanol from ingested dietary carbohydrate. The alcohol thus produced passes into the blood. The exact identity of the fungus involved is still open to question, but the assumption is that it is the growth of either Candida or another yeast that causes the symptoms...

...Increased ethanol with no methanol and only slight increases in other alcohols suggests yeast overgrowth. Increased ethanol with some methanol present and only slight increases in other alcohols suggests that there may have been ingestion of alcohol in the 24 hours prior to the test. An increase in a range of alcohols, but not ethanol, suggests a bacterial dysbiosis in the small intestine, possibly due to malabsorption. Similarly raised levels of short chain fatty acids, with normal or nearly-normal blood alcohols, suggests increased bacterial fermentation in the colon, probably secondary to mild small intestinal malabsorption.

http://www.biolab.co.uk/docs/gfp.pdf
This poses the question; if the theory is correct, can an ordinary 'alcohol breathalyzer' detect gut yeast overgrowth, since it actually tests for ethanol (alcohol being the common term used for ethanol in beverages) ?

The answer seems to be no. The levels of 'ethanol' Biolab are testing for are 100-1000 times less than the levels an ordinary breathalyzer test for. However, you can never be sure that someone with a bad candida problem may be close to 'over the limit'. It's unlikely, although there have been a few court cases claiming this defence. Some naturopaths have spoken of smelling a 'beery smell' from candida sufferers. So maybe it's worth buying the very cheap ($10) breathalyzers to see, under the premise you will always be 'nil', but it seems a waste of money to buy a decent breathalyzer.

other labs methods of detecting yeast metabolites in body fluids:
Metametrix use D-arabinitol as the marker for yeast fermentation status in their urine dysbiosis marker test.
Genova use Arabinose, Tartaric acid, and Citramalic acid. Metabolic Analysis Profile (Organic Acids)

related links:
Biolab abstract : Intestinal dysbosis, a review
Biolab abstract: Abnormal Gut Fermentation: Laboratory Studies Reveal Deficiency of B Vitamins, Zinc and Magnesium

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