Indican is an indole produced when bacteria in the intestine act on the amino acid, tryptophan. Most indoles are excreted in the feces. The remainder is absorbed, metabolized by the liver, and excreted as indicanin the urine.
Indican normally appears in urine only at low levels, since it’s not normally produced in the cells of your body. However, unfriendly intestinal microorganisms can manufacture them in relatively high quantities.
Indican is then absorbed into the blood from the intestines and eventually appears in the urine.
Microbial overgrowth can lead to a wide variety of symptoms due to reactions to the toxic products produced by bacteria, parasites, or fungi.
If your stomach acid is not adequate, if you fail to digest protein, or if your diet does not supply sufficient fiber, the resulting overgrowth of unfavorable bacteria can release toxic products, such as indican, that your body must remove.
- Greenberger N, Saegh S, and Ruppert R. Urine indican excretion in malabsorption disorders. Gastroenterol 1968;55:204-11. PMID: 4385691.
- Patney NL, Mehrotra MP, Khanna HK, Kumar A. Urinary indican excretion in cirrhosis of liver. J Assoc Physicians India. 1976 May;24(5):291-5. PMID: 1022761.
- Patney NL, Saxena SK, Mehrotra MP, Khanna HK, Kumar A. Urinary indican in diabetes mellitus. J Indian Med Assoc. 1977 Mar 1;68(5):94-7. PMID: 903638.
Elevations of the organic acid Indican can indicate poor protein digestion and suggest intestinal dysbiosis.
The amount of urine indican increases with high protein diets or inefficient protein digestion.
Possible treatment options:
To reduce high indican levels consumers need to modify their diet by reducing the consumption of animal proteins as well as protein supplements.
Symptoms and conditions that lead to excess urine Indican include:
- Maldigestion and/or malabsorption of protein
- Hypochlorhydria (insufficient stomach acid)
- Gas and Bloating
- Intestinal overgrowth of bad bacteria
- Intestinal mucosal damage (due to infection, toxic or reactive exposure or nutritional deficiency)
- Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Celiac Disease
- Gastric Ulcers
- Stomach cancer
- Pancreatic insufficiency (proteases such as trypsin, pepsin, chymotrypsin)
- Malabsorption syndromes
- Bacterial overgrowth in the small and/or large intestine
- Intestinal obstruction
- Intestinal parasitic infections
- Intestinal fungal infections like Candida
- Liver Dysfunction
- The inability to digest protein can have adverse affects on glycemic control, hormone balance and water balance.
- High intake of antibiotics
- Nutritional deficiencies
What high indican levels indicate:
Excessive Indican levels are caused by poor digestion, constipation, exposure to excessive chemicals in the water, food, air, or drugs, or yeast/candida, parasites, or abnormal flora in the gut. Partially digested food may directly enter the blood, causing allergic food reactions. The body may never utilize undigested food; instead, it may decompose or rot in the colon, producing highly toxic substances, which are reabsorbed into the blood.
This toxicity can present symptoms including: gas, diarrhea, constipation, bad breath, bloating, weight gain, allergies, asthma, arthritis, headaches, skin conditions, nervous system problems, and colon toxicity, which is directly associated with low-back pain and sciatica. With many people, these symptoms manifest as upset stomach or indigestion, heartburn, nausea, and uncomfortable fullness after meals. Diets and supplements rich in proteins, such as those consumed by body builders, can contribute to these symptoms as well.
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