What are organic acids?

What are organic acids?

Margie GanderOct 8, '21

Have you ever wondered whether you are malnourished? Or whether your daily  supplementation choices are working? Maybe you have done genetic testing and want to assess whether the changes that you have made are having a positive impact in your biochemistry?

The answer is a resounding "YES"!

By testing organic acid levels in your urine, you'll be able to have a real-time of view of how well your body is functioning and where you need to focus your nutrient choices.

What are organic acids?

Organic acids are chemical compounds with acidic properties that are excreted in your urine. They are the product of your metabolism, the chemical reactions in your body that build or break down molecules. 

There are over 76 organic acids available in your urine that when tested can provide your with insight into vitamin sufficiency, antioxidants levels, oxidative stress functioning, energy production, detoxification, neurotransmitter levels, oxalates, and intestinal yeast and bacteria. Having these organic acids identified will help you to personalise your daily choices! 

How can I test my organic acid levels?

An Organic Acids Test (OAT) is a comprehensive test that gives metabolic insight into your overall health. 

People with chronic illnesses, neurological issues, and other health conditions often excrete several abnormal acids in their urine. The causes of the high levels could be high sugar diets, immune deficiencies, infections, oral antibiotics, and genetic factors. The OAT will reveal problems with metabolism, nutrient deficiencies, detoxification pathways, yeast and bacterial overgrowths, neurotransmitters, and much more.

If you have a chronic health condition or want to evaluate your health for the prevention of disease or illness, the OAT is one of the most valuable tests you can perform. It can help identify the underlying causes of various health conditions and give a detailed analysis of your overall health.

This test is different from other food allergy or food sensitivity tests. It's also different from tests that show actual nutrient levels, for example, your magnesium levels. Instead, it shows how your body is breaking down your nutrients through your unique biochemistry. It provides insight into "why" you are deficient, specifically highlighting where genetic variations may not be allowing a nutrient to be 'activated' into its most useful form. 

The test is a simple, non-invasive, at home urine test that gives a great deal of information.

You can view the list of organic acids that are tested via this link:

Organic Acids Analytes 

Is this test for me?

The OAT is one of my favorite tests to recommend for clients. It is one of the most cost-effective tests for an impressive amount of information given. This is a great test to order if you have chronic health issues even though conventional labs test are  considered “normal”. This test is beneficial for children and adults.

This test can be helpful for people with symptoms of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Mood changes
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Dermatitis
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, gas, distention, nausea, and acid reflux 
  • Weight issues
  • Sleep abnormalities
  • Depression
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Wants to measure and track their nutrigenomic expression in real-time


An OAT test is great is you would like to measure and track the following:

  • Functional vitamin and mineral status
  • Amino acid insufficiencies like carnitine and NAC
  • Functional B-complex vitamin need
  • Lipoic acid and CoQ10 status
  • Mitochondrial energy production
  • Markers for bacterial and yeast overgrowth
  • Methylation sufficiency
  • Neurotransmitter metabolites
  • Oxidative damage and antioxidant need
  • Phase I & Phase II detoxification capacity

Tell me more!

The Organic Acid test is one of the best labs for looking at a wide variety of health issues, these include:

