SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) occurs when coliform gut bacteria in the colon migrates into the small intestine. The small intestine has very low quantity of bacteria, unlike the colon which functions best with a thriving and diverse microbiome. The small intestine’s primary function is digestion and absorption, not fermentation. When the small intestine is invaded with bacteria that begins to multiply, it becomes an environment where carbohydrates are rapidly fermented before they are properly broken down, resulting in the release of large quantities of fermentation gases that leads to GERD, bloating, and/or a change in the frequency and consistency of the bowels.
If SIBO is left untreated it can lead to other conditions such as IBS, leaky gut, obesity, acne, anemia, fatigue and an increase of symptoms in gut-brain disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, depression and autism.
Three Natural Protective Mechanisms of the Human Body
- Gastric Acid (the use of proton-pump inhibitors decreases acid production)
- Bile Acid (gallbladder)
-Pancreatic Enzyme Activity
- Ileocecal Valve (protects the small intestines from the colon)
- Small Intestinal Motility (facilitates digestion and absorption)
What Causes SIBO?
- low stomach acid
- medications such as proton-pump inhibitors (inhibit gastric acid secretions)
- irritable bowel syndrome
- celiac diseasse
- chron's disease
- prior bowel surgery
- diabetes (type I and II)
- multiple courses of antibiotics
- organ system dysfunction, such as liver cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, or renal failure
Tips to Prevent Recurrence
- Manage your stress with relaxation techniques such as yoga, massage and mediation. A long walk or a warm bath, regularly scheduled can work wonders.
- Starting the day with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water to raise stomach PH levels
- Eat a reduced-carbohydrate diet and avoid sugars, junk food and starches
- Dialy use of probiotics and prebiotics
Clear the stomach between meals and don't eat late night
Testing for SIBO can include:
1. A comprehensive stool analysis
2. Breath test (measures fermentation gases released via the lungs
3. Organic acids in the urine (marker for SIBO)
Antibiotics: Many SIBO patients use antibiotics to clear the bacteria. Treating SIBO through diet alone can be a long and tedious process that leaves little room for error. However, once the bacteria has been eradicated, eating a healthy diet is an important part of preventing a recurrence.
Complimentary Therapies: Often a combination of treatments is recommended. These can augment an existing treatment plan.
- Immunoglobulin G (IgG) which is found in colostrum
- Probiotics and Prebiotics
- Digestive Enzymes
*While great care has been taken in organizing and presenting the material throughout this website, please note that it is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as Medical Advice.
*Always consult with your healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking or stopping any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have any health problem.