What is SIBO? The Symptoms, Testing, and Natural Support Options.
Get relief from bacterial overgrowth with effective herbs, nutrients, and diet.
Your large intestine (colon or large bowel) is about 5 feet long and about 3 inches in diameter. It is the home of billions of bacteria that help complete digestion. This phase of digestion lasts for about 33 hours before you have a bowel movement.Too many undigested carbohydrates can cause an overgrowth of bacteria into the small intestine (where bacteria do not belong). This can cause nutrient malabsorption and digestive symptoms. When this happens, you may start to experience wide-ranging disease patterns such as IBS/IBD, chronic fatigue syndrome, Celiac Disease and fibromyalgia. More than 50 associated diseases overlap with SIBO!
- Do you have episodic joint pain and your muscles hurt all day long?
- Do you feel better on antibiotics and/or suspect that you have a stealth pathogen like Lyme’s disease?
- Do you remember the last time you had a “normal” bowel movement and are convinced that certain kinds of foods like gluten and dairy have ruined digestive system?
- Do you have chronic constipation and feel that it takes you longer than others to have a bowel movement?
- Did removing carbohydrates make you feel better for a spell, but then to reach that same great feeling, you need an even more restrictive diet?
- Do you have lots of unresolved gas?
Do you have SIBO and have been wrongly diagnosed?
Because of the wide-ranging symptom patterns, SIBO is being wrongly diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, food intolerances, estrogen dominance, fibromyalgia, IBS, and Lyme’s Disease. Many times, symptoms are seen after antibiotics or abdominal surgery.
- Fibromyalgia 93%
- Crohn’s disease up to 88%
- Ulcerative Colitis 81%
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 81%
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome up to 78%
- Gastrectomy 63-78%
- Hypochlorhydria (drug-induced) up to 78%
- Celiac disease up to 67%
- Connect Tissue Disease (e.g. Scleroderma) 43-55%
- Hypothyroidism 54%
- Rosacea 46%
- Diabetes Type II up to 44%
- Obesity up to 41%
Why do Bacteria Overgrow into the Small Intestine?
There are two simple reasons why bacteria typically bloom (overgrow):
- Poorly Digested Food. Too much undigested food that is not digested by acids and enzymes will become “bug food”. The SIBO variety will especially love the undigested carbs.
- Antibiotics. Your microbiome should have diverse colonies of bacteria that balance each other out. Antibiotics can destroy both good and bad bacteria, causing certain bacterial strains to be able to overgrow and “crowd out” other strains. This is seen by low diversity of bacteria as seen by a common stool test. It has been shown that antibiotics alone can cause SIBO, especially with Clostridium dificille infection (CDI).
According to Bradley Bush, ND Medical Director of Neurovanna, “SIBO is not a single, but a grouping of various large intestinal bacteria species including E. coli and Klebsiella. These gut bacteria are not normally exposed to carbohydrates and sugars which are plentiful in the small intestines. Sugars and carbohydrates act like a fertilizer and make SIBO very active.”
“Gut bacteria are not normally exposed to carbohydrates and sugars which are plentiful in the small intestines. Sugars and carbohydrates act like a fertilizer and make SIBO very active.”
He goes on to say, “Not only do they continue growing, they also displace your normal small intestinal flora. SIBO also releases a number of chemicals and gasses that are not normally found in the small intestines and include hydrogen gas, methane gas and ammonia. Unlike the large intestine, the small intestines normally have a small number of bacteria and if they become overgrown, these organisms will use up the nutrients that would otherwise be absorbed into the body.”
- Escherichia coli
Use Caution When Using Antibiotic Treatments!
Antibiotics are a two-edged sword. If you find that after an antibiotic treatment, you're SIBO returns, you may want to consider our SIBO supplement and herbal plan.
Why use caution?
- Increased risk of Clostridium dificille infection (CDI) when using antibiotic treatments.
- IBD patients are at an increased risk.
- May result in a rebound effect on gut bacteria.
- Post antibiotic treatment resulted in a dramatic increase in concentrations of mucosal bacteria.
- IBD in children is associated with antibiotic usage.
- Antibiotic resistance is becoming more common and bad for the health of your community.
- Antibiotics for SIBO are very expensive and are not as effective as herbal approaches.
What is the Natural Herbal and Supplement Treatment for SIBO?
