You sit down and eat a “healthy meal”. Bite by bite, filling your stomach to the perfect 80 percent mark. 60-minutes later, however, your body expresses its disagreement:
- Abdominal cramps
Was it the steamed broccoli? The grains? Or perhaps, the apple for dessert?
What if you could pinpoint the exact foods that cause your body doesn’t like? Including the broadly recommended so-called superfoods.
Perhaps even detect sharply increasing methane and hydrogen gas which often indicate underlying gut dysbiosis, SIBO, and/or SIFO.
A gadget for beginners called the FoodMarble AIRE and the new FoodMarble AIRE 2 are paving this reality. After several months of daily use, I’m sharing my experience with the FoodMarble AIRE, using it to diagnose FODMAP sensitivities, and why I’ve picked it up again in 2022. By the end, you’ll know if this breath-based digestive tracker is right for you and worth the cost.
In a hurry?
Use the exclusive FoodMarble promo code NURBAN for 15% off.
What is FoodMarble?
The FoodMarble AIRE is a tiny, handheld breathalyzer that gives you real-time insight into your digestion, and indicates the presence of microbes where they don’t belong (SIBO & SIFO). Often this manifests in the inability to handle a type of carbohydrates called FODMAPs. Identifying sensitivities and intolerances help you make better decisions and avoid sometimes debilitating digestive discomfort. For those with IBS, Chron’s, and other digestive disorders, this device can change lives.
I’m a non-celiac without any known serious food intolerances. So I didn’t expect much. Food intolerances, however, can change over time. Problematic foods become fine, and vice-versa. FoodMarble can help you discover changes in your gut flora before they get out of control.
Pair the device to any modern smartphone via BlueTooth. My AIRE came with a partial charge. The app is quick to set up, and intuitive. Open the app, select the big “+” button, and then select “Breath”. Power on the device by tapping the only button located on its side. The AIRE warms up in about 20 seconds. Unlike the Lumen, and some other awesome biohacking gadgets I have, this gadget only takes a single, light 5-second breath.
Your digestion score comes back on a scale of 0-10:
- 0 signifies perfect digestion
- 10 signifies extreme intolerance
Virtually all of my measurements fell between 0-1.5. When I ate high-FODMAP foods, I had a few exceptions with Fermentation Scores around 7-9.5. I’ll explain later.
Pro tip: It took me a month to discover that the mouthpiece snaps off for easy cleaning.
FoodMarble AIRE 1 Tech Specs
- Height: 55 mm
- Width: 55 mm
- Depth: 12.5 mm
- Weight: 25g
- Charger: Micro-USB
- Charge Time: 30 minutes
- Connection: BlueTooth LE
- Battery Life: 23+ readings per charge
- Mobile Support: iPhone 5+ or Android 4.4+
FoodMarble AIRE 1 vs 2
The most notable upgrade in the new FoodMarble AIRE 2 model is that it detects methane in addition to hydrogen.
Certain microbes (like Archaebacteria) produce methane. When these microbes are present, just measuring hydrogen can give you a false negative for SIBO. That’s because they consume hydrogen, and produce methane.
Methane slows how quickly food passes through your digestive tract and can explain many common SIBO symptoms like constipation, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, burping, and diarrhea.
If you can afford it, I suggest upgrading to the FoodMarble AIRE 2 for the most thorough results.
What Comes in the FoodMarble Box
- FoodMarble AIRE Digestive Breath Tester
- Carrying case
- USB charging cord
- AIRE Quick Start Guide
- FODMAP Testing Guide
- Lactose powder (add-on)
- Fructose powder (add-on)
- Sorbitol powder (add-on)
- Inulin powder (add-on)
Note: I received the full test kit as indicated by “add-on”. This includes the FODMAP powders in addition to the breath analyzer.
How to Use the FoodMarble AIRE to Detect & Treat SIBO
We’re in the midst of a silent epidemic of SIBO. Nearly one in three people today have (whether knowingly or not) SIBO. Antibiotic overuse, chemical pesticide farming, and ultra-refined foods have paved the way for harmful microbes to proliferate uncontrollably. Over the long term, SIBO left untreated can cause cancer and other issues.
But diagnosing SIBO is incredibly difficult.
Even with modern tools, doctors cannot see about 20 feet of the digestive tract.
In his February 2022 book, Super Gut, Dr. William Davis explains how he uses the FoodMarble AIRE with his patients to identify, treat, and track the remission of their SIBO.
FODMAP intolerance virtually always signifies SIBO. So he uses the AIRE in his protocol to establish their baseline hydrogen and methane levels, and then tracks progress as they follow a special anti-SIBO protocol, containing:
- Homemade probiotic yogurt
- Natural antibiotics
- Essential oils
- Fish oil
- Olive oil
Patients use the FoodMarble AIRE 2 to test their breath after meals. Around 4-weeks (SIBO) to 6-weeks (SIFO) later, when their breath measures nominally increased hydrogen and methane after eating, they’ve fixed their gut dysbiosis.
If you’re curious like me, you’re probably wondering how this all works.
How the FoodMarble AIRE Works: Science & Technology
FoodMarble AIRE works by detecting the level of hydrogen (and V2 also detects methane) in your breath. Hydrogen and methane production correlate strongly with indigestion. The worse you absorb your food, the more of these gasses you produce.
The core technology behind FoodMarble dates back to the 1970s when researchers discovered that breath testing works to identify digestive incompatibilities. Inside the AIRE 1 & 2 is the same (miniaturized) technology powering in-office clinical testing.
The FoodMarble website nicely summarizes the science:
Food not absorbed —> Hydrogen/methane produced —> Exhaled in breath
Every time you eat, food travels from your stomach to your intestines to be broken down and assimilated. The remainder of any undigested food passes from your small to large intestine. Bacteria use a process called fermentation to finish processing it.
