(HealthDay News) – There is a significant association between having both high methane and hydrogen results on a breath test and having a higher body mass index (BMI), according to a study published online March 26 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Ruchi Mathur, MD, from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues prospectively studied 792 consecutive patients presenting for breath testing.

The researchers grouped participants based on breath testing as normal (N; methane <3ppm and hydrogen <20ppm at or before 90 minutes); hydrogen-positive only (H+; methane <3ppm and hydrogen ≥20ppm); methane-positive only (M+; methane ≥3ppm and hydrogen <20ppm), or methane- and hydrogen-positive (M+/H+) (methane ≥3ppm and hydrogen ≥20ppm). The groups differed significantly by age, but not by gender. M+/H+ subjects had significantly higher BMI and also had significantly higher percent body fat than other groups, when controlling for age.

“The presence of both methane and hydrogen on breath testing is associated with increased BMI and percent body fat in humans,” the authors write.

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