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Assessment of insulin resistance by a 13C glucose breath test: a new tool for early diagnosis and follow-up of high-risk patients

Meir Mizrahi1, Gadi Lalazar1, Tomer Adar1, Itamar Raz2 and Yaron Ilan1*

Author affiliations

1 Liver Unit, Department of Medicine, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center (Ein Karem), Jerusalem (12000), Israel

2 Diabetes Unit, Department of Medicine, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center (Ein Karem), Jerusalem (12000), Israel

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:25  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-25

Published: 27 May 2010



Insulin resistance (IR) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Current methods for insulin resistance detection are cumbersome, or not sensitive enough for early detection and follow-up. The BreathID® system can continuously analyse breath samples in real-time at the point-of-care. Here we determined the efficacy of the BreathID® using the 13C-Glucose breath test (GBT) for evaluation of insulin resistance.


Twenty healthy volunteers were orally administered 75 mg of 13C-glucose 1-13C. An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was performed immediately; followed by serum glucose and insulin level determinations using GBT. GBT and OGTT were repeated following exercise, which alters insulin resistance levels.


Within-subject correlations of GBT parameters with serum glucose and serum insulin levels were high. Before and after exercise, between-subjects correlations were high between the relative insulin levels and the % dose recoveries at 90 min (PDR 90), and the cumulative PDRs at 60 min (CPDR 60). Pairwise correlations were identified between pre-exercise Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) IR at 90 min and PDR 90; HOMA B (for beta cell function) 120 and CPDR 30; HOMA IR 60 and peak time post-exercise; and HOMA B 150 with PDR 150.


The non-invasive real-time BreathID® GBT reliably assesses changes in liver glucose metabolism, and the degree of insulin resistance. It may serve as a non-invasive tool for early diagnosis and follow up of patients in high-risk groups.