Indican is produced as a by-product by the dietary breakdown of an amino acid called tryptophan. Bacteria in the upper bowel facilitate this conversion from any unabsorbed tryptophan. Indican is normally low in healthy people and increased levels indicate small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or intestinal dysbiosis.
Patients that may be at greater risk for indican overproduction include those with poor diets or refined diets, those who drink too much alcohol and those with hectic and stressful lives. Elevated indican levels may also commonly indicate maldigestion and hypochlorhydria. (an underactive stomach) Indican excretion is reduced when the intestines are populated with strains of beneficial bacteria, and the higher the level of beneficial bacteria the lower the level of indican is likely to be.
While the urinary indican test is not a test that is specific for a yeast infection, in my experience most patients who present to my clinic with a yeast infection are positive for urinary indican, signifying dysbiosis, high levels of bad bacteria. Those with yeast infections, especially when chronic, often have high to very high levels of dysbiotic bacteria as well.
This test is an accurate, simple and yet an inexpensive screening tool to allow the quick identification of the putrefaction of protein in the gastrointestinal tract. A positive test reflects a state of intestinal bacterial dysbiosis that almost always accompanies a yeast infection.
This test is often performed by your naturopath or functional medicine doctor, and can be performed quickly in their clinic. The urinary indican test will give you an immediate indication of how much dysbiosis you have ranging from 0 to + 4 depending on the color of the dipstick soon after it has been placed in the urine sample. Ask your health-care professional if he or she can perform this test for you, chances are that she may be able to simply get this test from his or her supplier of products or tests. Your local chemist or pharmacy may be able to tell you who does this test in your area or if they know who can supply it to you.
The Causes of a Positive Urinary Indican Test
- Intestinal overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria (dysbiosis)
- Intestinal mucosal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) due to damage from an infection, an anti-biotic, a toxic or reactive exposure, or nutritional deficiency
- Protein maldigestion or too much protein
- Alcohol consumption or a diet high in sugary and refined foods
- Bile duct obstruction or gallstones
Common Micro-Organisms Contributing to Positive Indican Tests Include:
Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Yersinia, Citrobacter species, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas, some strains of Escherichia coli, Staphyloccocus aureus, Bacteriodes, Clostridium, Candida albicans, and many other Candida species.
Urinary Indican Test Collection Requirements
- No alcohol the night before
- Avoid probiotics for three days prior
- Preferably a high protein meal the night before
- No iodine, bile supplements taken 3 – 4 days prior to testing (these may create a false positive test)
- Avoid all enzyme and digestive enzyme formulations 3 days prior
- Sample preferably from a second urination of the day
This urine test is best performed every two weeks, and the measurement recorded on your Candida Home Test Tracker. Tracking your results regularly will help you to determine if you’re on the right track as you work to eradicate your overgrowth.