Biomarkers

What is Methane (CH4)? High and low values | Lab results explained

Utilization of breath methane levels for SIBO assessment is controversial largely due to a lack of validation related to diagnostic specifics such as timing and magnitude of increase; however, CH4 measurements are increasingly obtained to address other clinical questions. Recent evidence has associated CH4 production with the pathogenesis of common clinical conditions, such as obesity, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and constipation.

– The peer-reviewed literature suggests an association with certain clinical conditions and methanogen overgrowth at levels as low as 3 ppm, CH4 values between 3 and 9 may indicate the need for clinical intervention in the symptomatic patient.

– ELEVATED BASELINE – An elevated baseline may be a more common pattern with CH4 positive tests primarily due to the ability of methanogenic organisms to ferment in the absence of an ingested carbohydrate substrate.

Methane gas itself may slow intestinal transit, and patients with CH4-predominant bacterial overgrowth have been found to be five times more likely to have constipation compared to individuals with H2 – predominant overgrowth. Moreover, the severity of constipation has been found to directly correlate with the CH4 level.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOUR METHANE (CH4) RESULT IS TOO HIGH?

A peak methane level > 10 ppm at any point is indicative of a methane-positive result.

Methane gas itself may slow intestinal transit, and patients with CH4-predominant bacterial overgrowth have been found to be five times more likely to have constipation compared to individuals with H2 – predominant overgrowth. Moreover, the severity of constipation has been found to directly correlate with the CH4 level.

– The peer-reviewed literature suggests an association with certain clinical conditions and methanogen overgrowth at levels as low as 3 ppm, CH4 values between 3 and 9 may indicate the need for clinical intervention in the symptomatic patient.

– ELEVATED BASELINE – An elevated baseline may be a more common pattern with CH4 positive tests primarily due to the ability of methanogenic organisms to ferment in the absence of an ingested carbohydrate substrate.

——————

References:

Rezaie A, Buresi M, Lembo A, et al. Hydrogen and Methane-Based Breath Testing in Gastrointestinal Disorders: The North American Consensus. The American journal of gastroenterology. May 2017;112(5):775-784. [L]

Disclaimer:

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

The information on healthmatters.io is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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