I’ve had three people write to me asking about SIBO in the past week. SIBO is the new candida. Everyone is talking about it. Everyone is being diagnosed with it. Years ago, I was diagnosed with it. Let me tell you about that and then give you some suggestions that may help alleviate the symptoms or even kick SIBO to the curb!
What is SIBO?
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Basically, too many pathogenic bacteria have taken up residence in the small intestine, causing inflammation and symptoms.
Symptoms of SIBO
- Gas (this can often take form of trapped gas that just sits there and can cause bloating, distention and downright pain) – too much gas can inhibit digestion and cause constipation
- Food intolerance or allergy symptoms
- Intestinal cramping
- Irritability or anger
- Hungry/full feeling
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fat malabsorption that may present as gallbladder pain or attacks
What to Do?
First and foremost, I AM NOT A FAN OF XIFAXAN (rifaximin). This is the antibiotic that is only supposed to work in the intestines and not have a full-body effect. It’s pricey — about $1000 for a 2-week supply. And if you do a little Googling, you will see many people felt it didn’t do the job. They went back for a second round. It didn’t do the job. Third round, things get worse. Lo and behold, we are now dealing with bacterial resistance…the bugs have now become stronger than the antibiotic. This is a vicious circle. I think something more natural, like a small intestine-healing diet and Berberine are better options (see below).
Consider Thorne Berberine Instead
Berberine is an all natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial that is a constituent of several plants, such as goldenseal. It has a positive effect on many systems in the body. It was once used as a natural candida remedy and is now being used successfully with SIBO (also for anti-inflammatory, lowering triglycerides and weight loss). Experts are recommending 3 capsules of Thorne Berberine per day…however, go SLOWLY.
Start with one capsule and see how you do. Then build from there once you are sure you are tolerating it.
Drop All Probiotics with FOS (Fructooligosaccharides)
FOS is hard on the small intestine and can make gas problems worse. Probiotics that are pure powder with no fillers are typically tolerated best. CustomProbiotics.com has a variety of strains. The D-Lactic Acid Free might be most tolerated at first. GutPro by Organic 3 is also a good option.
Use the Probiotic L. Casei
If you have trapped gas or any type of gas issues, L. casei goes in and eats up the gas. This is especially helpful if you are in pain or have cramping from trapped gas. CustomProbiotics.com has a single strain L. casei powder that works very well.
Go on a Paleo, GAPS or SCD Diet
These are nutrition protocols that get rid of grains and starch. Grains and starch are hardest for the small intestine to digest. Removing them until you heal from SIBO symptoms will feel like a huge relief and help with small intestine digestion and motility! More tips.
Get Acupuncture for Small Intestine Motility
A knowledgeable acupuncturist can help with regular and auricular acupuncture to help keep things moving in your intestines!
Have Your Mineral Status Checked
I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH! Turns out, mineral imbalances can cause all kinds of gut issues that seem to mimic candida, SIBO, parasites, IBS and more. One reason is that mineral imbalances create a perfect storm for pathogens in the gut. Mineral imbalances also make certain foods, like gluten, fructose and starches, more challenging on the body for a variety of reasons. My theory is if you fix the minerals, you don’t have to go bug hunting, bug killing and bug cleansing.
Fix the minerals and focus on a small-intestine healing diet and you are going a long way towards healing. You can get a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and consult (test by mail, consult by phone) with Morley Robbins. I will have Morley on my Hay House Radio show in April, so if you’re not sure, please tune in and learn more. My favorite wide-based liquid mineral supplement is Anderson’s Sea MD. ConcenTrace is also a good brand.
Maybe You Don’t Have SIBO
If none of the above work, consider going off of high thiol vegetables. You may not really have SIBO, you may have a gene mutation called CBS that is expressing symptoms. The symptoms are SIBO, candida and parasite-like. All of the above supports healing from CBS, along with getting rid of high thiol foods and focusing on low thiol foods.
Experts like Alison Siebecker and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride will say you may need to go off vegetables completely for awhile. My suggestion is to try cooked vegetables first and if that doesn’t work, go low thiol. If that doesn’t work, then go off vegetables and see how you feel.
- Reduce stress… this is important.
- You may need other supplements, like B vitamins (methylcobolamin and adenosylcobalamin in sublingual form, like Seeking Health Active B12), methyl folate in the form of 5-mthf (NEVER folic acid), B6 (in the form of P5P), biotin (which helps kill candida).