In digestive health, breath testing is emerging as an effective way for patients to monitor and manage symptoms. OMED Health’s gut health tests operate by detecting small amounts of hydrogen and methane gases on breath, which can be collected at home. These gases on breath can be a key indicator of gut health and can signal certain conditions and diseases.
Following analysis, through Owlstone’s partnership with the Functional Gut Clinic , test results along with interpretation are provided to help diagnose small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or carbohydrate malabsorption. These common causes of digestive discomfort are actionable through treatments such as antibiotics or targeted dietary changes. By using data from the OMED Health tests, and combining it with expert support, personalized health plans can be generated. OMED Health’s tests are already in use by multiple NHS Trusts across the UK.
As part of the OMED Health offering, a portable breath analyzer that can monitor gut health over time by measuring hydrogen and methane levels is being developed. The device, which will be available later in 2023 with a waitlist  for the device now open for priority access, will be accompanied by a mobile app that allows viewing of results and tracking of symptoms and other potential triggers. OMED Health’s expert gastrointestinal physiologists, or a person’s own doctor, would then review the data to help create a personalized plan. Being able to track breath measurements and symptoms over time, users will be able to understand the progress of their condition and response to their treatment plan.
Owlstone is also engaged in projects with leading pharma and academic partners  in digestive health including the microbiome, which have the potential to generate novel customer-funded biomarkers that will fuel the future test pipeline and be commercialized under OMED Health.
Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said: “People living with digestive health issues currently feel let down. They’re waiting years to get a diagnosis and have little choice but to live their daily lives in discomfort, with many turning to fad diets, supplements, apps and devices that have little or no scientific basis. Through OMED Health, we are deploying our breath analysis technology, developed with the support of gut health experts, to provide people with a solution they can trust. Our aim is simple – helping the billion people globally with digestive health issues live normal lives.”
A wide range of illnesses, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), carbohydrate malabsorption, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can impact gut health, however diagnosis is typically slow, taking 6.5 years on average . This leaves those living with these conditions unsure about what is happening with their bodies, and how they can manage symptoms. This uncertainty can lead those living with digestive health issues to make poor health choices that can be ineffective, or worse harmful. For example, a significant proportion (~40%) of those living with IBS symptoms have SIBO – but don’t realise . This means they struggle to access treatment and can’t take control of their gut health.
In the UK alone, almost nine million adults experience IBS , and 3.4 million experience SIBO . Digestive health is also cited as one of the leading causes of work absenteeism and in the US alone, overall annual healthcare expenditures for gastrointestinal disease total $136 billion, which is more than for heart disease ($113 billion) trauma ($103 billion), or mental health ($99 billion) .