Many people do not know that a great percentage of the American population struggles with gastrointestinal symptoms and distress every year. Researchers have diagnosed a wide range of people suffering from a leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s, and celiac disease. However, scientists haven’t yet been able to establish the reason behind the development of the digestive system’s complications.
What Is SIBO? | Understanding the Digestive Disorder
In this article:
- The Discovery Of SIBO
- Defining SIBO
- SIBO Symptoms
- What Causes SIBO And Its Risk Factors
- Complications Closely Linked With SIBO
- Treatment For SIBO
- An Outlook At The Diet For Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
- Top Secrets Of The Kinds Of Foods To Forget About During Phase 1
- Great Foods You Are Permitted To Enjoy During Phase 1
- Phase 2 – GAPS Diet
- The SIBO Supplements
- Essential Top Oils For SIBO
The Discovery Of SIBO
A short while back, researchers were presented with a new revelation. They are now coming to terms with the reality that there is, indeed, another digestive disorder lurking. That is the ileum bacterial overgrowth or SIBO by another name.
Of course in the past, it was believed to have taken root, but recent developments insinuate something else. The condition has been discovered to be more prevalent than was presumed before. Scientists have also gone ahead to reveal that it actually occurs in people struggling with the IBS condition among some other underlying states as a matter of fact.
SIBO is an acronym for “small intestinal bacterial overgrowth,” and it refers to the accumulation of intense bacteria in the ileum. Of course, the presence of bacteria in the gut is something very normal; no one can dispute that.
However, excess bacteria in the small intestines may spell something more serious and will require great attention. A healthy system needs to be characterized by relatively lower levels of bacteria in the small intestines, but it is perfectly good when the concentration is higher in the colon.
The ileum happens to be the single longest section of the human digestive tract. It is the exact section where food actually intermingles with the digestive juices, and by the end, the bloodstream gets to benefit from the nutrients.
A proper human body balance witnesses the striking of a perfect balance between body absorbing the essential nutrients and the bacterium’s capacity to park the colon into the digesting of foods.
However, when the bacterial invasion takes over the small intestines, it poses issues with nutrient absorption, resulting in a condition where there develops poor nutrient absorption. These symptoms are closely linked with IBS and may even lead to more serious issues, damage to the stomach lining being one of them.
A person struggling with SIBO has to put up with so much discomfort and frustration. As food finds its way through the ileum, the bacterial overgrowth interferes with the healthy digestive system as well as with the absorption process.
As a matter of fact, the bacterium associated with SIBO moves ahead to consume some of the nutrients not forgetting the foods. Consequently, it culminates into some undesirable symptoms which include gas, pain, and bloating.
Even during some of those instances when health providers are making efforts to try and face out the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with antibiotics, there is usually the occurrence of a high relapse rate. There is no cause for alarm considering that the condition can, as a matter of fact, be cured!
However, there is a need for the patient to showcase high levels of patience and perseverance and also to accommodate some dietary changes. Indeed, the treatment of SIBO requires the intake of a healthy diet, and one has to move ahead to avoid a number of foods until that moment when the gut flora will achieve its balance once again.
The indications of SIBO are quite similar to those showcased by other gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS. In relation to the research conducted by a number scientists published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, there is actually more reason to believe that, of course, there exists a close association between SIBO and IBS.
Researchers have come forward to make suggestions with quite a large percentage of them insisting that the physicians go ahead and show some consideration of SIBO before moving forward to provide a definitive diagnosis of IBS.
Common symptoms of IBS and SIBO:
- Weight loss
- Joint pain
What Causes SIBO and Its Risk Factors
There are numerous underlying conditions that are considered to contribute immensely to the small intestine bacteria overgrowth. These include chronic pancreatitis, aging diverticulosis, which is a structural complication in the small intestines, Fistula, injury, intestinal, scleroderma, and lymphoma.
The undertaking of the numerous medications including the proton pump inhibitors, immunosuppressant medications, immune system disorders, celiac disease, and recent abdominal surgery are also characterized by an increased risk of developing SIBO.
Celiac disease is a major point of concern as it interferes with gut motility culminating to improper ileum functionality.
In relation to a research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 66 percent of patients diagnosed with celiac disease, who closely followed a gluten-free diet prescription, tested positive for bacterial overgrowth.
In carrying out this particular research, the patients in question were subjected to a combination of antibiotics, a change in diet, and finally medications for worms and parasites. The patients involved in the study all reported that the symptoms had been bated and that was because of the SIBO treatment they undertook.
