Q: I was re­cently di­ag­nosed with a di­ges­tive disor­der called SIBO, and was pre­scribed an­tibi­otics. Is there a bet­ter way to treat it?

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - — Pe­tra H., Phoenix By Ja­cob Teit­el­baum, MD

SIBO So­lu­tions Nat­u­ral help for small in­testi­nal bac­te­rial over­growth.


Most heard peo­pleof SIBO, have which never stands for small in­testi­nal bac­te­rial over­growth, but many peo­ple may su er from it. And many of those don’t even know they have it.

SIBO oc­curs when there is sim­ply too much bac­te­ria in your small in­tes­tine. Nor­mally, only small amounts of bac­te­ria should re­side in your small in­tes­tine. In peo­ple with SIBO, how­ever, bac­te­ria from the large in­tes­tine have mi­grated into the small in­tes­tine, made them­selves right at home, and mul­ti­plied. This bac­te­rial over­growth not only causes di­ges­tive dis­tress, but it can also lead to myr­iad health prob­lems.

Of­ten mis­taken for ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome (IBS) be­cause the symp­toms mimic each other, SIBO can be eas­ily di­ag­nosed with a hy­dro­gen breath test from a gas­troen­terol­o­gist. Of­ten, pa­tients with SIBO fi­nally seek help from a doc­tor af­ter years of stom­ach pain and

dis­com­fort, gas and bloat­ing, con­sti­pa­tion, di­ar­rhea, bad breath, and other symp­toms. Peo­ple tend to put off a doc­tor’s visit be­cause they at­tribute these symp­toms to other causes, or have sim­ply be­come used to them and re­gard them as “nor­mal.” When SIBO is elim­i­nated, they’re amazed at how good they feel.

But be­yond the dis­com­fort of liv­ing with this con­di­tion, it is also a ma­jor health con­cern. SIBO in­ter­feres with di­ges­tion and nu­tri­ent ab­sorp­tion. As food passes through the small in­tes­tine, bac­te­ria that shouldn’t be there munch on your meals be­fore food is able to reach your large in­tes­tine.

The bac­te­ria’s fa­vorite nu­tri­ents in­clude vi­ta­min B12 (defi cien­cies of which can lead to nerve dam­age), vi­ta­min D, and vi­ta­min K (de­fi­cien­cies of which can lead to os­teo­poro­sis). When it comes to nu­tri­ent de­fi­cien­cies and po­ten­tial health is­sues as a re­sult of SIBO, the list goes on.

SIBO can also lead to some­thing called leaky gut syn­drome, a con­di­tion in which your in­testines de­velop small tears that al­low bac­te­ria to “leak” into your blood­stream.

This com­monly leads to au­toim­mune diseases and other health is­sues.

What causes SIBO? There are nu­mer­ous po­ten­tial risk fac­tors, rang­ing from chronic stress and anx­i­ety, to long­stand­ing celiac disease, di­a­betes, Crohn’s disease, slow bowel motil­ity, a poorly func­tion­ing ileo­ce­cal valve (the mus­cle that sep­a­rates the large and small in­tes­tine), or sim­ply ex­cess sugar or al­co­hol con­sump­tion.


An­tibi­otics are a rst-line treat­ment; how­ever, pre­scrip­tion an­tibi­otics aren’t a panacea. In about half of SIBO pa­tients, symp­toms re­turn within a year af­ter tak­ing an­tibi­otics.

e new bac­te­ria are com­monly stronger than the ones they re­placed. Herbal an­tibi­otics are

an al­ter­na­tive that have also been shown to be eff ec­tive, and don’t be­come bac­te­ria-re­sis­tant. A few to try: GAR­LIC, OREGANO OIL,

NEEM, and sup­ple­ments con­tain­ing BERBERINE, which in­clude Ore­gon grape, gold­enseal, and bar­berry.


Eat­ing the right foods is also im­por­tant in SIBO. A FODMAP diet is com­monly rec­om­mended, which is low in sugar and carbs (see ib­s­di­ for more in­for­ma­tion and a list of ap­proved foods). In­ci­den­tally, I tell my pa­tients to try elim­i­nat­ing milk and fruc­tose be­fore get­ting tested for SIBO, as in­tol­er­ances of these foods are of­ten a cause of symp­toms that re­sem­ble those of SIBO. This pro­to­col in­cludes not con­sum­ing milk and fruc­tose for 10 days, in­clud­ing elim­i­nat­ing any­thing with sugar such as soda.

Lac­tose-free milk prod­ucts are OK. With lac­tose in­tol­er­ance, most peo­ple can have some milk. They just don’t have the en­zymes to di­gest more than a cer­tain amount, and then it causes gas (not dan­ger­ous— just a nui­sance). Tak­ing the miss­ing en­zyme (lac­tase) as a sup­ple­ment may al­low you to tol­er­ate more dairy prod­ucts.


MAG­NE­SIUM: If con­sti­pa­tion is a pre­dom­i­nant SIBO symp­tom, in­crease fiber and wa­ter, and take 200–300 mg of mag­ne­sium a day.

PEP­PER­MINT OIL CAPS: For gas pains, be­gin with en­teric-

coated pep­per­mint oil caps (e.g., Pep­per­mint Plus by Enzy­matic Ther­apy), which eases the cramps.

A GOOD MULTIVITAMIN: Tak­ing a broad-spec­trum multivitamin that con­tains a full spec­trum of B vi­ta­mins can help to make up for many nu­tri­tional de­fi­cien­cies.

PRO­BI­OTICS: Take an en­teric-coated pro­bi­otic to sup­port healthy bowel func­tion. Al­though it may seem coun­ter­in­tu­itive to add more bac­te­ria (even the “good” kind) to an al­ready over­crowded sys­tem, re­search shows they are help­ful for many peo­ple. Be­gin with a high-po­tency pro­bi­otic (50 billion CFUs, which stands for “colony form­ing bac­te­ria”) once per day for one month. For main­te­nance, take a daily pro­biotc sup­ple­ment con­tain­ing 1 billion CFUs.


SIBO-like symp­toms may have other causes. For ex­am­ple, con­sti­pa­tion may be caused by can­dida (yeast over­growth), low thy­roid, or in­ad­e­quate

fiber and wa­ter in­take. I also rec­om­mend test­ing for and treat­ing any food al­ler­gies.

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