So many people suffer from gut issues due to poor diet, stress, and medications. Issues range from IBS and Leaky Gut to Crohn’s Disease. There is one more condition that commonly goes undiagnosed: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth [SIBO].
Most gut bacteria are meant to live in the large intestine, not the small intestine.
In the large intestine, gut bacteria help break down food, synthesize vitamins, and eliminate waste. Certain factors such as poor diet or medications can tip bacteria levels out of balance. When this occurs, the bacteria normally found in the large intestine and colon overgrow and colonize in your small intestine.
WHAT IS SIBO?
SIBO is a common gastrointestinal disorder linked to maldigestion, malabsorption, and dysmotility in the small bowel. SIBO is characterized by an overabundance of colonic bacteria in the small intestine. While it is estimated that SIBO affects millions of individuals in the United States, it wasn’t until recent advancements in less invasive diagnostic tools that medical professionals have been able to diagnose and treat SIBO with more precision and accuracy.
SIBO commonly presents with abdominal distension, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and gas. It frequently overlaps with other gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, IBD, Type 2 Diabetes, H. pylori infections, and restless leg syndrome. Currently, SIBO is classified into three categories depending on symptomology and diagnostic data. Hydrogen-dominant, methane-dominant, and hydrogen sulfide dominate. Treatment approaches vary depending on the classification, but core tenets to correcting the bacterial infection share similar foundational approaches. Here, we discuss our SIBO protocol. Due to the high relapse in SIBO, this condition may warrant further exploration in our GERD, IBS, IBD, or H. pylori protocols.
Symptoms of SIBO
- Loss of Appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling full after eating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Unintentional weight loss
- Pale-colored stool that has a foul odor
- Reflux. The prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors for reflux symptoms makes the stomach less acidic and lets bacteria through to the small intestine.
Causes of SIBO
Many things can lead to SIBO and increase the likelihood that you will suffer ongoing symptoms. They include:
Stress can lead to the growth of bacteria, including the wrong bacteria in the small intestine. Stress also causes a leaky gut and which leads to malabsorption of nutrients. The lack of nutrients and imbalance in the gut will further exacerbate SIBO symptoms.
The Spike Protein
Spike Protein turns on the gene responsible for histamine reactions, which can be associated with SIBO.
Oftentimes SIBO is a result of coming off of antibiotics where all of the good and bad bacteria have been killed off, leading to a risky environment for the wrong bacteria to take over.
These could actually feed the wrong bacteria making SIBO worse.
Sulfur foods can disrupt the detoxification pathways, inhibit hormones like dopamine and serotonin production in the gut, and cause motility issues in the intestine, leading to SIBO.
These are high in histamine in addition to feeding the wrong bacteria in the Small Intestine. This could not only not help SIBO but actually make matters worse.
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
People with IBS are more likely to have SIBO. As you overcome SIBO, you must address the IBS condition as well.
WHAT IS THE SIBO TEST
Diagnosing SIBO involves a simple breath test that can be done at home. After drinking a sugar solution and blowing air into a series of test tubes over a few hours, the gas is analyzed for hydrogen and methane levels. High levels indicate SIBO is present.
Foods & Supplements to Eliminate SIBO
THE SIBO DIET
Considering SIBO is a bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine, foods that aggravate the digestive tract or encourage the growth of the wrong bacteria need to be avoided.
Eliminate Fermented Foods. Fermented foods are considered “healthy” foods for the gut microbiome; however, these foods can backfire if you have SIBO by causing an overgrowth of those bad bacteria.
Eliminate Oxalates. Oxalates include kale, spinach, almonds, most nuts, and chocolate. Eating oxalates cause leaky gut, and imbalance in the bacteria in the gut, and makes SIBO symptoms worse. Further, the Spike Protein makes oxalates and increases the oxalate burden in the body which trips up the detox pathways even more. Because of this, you need to lower the oxalate burden on the system as much as possible.
Eliminate Sulfur. This includes glutathione and supplements that contain sulfur as well as the foods like egg yolk, onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, and kale. Sulfur can make SIBO symptoms worse, trip up the detoxification pathways, and lead to neurological issues as well.
