Indican, Urine

The Indican, Urine test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The Indican Urine Test, also known as the Obermeyer Test, measures the amount of indican in the urine. Indican (indoxyl sulfate) is a colorless compound that is formed when the amino acid tryptophan gets broken down by bacteria in the intestine. Once formed, indican travels to the liver, where it's typically converted into indoxyl and then excreted in the urine. High levels of indican in the urine can suggest an increased amount of protein decomposition in the gut or problems with normal digestion and absorption.

Collection Method: Urine Collection

Specimen Type: Urine

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When and Why an Indican Urine Test May be Ordered

This test may be ordered when a healthcare provider suspects:

  • Intestinal Dysbiosis: An imbalance of beneficial and harmful bacteria in the intestines.
  • Protein Malabsorption: Difficulty in digesting or absorbing proteins from the diet.
  • Increased Protein Fermentation: Usually due to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.

Symptoms suggesting these conditions might include bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and unexplained fatigue.

What the Indican Urine Test Checks For

The Indican Urine Test specifically checks for the presence and concentration of indican in the urine. Elevated levels can suggest an issue with protein digestion or absorption, or increased protein fermentation in the intestines.

Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside the Indican Urine Test

To get a comprehensive view of the patient's digestive health and potential malabsorption, a doctor might also order:

  • Comprehensive Stool Analysis: To evaluate the types and amounts of bacteria present in the intestine.
  • Hydrogen Breath Test: To detect bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
  • Fecal Fat Test: To determine if fats are being properly absorbed in the digestive tract.

Conditions or Diseases that Require the Indican Urine Test

The Indican Urine Test can be useful in diagnosing or supporting the diagnosis of:

  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): A condition where there's an abnormally high number of bacteria in the small intestine.
  • Intestinal Dysbiosis: An imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut.
  • Malabsorption Syndromes: Conditions in which the intestines can't properly absorb certain nutrients from the food.

Usage of Indican Urine Test Results by Health Care Providers

Healthcare providers use the results of the Indican Urine Test to:

  • Diagnose: Elevated indican levels can help confirm the presence of conditions like SIBO, intestinal dysbiosis, or a malabsorption syndrome.
  • Tailor Treatment: Understanding the level of indican can assist doctors in prescribing the right antibiotics, probiotics, or other therapies.
  • Monitor Progress: For patients already diagnosed with a related disorder, the test can be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

However, it's important to note that while an increased indican level can suggest problems in the intestine, it's not definitive for any particular condition. Thus, it's typically used in conjunction with other tests and clinical findings.

Most Common Questions About the Indican Urine test:

Purpose and Indications for the Indican Urine Test

What is the primary purpose of the Indican Urine test?

The Indican Urine test is primarily used to measure the amount of indican present in the urine. Indican is a by-product of the breakdown of tryptophan, an essential amino acid, in the intestine. Elevated levels can indicate problems with protein digestion or absorption, or an imbalance of the bacterial environment in the intestines.

Which conditions can be indicated by high levels of indican in urine?

High levels of indican in the urine can be indicative of conditions like malabsorption syndromes, protein malnutrition, or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.

Interpreting the Results

What does an elevated level of indican in urine suggest?

Elevated levels of indican in the urine typically suggest that proteins are not being adequately digested or absorbed in the intestine. This can result from various conditions, including bacterial overgrowth in the intestine or insufficient production of stomach acid.

Implications and Management

How can one lower high indican levels detected in the Indican Urine test?

Managing high indican levels typically involves addressing the underlying cause. This might include treating bacterial overgrowth in the intestines, improving protein digestion by adjusting diet or supplementing with digestive enzymes, or addressing other underlying gastrointestinal disorders.

Is it necessary to repeat the Indican Urine test after treatment?

If indican levels were high and interventions were applied, it might be beneficial to repeat the Indican Urine test to ensure levels have normalized. This helps in assessing the effectiveness of the treatment and monitoring any recurrence of the underlying issues.

Test Mechanisms and Specifics

Why is tryptophan metabolism important in the context of the Indican Urine test?

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, and its metabolism in the gut plays a crucial role in producing indican. If tryptophan isn't adequately digested or if there's bacterial overgrowth in the intestines, more of it is metabolized by the bacteria, leading to an increased production of indican which then appears in the urine.

Are there other tests that should be considered alongside the Indican Urine test when assessing gastrointestinal health?

Yes, in addition to the Indican Urine test, healthcare professionals might also consider tests like stool analysis, hydrogen breath tests, or other specific markers for malabsorption or bacterial overgrowth. These tests can provide a comprehensive view of the gastrointestinal environment and function.

Additional Information

How often should one get the Indican Urine test if they have gastrointestinal issues?

The frequency of the Indican Urine test varies based on individual circumstances. If someone has ongoing gastrointestinal issues, the test might be repeated periodically to monitor the levels of indican and assess the effectiveness of treatments. However, for someone without symptoms, routine testing might not be necessary.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Indican Urine


*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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