Protocols are typically administered for a minimum of 90-days to reduce the bacterial overgrowth, create a healthy pH of the small and large intestines, reduce inflammation and repopulate healthy bacterial strains. It is recommended that you retest after the 90-days before doing another cycle to see if you are headed in the right track.
Our clinic recommends “Weed and Feed” cycles with herbs and nutrients that:
- Have Antibiotic Properties Target “Stealth Pathogens”
- Improve Short-Term Motility (constipation)
- Reduce Methane and Hydrogen Gases
- Improve B12 and Fat-Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E and K)
- Inoculate Beneficial Bacteria
General Dietary Considerations
A combination of the Microbiome Balance Plan with Low Carbohydrate Diet may be used during the 90-day program.
- REDUCE sugar, refined and fermentable carbohydrates (see SCD Diet), and red meat.
- REMOVE mucosal irritants such as alcohol, coffee, GMO foods, cow’s dairy, gluten, unsprouted grains, NSAIDS and trans fats.
- INCREASE bone broth, raw cultured dairy, fermented vegetables, cooked/steamed/roasted vegetables, coconut products and sprouted seeds. For non-responsive cases, Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the low FODMAP diet can be recommended for the short-term.
Choose the Right Supplement Plan!
We have a variety of plans to choose from based on your health goals for digestion.View Our Supplement Plans
- Chedid, Victor et al. “Herbal Therapy Is Equivalent to Rifaximin for the Treatment of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.” Global Advances in Health and Medicine3 (2014): 16–24. PMC. Web. 29 Mar. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4030608/pdf/gahmj.2014.019.pdf
- Duda-Chodak A., Tarko T., Statek M., 2008. The effect of antioxidants on Lactobacillus casei cultures. Acta Sci. Pol., Technol. Aliment. 7(4), 39-51.
- Enko D1, Kriegshäuser G, Kimbacher C, Stolba R, Mangge H, Halwachs-Baumann G. Carbohydrate Malabsorption and Putative Carbohydrate-Specific Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth: Prevalence and Diagnostic Overlap Observed in an Austrian Outpatient Center. Digestion. 2015;92(1):32-8. doi: 10.1159/000430981. Epub 2015 Jun 25.
- Bala L1, Ghoshal UC, Ghoshal U, Tripathi P, Misra A, Gowda GA, Khetrapal CL. Malabsorption syndrome with and without small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: a study on upper-gut aspirate using 1H NMR spectroscopy. Magn Reson Med. 2006 Oct;56(4):738-44.
- Grace E. Shaw C, Whelan K, Andreyev HJ. Review article: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth–prevalence, clinical features, current and developing diagnostic tests, and treatment. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Oct;38(7):674-88.
- Hviid A, Svanström H, Frisch M. Antibiotic use and inflammatory bowel diseases in childhood. Gut. 2011 Jan;60(1):49-54
- Swidsinski A, Loening-Baucke V, Bengmark S, Scholze J, Doerffel Y. Bacterial biofilm suppression with antibiotics for ulcerative and indeterminate colitis:consequences of aggressive treatment. Arch Med Res. 2008 Feb;39(2):198-204.
- Nitzan O, Elias M, Chazan B, Raz R, Saliba W. Clostridium difficile and inflammatory bowel disease: role in pathogenesis and implications in treatment. World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Nov 21;19(43):7577-85.
- Dukowicz AC, Lacy BE, Levine GM. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: a comprehensive review. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2007 Feb;3(2):112-22.
- Swidsinski A, Loening-Baucke V, Bengmark S, Scholze J, Doerffel Y. Bacterial biofilm suppression with antibiotics for ulcerative and indeterminate colitis: consequences of aggressive treatment. Arch Med Res. 2008 Feb;39(2):198-204.
- World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Nov 21;19(43):7577-85.
- Hviid A, Svanström H, Frisch M. Antibiotic use and inflammatory bowel diseases in childhood. Gut. 2011 Jan;60(1):49-54.
- Butler T. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2017; 96(1): 46-52
- Pound MW, May DB. J Clin Pharm Ther 2005; 30(3):291-295
- Roland BC1, Ciarleglio MM, Clarke JO, Semler JR, Tomakin E, Mullin GE, Pasricha PJ. Small Intestinal Transit Time Is Delayed in Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2015 Aug;49(7):571-6. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000257.