Fermentation leads to the classic unpleasant symptoms of indigestion and generates hydrogen as a result. Then the hydrogen enters the bloodstream, travels to the lungs, and is eventually exhaled through your breath.
Fermentation = increased hydrogen
FoodMarble captures and logs hydrogen levels so that you can identify which foods are causing your problems.
Here’s the question…
Does it work?
So far, there’s not a ton of science comparing the FoodMarble AIRE products to laboratory testing. Two papers, however, found accuracy comparable to the gold-standard devices used by hospitals.
One study of 13 volunteers showed similar results to the clunky (and expensive) tabletop device.
The other study of 19 healthy subjects using the standard BreathTracker analyzer found similar accuracy up to 81 ppm. Showing FoodMarble’s efficacy for diagnostic purposes.
So here’s your option…
Waste the day commuting and waiting at the doctor’s office, pay several hundred dollars in fees, get your results, and frequently repeat to gauge your progress. Or, get comparable accuracy from the comfort of your home, pay a similar amount for the device, and re-test whenever you like at no additional cost.
FoodMarble FODMAP Test Kit
FODMAPS (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) are a type of carbohydrate that commonly ferment in the intestines and lead to classic digestive symptoms. FoodMarble AIRE primarily tests for FODMAP sensitivity which often results from an underlying SIBO infection.
Many foods contain FODMAPs, and some common sources include:
- Artificial sweeteners (some)
To name just a few.
Those with digestive issues generally experience symptoms from overconsuming these foods. FoodMarble has standardized the process of determining which (if any) you’re sensitive to with sachets of the most problematic ingredients.
If you order it the add-on, they send a kit containing these powdered FODMAPS:
The app has a “Challenges” section specifically designed to record and track your responses to them.
FoodMarble AIRE Review: App
The FoodMarble AIRE requires its accompanying app in order to record measurements and log your data.
The app has 4 main tabs:
- Home (dashboard)
- Challenges (record FODMAP powder tests)
- Food (database)
- Settings (user and profile settings)
A large plus button sits in the middle of the tabs and lets you log various measurements. FoodMarble logging options include:
This is the section I used most. Particularly, the breath measurement. I’d take measurements 15 minutes before meals, immediately after meals, and then one hour later. After every breath, a box pops up asking you to rate symptom severity (abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence). Generally, I found my one-hour post-meal breath reading would catch any symptoms that I experienced.
Compared to apps like Cronometer and My Fitness Pal, the FoodMarble food database is quite simple. I had a hard time finding certain foods and snacks.
To find correlations between your symptoms and lifestyle habits, the app prompts you to rate your perceived sleep quality and stress levels. I skipped the step since I use other devices like the Oura Ring and Biostrap to get highly accurate sleep and stress biometrics.
Overall, the FoodMarble app is well thought out and designed. Without reading the instructions, I went from unboxing to downloading and clicking through the app, to getting the results from my first reading in slightly over 5 minutes.
FoodMarble AIRE Pros & Cons
Simple & easy to use
One of few digestive tracking tools
Long battery life
Correlates lifestyle (like stress) and digestion
Reusable and rechargeable
FODMAP tests cost extra
Best results take multiple measurements throughout day
Must interpret results by yourself
Food database needs expanding
Medications, alcohol, smoking can all interfere with scores
Wait 15 minutes after each use to allow sensor to dry
FoodMarble AIRE Pricing
Neither the first generation nor new device is cheap.
The FoodMarble AIRE 1 costs $152, and the AIRE 2 costs $212 after using the code URBAN.
Remember, if you suspect that you may have food intolerances or gut dysbiosis, each in-office diagnostic generally amounts to $200-$300 plus your time and gas.
The device quickly pays for itself, as you can use it unlimited times.
If you can afford it, the AIRE 2 gives you the most information and can detect cases of SIBO that the AIRE 1 will not.
If you’re on a tight budget, I suggest you skip FoodMarble’s FODMAP Test Kit, get foods high in the same compounds, and run the experiment for yourself.
Is it a good value? Hard to say since there aren’t yet any consumer-friendly FoodMarble alternatives.
FoodMarble AIRE Review: The Future of Digestive Health Testing?
You might have heard the gut called the “second brain”.
But many holistic health practitioners agree that it deserves more than the silver medal. After all, our gut microbes directly influence our thoughts, moods, and emotions. They control our thinking.
Others like Sayer Ji in his book Regenerate explain how the gut enabled the rapid evolution and adaptation of humans.
When these microbes proliferate where they shouldn’t, in places like the small intestine, we experience the sweeping symptoms of SIBO that impact every facet of our existence. One of which is the inability to digest certain foods.
Food allergies present obvious symptoms. Food intolerances, however, can feel more subtle. Both lead to chronic inflammation, widely considered the root of all diseases.We eat food to absorb and assimilate nutrients. Indigestion blocks nutrient utilization, wasting your precious high-quality groceries.
Previously, you had to visit a clinic to have a gastroenterologist help you identify problematic foods. SIBO testing was nearly impossible and usually involved getting laughed out of multiple doctors’ offices.
Costing your time and resources. FoodMarble AIRE 2 fits this technology in the palm of your hand.
But for the pressing question…
Does it work?
According to a peer-reviewed validation study and 17,906+ satisfied users — Yes.
With one five-second breath, you understand how your body is processing your recent meal.
When you use the code URBAN, the FoodMarble AIRE 1 comes out to $152 and the AIRE 2 comes out to $212. 15% cheaper than the Amazon listing.
The FoodMarble AIRE brings the power of clinical food intolerance testing to your palm at an affordable price
Product Brand: FoodMarble
Product Currency: USD
Product In-Stock: InStock