Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a dysbiosis or a lack of biodiversity of microorganisms in the small intestine, especially in the ileum or lower part of the small intestine. There are 3 common causes: (1) too many pathogenic bacteria (2) too many probiotic species that, in overgrowth, become detrimental to digestion and peristalsis (3) species that moved up from the colon through a poorly functioning ileocecal valve into the small intestine.
Underlying the 3 common causes are: (1) brain-gut toxicity that slows peristalsis (motility) that prevents the movement of bacteria (2) antibiotics that kill the good guys as well as the bad (3) commercial meat and milk products containing antibiotics (4) diabetes that damages nerves that regulate peristalsis (5) overuse of anti-pathogenic herbs that overtime can deplete probiotic species (6) too much refined carbs and sugars (7) low stomach acid allowing the overgrowth of H. Pylori and other species (8) inflammation and hypothyroidism that slows peristalsis (9) Mercury, other heavy metal toxins that disrupt the gastro-intestinal microbiome (10) snacking too much that does not allow digestion to rest (11) Overuse of probiotics (12) overuse of alcoholic beverages (13) genetically modified foods (corn, soy, etc.) that are linked to intestinal inflammation and altering microbiome species (14) hybridized wheat/commercial grains that cause inflammation in some people.
Risk Factors for SIBO include:
· Low stomach acid
· Irritable bowel syndrome
· Celiac disease (long-standing)
· Crohn’s disease
· Prior bowel surgery
· Diabetes mellitus (type I and type II)
· Multiple courses of antibiotics
· Organ system dysfunction, such as liver cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, or renal failure
· Moderate alcohol consumption
· Oral contraceptive pills
The most common symptoms of SIBO include:
· Abdominal pain/discomfort
· Bloating and abdominal distention
· Gas and belching
· In more severe cases, weight loss and symptoms related to vitamin deficiencies.
The Holistic Health plan for overcoming SIBO
- Swift decline and elimination of pathogens or overgrowth species
- Repair leaky gut
- Establish functional peristalsis (brain-gut, thyroid, GI tissue integrity)
- Reestablish a proper immune/microbial relationship (genetic, immunity, diet)
- Reestablish a supportive terrain via an optimal – not restrictive-diet
The SIBO Eating Plan – Avoid list
- Avoid difficult to absorb foods that cause cramping, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea
- Avoid high fiber foods for now as they can feed bacteria.
- Eat less frequently
- Drink lots of pure water
- Stop eating refined carbohydrates. This includes
- Corn syrup (fructose)
- High fructose corn sweetener
- Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol, Sorbitol, Sucralose, lactose (a few exceptions discussed later), lactulose, Aspartame (NutraSweet)
- Pasta, rice, packaged chips and snacks
- U.S. Wheat products, bread and cereals
- U.S. Corn products, bread, tortillas, cereals
- Potatoes, peas, beans, lentils
- Soy in any of its forms
- Tap water
- Commercial salad dressings – make your own!
The SIBO Eating Plan – What to Eat
- Organic vegetables
- Small amounts of sweet potatoes
- Stevia for a sweetener
- Organic wild rice (a seed and not a grain)
- Organic meat and wild game
- Fruit – granny smith apples and blueberries
- European goat/sheep feta, buffalo mozzarella (if you can handle diary)
- Black organic coffee and Herbal tea
- Replace soda with sparling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime or a dash of organic no sugar cranberry or pomegranate concentrate
- Good fats – organic cold pressed coconut, palm, olive, flax, fish, nuts
The key to diet is first and foremost to respect individuality. “One person’s meat is another person’s poison.” Know thyself. You should not expect another person to tell you what is right for you. Listen, feel, evaluate, use right discrimination, and experiment. Decide for yourself. Your body is trying to tell you something by presenting symptoms. Return to Nature’s wholesome whole foods as best you can.
You can overcome SIBO and the Holistic Health therapies lead the way.
Robert A. Schwartz, D.C.
Adapted from Dr. Jack Tips