Methane Producers Have Higher Cholesterol

What could methane gas have to do with your cholesterol level? Plenty, according to a Canadian study published in the July 1995 issue of Diabetes Care.

The research was supported by Miles (Canada) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. According to the report, “About half of the population excrete methane gas in their breath, indicating the presence of methanogenic bacteria in the colon. Methane producers have higher serum cholesterol than non-methane producers.”

Twenty-one subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and eight control subjects were studied after an overnight fast. Blood and breath samples were taken at intervals, along with samples of air from the room. Methane producers were identified as having at least one part per million over that of room air.

“Of the 21 IGT subjects, 11 were methane producers, and they were well-matched to the non-methane producers for sex, age, body mass index, and plasma glucose and insulin concentrations…As expected, mean serum total and LDL cholesterol concentrations in methane producers were significantly greater than in non-methane producers by 19 and 26% respectively.”

The researchers concluded that “events within the colon may influence systemic lipid metabolism in humans. Further studies are required to confirm and explain the effects we observed.”

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