The next underlying cause of the condition is the blind loop syndrome. As a matter of fact, this is indicated by the attribute of the small intestine actually forming a loop and as a result resulting in the food bypassing sections of the digestive tract. This causes the movement of food in a much slower manner through the system. The bacterium thrives quite well in such a setup.
The various metabolic disorders, for example, the type 2 diabetes that’s not properly controlled, are said to result in a number of gastrointestinal disorders. The research published in Diabetes & Metabolism showed that SIBO was observed in about 43 percent of diabetics suffering from chronic-related conditions.
Aging is definitely the next risk factor that leads to one developing the small intestine overgrowth. At some point in time, we begin our aging process, and this process pulls in the slowing down of the digestive tract.
From the statistics, the non-hospitalized adults of ages 61 & over represent 15 percent prevalence rate of SIBO and that sharply contrasts with the figure associated with people age 24 to 59 which represents 6 percent. In a publication going by the name the American Geriatric Society, it was revealed that above 30 percent of the disabled older adults are struggling with SIBO.
Rosacea happens to be a skin condition that results in rashes on face and redness as well. The condition showcases SIBO symptoms. Scientists from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Genoa in Italy established that the rosacea patients showcase a higher rate of prevalence of SIBO.
There is a reason to smile for those people that have been struggling with rosacea for a long period of time. The recent study revealed that “an almost complete regression of their cutaneous lesions and maintained this excellent result for at least 9 months,” which of course followed the eradication of SIBO.
It is easy for anyone to establish that the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is basically associated with a wide variety of conditions.
Complications Closely Linked with SIBO
SIBO needs to be dealt with while still at its early stages. The reason behind this is the fact that if left untreated, it can actually result in some potentially serious health complications. As a matter of fact, bacteria overgrowth in the ileum can culminate into malnutrition, which is indeed one of the most serious concerns with SIBO.
Essential nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and fats are not absorbed the right way and that results in deficiencies, including vitamin B12 deficiency, iron deficiency, deficiencies in the fat-soluble vitamins, and calcium deficiency.
The above-mentioned deficiencies can cause a number of weaknesses including damage to the central nervous system, weakness confusion, and fatigue. A lot of people have misconceptions regarding vitamin B12 deficiency, with quite a large number thinking of it as a condition that is less prevalent. But this condition is not less prevalent; it is quite prevalent. And yes, there is cause to worry and the need to take the necessary steps.
There are numerous factors that can lead to deficiency, aside from SIBO. The ones at a greater risk are the vegetarians and vegans. Along with this same line are those individuals experiencing inadequacies in stomach acid or those that subscribe to those medications that suppress stomach acid – H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors among other antacids.
As illustrated above, all the above medications are linked to SIBO. Going by Harvard Medical School’s research, the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can show up either in a gradual way or rapidly. The associated symptoms include anemia, numbness or tingling in extremities, jaundice, memory loss, the decline in cognitive function, weakness, hallucinations, and paranoia.
The British Journal of Haematology released a report where it indicated that megaloblastic anemia, which happens to be a blood disorder that culminates to the loss of red blood cells, is directly linked to bacterial overgrowth in the ileum. This happens as a result of the malabsorption of vitamin B12.
It is high time you take charge of your bodily health and start eliminating small intestinal bacteria in case you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, in addition to the common symptoms of SIBO.
Treatment for SIBO
Antibiotics help a huge deal in the treatment of the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. But, it is important, however, to bring it out clearly that indeed SIBO remains a much difficult condition to deal with even with the use of antibiotics.
A research was carried out earlier and published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. According to the researchers, whenever SIBO patients are treated with antibiotics, there is a greater tendency that there will develop a high recurrence rate. And aside from that, the gastrointestinal symptoms shot up during the recurrences.
The new reason that should put smiles on patients’ faces is the fact that researchers have succeeded in their establishing reliable results and have thus affirmed that the herbal remedies are quite effective. In the research, the researchers involved went ahead to mention a wide range of herbal remedies, but they did not move ahead to give stipulations overdosage or outline the accompanying details.
Oregano oil, wormwood oil, berberine extract, Indian barberry root extract, and lemon balm oil were mentioned concerning this particular study.
The big question here is on the ways to treat SIBO. It is crucial to, first of all, begin by finding out whether there are some underlying causes at play. That should be closely followed by making the effort to try and do a reverse of the nutritional deficiencies.
It is critical to stipulate that implementing lifestyle changes, like taking on a healthy diet, as well as the intake of the nutritional supplements will go a long way towards helping your body regain its normal balance.
