Innovation That Matters

Device allows users to create diets that ‘go with their gut’

Sport & Fitness

Handheld breathalyzer device helps users keep track of their gut health by measuring the gases released in their breath.

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the unique composition of our gut and the impact it has on our health. In 2015, we wrote about this idea which freezes patients stools, turning them into orally administered capsules which patients take to repopulate the unique bacteria of their own gut after a course of antibiotics. Offering a new way to stay gut-healthy is Irish innovation Aire, a hand-held breathalyzer device that figures out which foods disagree with a user’s gut and helps plan a diet that avoids them.

The small, hand-held device measures chemicals in the breath. Because of the unique microbial make up of our gut, each person will respond differently to certain foods. When our gut disagrees with common components like fructose, lactose or sorbitol, it fails to fully digest them. This leads to fermentation in the gut, which releases gases like hydrogen and methane into the bloodstream. Those gases are expunged through the breath. Aire analyzes the breath to measure which foods are causing bloating, abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea. It works like this: using an accompanying smartphone app, users test themselves with different carbohydrate groups. The app records the results to build a set of personalized sensitivity data. It then helps users build a diet that works for their gut. Those who suffer with digestive problems can track their food intake, gas levels, stress and sleep to control symptoms.

Developed at HAX, a hardware accelerator programme in China, the Aire is now available for pre-order at USD 145. As we become increasingly gut health aware, will we see more fitbit style innovations for the digestive system?




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