Updated: Sep 21
If you have been dealing with on and off diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, bloating or gas you might have SIBO! SIBO stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Bacteria that normally grows in the Colon can start to creep up and grow in the small intestine causing all sort of problems including malnutrition. The cause of SIBO is not fully understood, but modern medicine thinks that is related to Celiac disease, Crohn’s, Irritable bowel disease, viral infection, gastric surgeries that cause scar tissues, not emptying the bowels fully and fecal matter remaining stack in the intestinal wall causing rotting of foods, Cirrhosis of the liver, Gallbladder changes, parasites, hypothyroid conditions, aging, fatty stools (steatorrhea), B12 deficiency, anemia. The two processes that most commonly predispose to bacterial overgrowth are diminished gastric acid secretion (hCL) and small intestine dys-motility this comes with aging. The overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine is characterized by Gram-positive bacteria. Gram-positive bacteria have outer ring of peptidoglycan in outer cell wall and no outer lipid membrane . Gram-positive bacteria include strep, staph, anthrax and diphtheria. SIBO is also marked with over production of methane and hydrogen gasses. These gasses can cause serious malabsorption of nutrients and fats causing the patient to fail to thrive. If the patient present with frequent constipation, is more likely that they have and overgrowth of bacteria that produces methane gasses and if there is more diarrhea present is more likely that the patient will have an overgrowth of hydrogen gas producing bacteria. The food present in the small intestine will rot much faster in the presences of these gram-positive bacteria as they thrive in anoxia or hypoxic conditions in other words in the presences of low or no oxygen. . The bacteria will ferment the food very quickly preventing proper absorption of nutrients, fats and carbohydrates as it metabolizes bile salts to unconjugated or insoluble compounds or bile acid diarrhea. There are two test available in the market that a patient can obtain through their physician. One involves a highly skill surgeon to insert a biopsy instrument in the esophagus to take a culture and therefore is not recommended as the risk outweigh the benefits. The other is a breath test called Lactulose breath test. Is a noninvasive test that involves the patient consuming Lactulose a synthetic Disaccharide made by VistaPharm. Disaccharides are poorly absorbed in the gastro intestinal tract of humans. The lactulose will make it unchanged into the distal end of the small intestine. Making detection of bacterial over growth possible. The correct treatment for SIBO should involve finding the root cause, nutritional counseling and treating overgrowth of bacteria. Conventional treatment for over growth of bacteria involves conventional antibiotics. These are some time controversial, because sometimes the antibiotics make the condition worse. Antibiotics used are: Rifamaxin 400 mg for 10 days tid, Ciproflaxin, Tetracycline, Amoxicillin/Cluvonalate and many more. The antibiotics unfortunately also have many side effects that can bring complications to the treatment. Natural treatments for anti-bacterial herbals are: Nigella Sativa, oregano herbs, thyme, marjoram, CBD oil to calm inflammation, Megaspore, this spore probiotic has shown clinically that it can put SIBO in remission, essential amino acids, vitamin c, zinc, B12, B6. If you are suffering from pain and not thriving, ask your physician for the breath test for SIBO. Change your diet to an SCD diet** (Specific Carbohydrate diet). The SCD diet was created and tested over 50 years by Dr.Haas and biochemist Elaine Gottschall. Elaine Gottschall wrote a book called “Breaking the vicious Cycle” about treating intestinal issues and the diet called SCD. This book was the result of her 4-year-old becoming very ill with ulcerative colitis that would bleed. The SCD diet has many wholesome foods that has allowed many people to heal. Part of the mal absorption happens because patients are not able to break down sugars and starches. The only sugar allow in the SCD diet is honey as it is a monosaccharide.* Starches, and mucilaginous foods are not allowed either. You will also have to prepare more your foods to speed your healing process. Remember bio-individuality when selecting treatments and foods. Probiotics might help.
In addition, you may want to support digestion with HCL (hydrochloric acid). I like Premier Research Labs supplements. *Monosaccharides are single bond sugars that are absorbed by the body immediately without any conversion. ** SCD diet is also helpful for children with Autism as many of them have problems with overgrowth of intestinal bacteria. If you need help with food ideas and more information reach out to your physician or work with a health coach. Hippocrates said "Let your food be thy medicine and thy medicine your food" This blog is for educational purpose and not intended to diagnose or cure disease. Please reach out to your MD for guidance and diagnose.