AIRE, a new personal breath testing device made by Irish digital digestive health company Food Marble, has earned clinical validation in a trial at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Food Marble designed the handheld hydrogen breath tester to assist physicians in diagnosing and managing a digestive condition known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). In the trial, AIRE performed better than the mail-in breath test kits typically used for SIBO. 

AIRE connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. Users can see immediate results of each test, allowing them insight into how their dietary choices affect their digestive health. For patients with SIBO, the clinical trial suggests that real-time data collected at home using AIRE could help their doctor monitor the disease and tailor treatment to the individual. The accuracy of AIRE testing also makes remote diagnosis of SIBO possible.

SIBO involves excessive bacteria growth that speeds up the natural fermentation process that occurs during digestion. The condition causes abdominal bloating and pain, altered bowel movements, nausea, and other symptoms that affect physical health and quality of life. SIBO may occur on its own or in combination with other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Research suggests that up to 15% of otherwise healthy individuals experience SIBO.

Clinical Lactulose hydrogen breath testing (LHBT), the gold standard for SIBO, requires patients to spend many hours onsite at a clinic. Mail-in LHBT kits make the test easier for patients, but both the in-clinic and mail-in tests have limitations when it comes to accuracy. LHBT requires the patient to consume Lactulose, a synthetic sugar used to treat constipation. The test then measures the level of hydrogen that is produced in response to the Lactulose, present in the patient’s breath. 

AIRE, however, measures the hydrogen concentration in breath after a user eats foods typical of their regular diet. That means users can repeat the test easily, and results are available immediately. Tracking how those results change provides more insight than a single snapshot test and enables more accurate symptoms tracking. Those advantages have benefits for both provider and patient. Collecting longitudinal data from AIRE may also prove beneficial as a tool for SIBO research.