How to Heal SIBO

In my practice, emphasis is on healing the gut first. I’ve found that until the gut is in balance, one cannot entirely be well. The value of a balanced gut in preventing illness and disease and keeping you healthy has only further been solidified by recent research. Yet, gut imbalances, digestive issues, bacterial, viral and fungal overgrowth are buzzwords in my practice and in the wellness community.

I rarely meet a client who isn’t affected by digestive issues and with the profound influence our gut health has on the body and the amount of people suffering from digestive diseases, this is frightening to me.

As of late, SIBO or small intestine bacterial overgrowth has become a chronic issue with a significant number of diagnoses. This is when you have bacteria that are supposed to live in the colon (aka the large intestine) trapped in the small intestine. It’s normal to have bacteria in your small intestine, but in SIBO two things happen: You have more bacteria and you have bacteria that would normally be found in the colon. The small intestine begins to function a lot like a colon.

SIBO is usually caused by a movement problem in the small intestine. Every two hours, your small bowel initiates something called a ‘housekeeper wave,’ which sweeps through the small bowel and dumps everything, including excessive amounts of bacteria, residual food, digestive enzymes, and bowel secretions. But if something impairs the wave, the small intestine can’t expel the bacteria.

If you’re dealing with more than your fair share of the following issues, you too may be a part of the overwhelming digestive epidemic taking place and be experiencing many of the symptoms:

Gas

Bloating

IBS

Diarrhea or constipation

Food intolerances

Vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies

Chronic illness (chronic fatigue, autoimmune disease, diabetes)

Abdominal Pain

More ways you can become susceptible to getting SIBO:

  • A diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol will feed certain strains of bacteria and lead to gas and bloating in the process.
  • Medications, including antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills, thyroid medication and over-the-counter medications (i.e. Tylenol, Advil, etc.) can interrupt the balance of gut flora.
  • Damage to the muscles or nerves in the digestive system can result in leftover bacteria.
  • Scarring in the gut from surgery or Crohn’s can cause bacteria buildup.
  • A virus can produce toxins that can damage the lining of the small intestines and prevent your body from absorbing nutrients.
  • If you have a diverticulitis diagnosis, when pouches form in the intestinal walls, these can also collect bacteria.
  • You can even get SIBO after a bout of food poisoning.

How to treat?

On the surface, the quick fix solution for most in the medical field is to treat SIBO with antibiotics. That does seem logical, as SIBO is bacterial overgrowth and antibiotics kill bacteria. You can understandably think this would eliminate the problem and there are cases where antibiotics are needed. A successful treatment would eliminate the problem, but unfortunately, antibiotics can be a “shotgun” approach to treating. Antibiotics kill not only the bad bacteria, but the good too and this can lead to another type of infection. Long-term, antibiotics aren’t the answer and overuse created resistant strains of bacteria, side effects, and can sometimes lead to allergic reactions.

If you’re up for a comprehensive solution, controlling SIBO will require commitment to a healthier lifestyle and relatively simple lifestyle changes.

The standard protocol that I share with my SIBO clients requires a 14 day commitment

  • Avoid added sugars, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, gluten, corn, processed foods and GMO. These foods can feed pathogens, and cause greater issues with many intestinal conditions.
  • When you wake up, drink a minimum of 16 ozs. of water with lemon (lemon helps lower pathogen loads). Make sure to stay very hydrated throughout the day.
  • Another way to lower pathogen loads is to drink fresh organic celery juice for a two-week period on an empty stomach. (start with 6 ozs. and slowly add 2 ozs. per day until you get to 12 – 16 ozs. This doesn’t work for everyone! If your stomach doesn’t feel well drinking straight celery, try organic cucumber juice instead).
  • Take a strong probiotic daily before bed so it doesn’t interfere with anti-viral, antibiotic and antifungal supplements you are taking in the morning. I like Visbiome and Mega Sporebiotics to help replenish your beneficial gut flora.

Take the following supplements in the morning preferably on an empty stomach:

  • Nutribiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract  – A natural antibiotic, grapefruit extract helps to prevent harmful bacteria from over growing in the gut without lowering levels of healthy flora too much. Buy empty veggie capsules and fill them with the grapefruit seed extract liquid or take 30 – 40 drops in a small amount of water and shoot it.
  • Thorne BerberineAnother herbal antibiotic and antimicrobial that helps to balance bacterial levels in the gut and maintain healthy digestive, 3 capsules daily preferably before every meal throughout the day for a total of 1,500 mg.
  • Gaia Oregano Oil – A natural antioxidant source, oil of oregano contains phytochemicals which support the body’s resistance to bacteria and contains polyphenols that support a healthy microbial environment and a healthy immune response, 2 capsules daily.
  • Pure Encapsulations GarliActiveDelivers allicin to the stomach and small intestines to help control bacterial levels in the gut without irritation that many experience with eating garlic, 1 capsule.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional before starting any treatment. For nutritional session with me, please email info@elissagoodman.com