  1. Intestinal microbial overgrowth: Markers for yeast and fungi are in the first section of the OAT. Elevation in multiple markers is very significant. Overgrowths of yeast and fungi poison the mitochondria and contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction, stress hormone imbalances, and nutritional malabsorption. Bacteria in the gut produce chemicals that can be measured in your urine. 2-Hydroxyphenylacetic Acid (marker 11), 4 Hydroxybenzoic Acid (marker 12), and 4-Hydroxyhippuric Acid (marker 13) are all markers of intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Elevations in these markers are generally seen with gut dysbiosis and bacterial imbalances. 
  2. Oxalate metabolism: Oxalic acid is one of the most acidic organic acids in bodily fluids. This organic acid is derived primarily from fungus (Aspergillus and Penicillium), Candida, or your metabolism. Excessive consumption of high oxalate foods and deficiencies in vitamin B6 can contribute to elevations in oxalic acid.
  3. Glycolytic Cycle Metabolism: Glycolytic cycle metabolites included in the OAT are lactic acid and pyruvic acid. Glycolysis is the metabolic pathway by which we convert glucose into lactate and pyruvate to form energy. Elevations of lactic acid and/or pyruvic acid can also be caused by many nonspecific factors, such as vigorous exercise, bacterial overgrowth, shock, anemia, mitochondrial dysfunction, or other causes. While high levels can be due to a genetic issue, most often elevations are related to either yeast/fungal or bacterial overgrowth, high oxalate levels, or high oxidative stress. 
  4. Mitochondrial markers (Kreb's cell metabolism): The Krebs cycle (or citric acid cycle) is a series of chemical reactions in the mitochondria, the powerhouses of your cells. It is the process through which your body generates energy. When the Krebs cycle metabolites are elevated, this can indicate mitochondrial energy pathway dysfunction and deficiencies in important vitamins and enzymes needed for optimal mitochondrial health. 
  5. Mitochondrial markers (Amino acid metabolism): The three amino acid metabolites included on the OAT are 3-Methylglutaric acid, 3-Hydroxyglutaric acid, and 3-Methylglutaconic acid. Elevations of these markers is an indication that your GUT is inflamed. Elevated amino acid metabolites with normal glycolytic and Krebs cycle metabolites suggests that the person has difficulty digesting and absorbing protein. 
  6. Neurotransmitter metabolites : Testing neurotransmitter levels is critical for anyone suffering from anxiety, depression, insomnia, ADHD, autism and other neurological disorders. The OAT measures phenylalanine and tyrosine metabolites (HVA and VMA) and tryptophan metabolites (5-HIAA, quinolinic acid, and kynurenic acid).
  7. Pyrimidine Metabolites (Folate metabolism ): The pyrimidine metabolites are markers of folate metabolism. The two markers are uracil and thymine. Folate acts as a methyl donor in converting uracil to thymine. High levels of uracil are found with folate (B9) deficiencies. Elevated Uracil could also indicate MTHFR  genetic variations and methylation problems including high homocysteine. High levels of thymine indicate a deficiency in vitamin B1. Low B1 is common with alcoholics, and for people who are on very high carbohydrate, low-nutrient diet.  Very high levels are associated with inflammatory diseases and cancer.
  8. Ketone & Fatty acid metabolism: The OAT measures eight specific ketones and fatty acid metabolites. These markers show how well the body metabolises fat. Very high levels of fatty acid markers can indicate oxidative stress in the cell.
  9. Nutritional markers: An important aspect of the OAT is the identification of nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies contribute to many mental and physical health issues. The OAT measures byproducts that occur in the body when a nutritional deficiency exists. The nutritional markers include key vitamins and glutathione precursors. B vitamins, Vitamin C, CoQ10, N-Acetylcysteine, and Biotin (vitamin H) are all measured. High values for methylmalonic acid (marker 50) indicate a B12 deficiency, pernicious anemia, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and malabsorption. Other markers for B vitamin levels are pyridoxic Acid (B6), Pantothenic Acid (B5), and glutaric Acid (B2).
  10. Indicators of detoxification : The OAT includes indicators of your body’s ability to detoxify including important markers for glutathione levels. Glutathione is your body’s master antioxidant. It is often deficient in chronic health conditions. Pyroglutamic acid (marker 58) is a metabolite of glutathione.  Elevated levels of this acid indicate a glutathione deficiency, usually because the person is using too much glutathione. Infections, oxidative stress, and environmental toxins can contribute to the depletion of glutathione.
  11. Antioxidant markers: N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a glutathione precursor and chelating agent. This powerful antioxidant increases glutathione levels which help bind to toxic metabolites.  Low levels of NAC indicate low glutathione levels.  Low NAC is common on OATs because the body is converting the NAC to glutathione. It is important to compare pyroglutamic (marker 58) for glutathione to determine if the person is not making enough glutathione (low value) or if they are using up too much of their glutathione (high value)
  12. Mineral metabolism: Phosphoric acid (marker 75) is a marker of vitamin D and calcium. This marker indicates whether vitamin D receptors are activated. If phosphoric acid is low, then the person is likely vitamin D and/or calcium deficient. Low levels can be due to low phosphate consumption, low digestive juice production, or deficiencies in vitamin D, vitamin K2, or magnesium. High levels of phosphoric acid may indicate that the person is supplementing with too much vitamin D
  13. Fluid intake and hydration levels: The OAT includes a urinary creatinine marker which measures fluid intake (how diluted the person’s urine is). If creatinine is high, this is usually high due to dehydration. High creatinine could also be due to creatine supplementation, excessive exercise or an urinary tract infection. A creatinine level of over 300 may be due to kidney dysfunction.


Where can I order this test?

You can order the OAT online from us. You can choose from either the Great Plain Laboratory test or the one offered via Nordic Labs.



You live in an amazing time where you can look deep inside your own biochemistry to see how well your body is working and where you can make more personalised choices to improve your health and prevent disease! 

Marguerite Doig-Gander

Founder of MY DNA CHOICES | BA (Speech, Hearing & Lang Therapy) Hons | FMCHC | ReCODE Coach | Men's Health |  Harvard T.H.Chan Certification in Nutrition | Harvard Medical School Fundamentals in Genetics | Immunology    


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