Home Bowel Transit Time Test

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The bowel transit time test is way to check out how well your digestion/absorption/elimination system is working.

There is a doctor-guided test as well, involving markers that you swallow which are then checked on with X-ray.

This home version is simpler, cheaper, doesn’t involve blasting your abdomen with radiation, and may actually work better.  (Plus, you can repeat it more easily every few weeks to check your progress… Try getting your HMO to cover that!)

digestive system bowels

After you give yourself this test, you’ll know exactly how long it takes for your body to eliminate what you eat.

Home Bowel Transit Time Test

Step One: Buy Charcoal Tablets

You can get charcoal tablets at any pharmacy or from websites like Amazon.  You only need 5 grams per test, so don’t worry about buying a huge bottle.


Step Two: Take And Record

Take 5 grams of charcoal on an empty stomach and write down the exact time.

Step Three: Examine

When you evacuate your bowels (poop), look in the bowl.  When you have dark stool, record the time.  You now know how long it takes for elimination to happen.

 Step Four: Compare

Use these time to elimination guidelines to judge how well your system is working:

  • Less than 12 hours: You’re not absorbing all of your nutrients (this is a bad thing)
  • 12-24 hours: Healthy range
  • More than 24 hours: Foods are in your system for too long (also a bad thing)

Quick Tips

When you take the bowel transit time test, don’t do anything out of synch with your normal day.  Don’t chug a gallon of water, start a new exercise program, or eat unfamiliar foods – these can all skew the results of the test.

Don’t chew the charcoal tablets.

Since you’re going to be looking at your poo anyway, see what else it can tell you about your gut health: What Different Types Of Poo Mean

Oh, if you think taking charcoal tablets and looking for black poop is gross, I found a solution for you: Gold Flake Tablets.  Your bowel transit time test will be much fancier:

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