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Monday, August 17, 2009

Background to the MeBO-Biolab gut dysbiosis study


Note : In no way will the results of this study be expected to mean someone will be cured of metabolic body odor or halitosis by correcting any abnormalities shown. MeBO's view is that such odor problems may be 'syndromes', and a few factors may be worth ruling out, but that genetics likely is the main factor for most, at least in terms of predisposing the individual to the 'syndrome'. MeBO wishes to understand every aspect of metabolic body odor syndromes.

With the advent of the internet, for many people over 10 years now, it has become very possible for sufferers to unite and promote their own research into problems, as opposed to relying on the system to instigate research. The typical pattern on health forums for undefined 'low-priority' health problems is for there to be a 'supplement culture', where posters usually do not test and compare supplements used. MeBO hopes to promote a 'testing culture', in the same way that top athletes and sports teams use tests for optimum fitness (despite being healthy already), so that nothing is left unnoticed. Long-term, MeBO hopes for the research community to pay for all costs for studies and trials, but at this early stage, MeBO has decided to initiate research itself, with unfortunately, each volunteer having to pay for his/her own tests.

Biolab is a niche lab in London that tests for biochemical markers that are mostly neglected by the main health system (such as vitamin or mineral status). They have kindly offered to co-operate in our first 'self help' study, which was chosen using the parameters of price-sensitivity, relevance, choice and practicality.

At first the plan was to test one person thoroughly using many of Biolabs tests on offer (with MeBO hopefully paying), but then it was decided to make the first study about gut dysbiosis; and since funds were so low, to allow the volunteer to pay. The study will be open for a few months, and we are hoping to get as many volunteers as we can (a 'dream' goal would be 20 testers). The aim is to see if those with body odor or halitosis (especially fecal body odor) often have a 'gut dysbiosis' problem (at least, of the sort detected by the biomarkers used in these tests). Nothing more could be concluded from the results, other than this. It must also be remembered that the tests do not test for all states of gut dysbiosis (for instance; parasites). The tests were limited to what Biolab offers. MeBO hopes to continue this approach in further studies, hopefully in other countries as well.

Two experts have kindly offered to help oversee the results, one in USA with a biochemical/biophysics background, and another in the UK with a background in the human biotransformation enzymes (not specifically FMO3, although that is one of this group of enzymes). The USA expert will comment on each set of results and the volunteer will then receive their results.

To do the testing, the volunteer must fill in two short forms, a questionaire for MeBO, and the Biolab requisition form. The MeBO questionaire is to look for any pattern amongst the volunteers with regards to body odor and halitosis (particularly fecal body odor). The Biolab form requires identifiable details, but the MeBO survey does not.

The 3 tests chosen are:

Indicans urine test
D-lactate blood test
Gut fermentation test

Originally, due to costs and to promote easy testing, the indicans test was selected. It was suggested that the D-lactate test was worthy of testing due to recent evidence in a chronic fatigue paper, and then other tests were considered before deciding to only add the gut fermentation test as well, since it tests for 'fungal dysbiosis'. The Biolab gut fermentation test is regarded as probably the most accurate functional 'fungal-dysbiosis' test there is (it tests for ethanol after a glucose load). The leaky gut test, or gut permeability test was also going to be added, but this would have taken the price to around £148. Anyone interested may take the leaky gut test at this time, if they like, however, MeBO considers the leaky gut to definitely be a test for the future.

More will follow about the tests chosen in a following post, but for now here is a summary about the tests :


In an effort to understand the possible underlying conditions of chronic body odor, the following preliminary tests will be the focus of MeBO's attention as a preliminary study of gut dysbiosis.

  1. Indicans test: Indicans would be a straightforward and inexpensive way of looking for intestinal toxaemia and overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria, and would be an interesting approach, requiring a mid-stream, early morning, urine sample.
  2. D-lactate test: D-lactate is a specific bacterial metabolite and would not normally be found in blood unless there is a bacterial infection. So for patients with gut symptoms it looks as if this might be an interesting way of looking for intestinal infections. The symptoms of such infections can be quite wide-ranging and a recent publication found a correlation with chronic fatigue (suggesting there may be a bacterial cause).
  3. Gut fermentation profile: Involves gas chromatography technique. Patient must attend the lab. The test measures blood alcohols, including ethanol which is assumed to be only from fungal fermentation. Other alcohols suggest bacterial fermentation.
  4. Gut permeability profile: using polyethylene glycol 400 as a test substance for gut absorption. This test was originally added (urine test that can be done from home) but it was thought it would be too costly to add for now (test is £75). It tests 6 levels of absorption, including 'leaky gut' and malabsorption. Such a test will be part of MeBOs list of studies at some point for sure.



UPDATE 26NOV09:

The form to test in MeBO-Biolab Gut Dysbiosis Study is here :
MeBO-Biolab gut dysbiosis in body odor or halitosis study form-REVISED

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What MeBO is doing

MeBO Research aims to become a charity focusing on systemic body odor and systemic sourced halitosis, particularly 'bowel smells' body door, since it is the most common. Any donations are welcome to primarily reach MeBO's aim of charity status. As a charity, MeBO can then pursue grants and endowments in order to carry out large-scale international studies.

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