Eliminate FODMAP Foods. FODMAP stands for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These foods include:
- Lentils beans
- Wheat or rye
- Natural and artificial sweeteners including agave syrup, xylitol, sorbitol, and high fructose corn syrup
- Sulfur vegetables
- Fruits like apples, pears, peaches, plums, and apricots
- Dried fruit and fruit juices
- Prebiotic fiber (it will feed the bad bacteria)
Eat Wild Animal Protein. Focusing on wild animal protein like bison, lamb, deer, elk, and wild salmon will not only minimize SIBO but will also provide the most nutrient density of food available to support the brain and body. Abstain from proteins such as chicken and conventional beef as the amyloid proteins in them can’t be broken down into usable amino acids. This encourages the proliferation of gut pathogens and can make SIBO worse.
Eat Some Vegetables with Caution. Some of the vegetables that are ok for SIBO, may have SULFUR or OXALATES that could cause other issues. Veggies that are typically ok include asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers. Also, starchy veggies like potatoes, yams, and parsnips are also ok for SIBO but keep the portion size small if you are trying to stick to a low-carb diet.
SUPPLEMENTS TO ELIMINATE SIBO
Bacillus subtilis HU58 is a spore-based probiotic. B. subtilis is known to secrete a wide range of natural antibiotics that target common pathogenic organisms including those involved with SIBO. Regarding SIBO, some of the most detected organisms during a small bowel aspirate include, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterococcus. Studies have demonstrated B. subtilis’ ability to combat these organisms and also bacteria like S. aureus, S. pyogenes, and Candida.
Directions: Start with 1 capsule every day for one week and increase to 2 capsules everyday week 2.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is known to cause dysmotility in the upper portions of the small intestine. This is a hallmark feature of SIBO. IgG2000 binds and neutralizes a wide array of bacterial endotoxins, like LPS.
Directions: Take 1 gram with each meal for one week. Increase to 2 grams per meal week two.
MegaGuard is an herbal digestive blend designed to support the upper portions of the gastrointestinal tract. A common culprit for SIBO is defects in pancreaticobiliary secretions. Cynaropicrin is a bitter compound found in artichoke leaf extract that has been shown to support biliary flow that helps clear unwanted microbes from the small intestine. Concentrated gingerols improve gastric emptying and motility by inhibiting cholinergic M3 and serotonergic 5-HT3 receptors in the gut. Additionally, gingerols have been shown to inhibit gas production from archaea, which is the organism responsible for methane production in the gut.
Directions: Take 1 capsule prior to each meal for one week. Increase to 2 capsules prior to each meal. Note: For Hydrogen dominant SIBO, MegaGuard may increase stool frequency.
Antibiotics are a common treatment for SIBO patients. The detrimental effects of antibiotics include wiping out all of the good bacteria in addition to the “bad” bacteria. Saccharomyces boulardii in RestorFlora is a commensal yeast able to survive antibiotic therapy and combat the negative side effects of antibiotics.
Directions: Take 1 capsule once a day.
In some cases, SIBO can be accompanied by small intestinal fungal overgrowth (SIFO). The use of undecylenic acid in MegaMycoBalance successfully inhibits the formation of germ tubes (hyphae) and restricts the growth of Candida.
Directions: Take 1 soft gel daily with or without a meal for 5 days. Increase by 1 soft gel every few days to reach the full dose of 6 soft gels per day. Continue until symptoms subside.
Accelerated Keto™ and Intermittent Fasting
Accelerated Keto™ flips you into fat burning within 30 minutes which gives you great physical and mental energy while suppressing your appetite. As a result, you are able to intermittently fast, which allows your body to rebalance the gut bacteria and fight SIBO. Make sure you break your fast with the right foods like wild animal protein; the first foods consumed dictate how the gut will populate with the proper bacteria.
Directions: Take 3-4 Capsules in the morning on an empty stomach. Intermittent fast until you are hungry. For best results, break the fast with protein meal to increase fat burning.
Laxa Comfort helps with the constipation symptoms associated with SIBO. It stimulates bowel movements safely within 6 to 8 hours.
Directions: Start with 1 capsule before bed or with the Accelerated Detox Powder. Increase dosage until you have 2-3 bowel movements a day.
Oxy Clear is an alternative for constipation issues and gently and consistently helps the bowels move. Oxy-Clear Digestive Cleanse Support provides digestive and detox support while helping proper bowel function. Oxy-Clear provides gentle natural bowel relief for those who struggle with constipation associated with SIBO.
Directions: Start with 2 capsules and increase the dose until you achieve 2-3 bowel movements a day.
Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.