The first recommendation towards overcoming SIBO is, of course, taking up the habit of usually consuming smaller amounts of food during meal times. Simply spread out your meals to a limit of between 5-6 smaller portions each day, which is as a matter of fact in opposition to the normal 3.
The importance of consuming smaller meals lies in the fact that they enable you to digest foods more quickly, which is crucial towards facing out SIBO. Overeating can make SIBO more severe and that is of course due to the fact that it causes food to sit longer in the stomach.
Aside from that, it can also lead to the alteration of gastric juice production. The production of low amounts of stomach acid is one of the greatest factors that cause SIBO. The stomach acid plays a critical role towards killing bacteria in your upper GI regions.
By kick-starting the probiotic supplements, you will be making a major step towards fighting out the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Remember that it is important for you to consume probiotic-rich foods.
According to a pilot study by a number of researchers at the Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research in Buenos Aires, Argentina, it discovered that probiotics projected a higher efficacy rate as compared to metronidazole for persons struggling with SIBO.
In that particular study, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium brevis, and Streptococcus faecalis were prescribed for five days, whereas the other half was to take antibiotics for five consecutive days.
Everyone who participated in the research undertook a similar diet, which did much towards limiting the consumption of the dairy products, leafy green vegetables, legumes, and above all alcohol.
Looking forward to knowing what the results looked like? Well, an astounding 82 percent of the group that received probiotics reported clinical improvement, whereas 52 percent of the group that was administered with antibiotics showcased clinical improvement.
Aside from playing the part in using the probiotics, it is also essential that you undertake a change in diet.
An Outlook at the Diet for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
In an effort to eliminate bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine, it is of paramount importance that you kick-start with a FODMAPs elimination diet for a period of two weeks. As a matter of fact, you’re asking yourself what FODMAPs is exactly and all that it entails.
It is simple. They are actually those foods which aren’t fully absorbed into the system and as a result, end up fermented in the digestive tract. It is indeed this fermentation that nourishes the bacteria present, and this is where the main problem lies. As a matter of fact, it gets more complicated to fight SIBO as well as the SIBO symptoms.
Top Secrets of the Kinds of Foods to Forget About During Phase 1
- Fructose – This is usually found in some fruits and fruit juices, processed cereals, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, baked foods, processed sugars, and maple syrup.
- Fructans – This comprises garlic, wheat, artichokes, asparagus, onion, leeks, cabbage, and broccoli.
- Lactose – Under this falls the various processed products with the dairy-added lactose as well as the conventional dairy.
- Polyols – This includes isomalt, sorbitol, maltitol, lactitol, xylitol, and erythritol which are commonly found in the sugar-free gum, mints, as well as some top medications.
- Galactans – This category includes legumes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and soy.
The great importance to actually stick with a total elimination of the outlined list of the foods “to avoid” during the time frame is something that cannot be underrated at all. It is obvious that after reading the list, you are left with the feeling that everything is exhausted and left out, leaving you with no other good options.
Come on! You have to look further since there will usually be better ways of doing things, and by that, I’m referring to the point that there are still plenty of the so-called “great tasting” and healthy foods that you can still consume while sticking to the SIBO diet.
Great Foods You Are Permitted to Enjoy During Phase 1
- Raw hard cheeses
- Wild-caught tuna and salmon
- Free-range eggs and poultry
- Grass-fed beef and lamb
- Leafy greens
- Almond or coconut milk
- Cantaloupe and honeydew melons strawberries
- Sprouted nut butter
The main objective of the SIBO diet lies in the fact that it targets repairing the intestinal lining, gets rid of the bacterial overgrowth, eases inflammation, as well as consumes a diet rich in the essential nutrients that your body hadn’t been absorbing earlier on.
It is in the elimination phase that you should have with you a supply of foods from the above stipulated “enjoy list.” In case you slightly deviate by taking in any foods under the category FODMAPs, it is recommended that you go back to where you were initially. That implies you will once again get started on the two-week time frame once more.
The wild-caught tuna, grass-fed beef, lamb, eggs, free-range poultry, and salmon happen to be among the top easy to digest foods. According to the top health and wellness experts, they are said to verse your body system with the essential energy as well as nutrients.
As a matter of fact, the FODMAPs duration locks you out of so much. However, you still have the freedom to enjoy a number of fruits including bananas, tomatoes, blueberries, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, and honeydew melons.
You need to remember this for a go! While your body system slowly heals from SIBO, consuming the fresh pineapple, which is said to be quite rich in bromelain every day, can go a long way towards helping tone down inflammation, while at the same time, aiding digestion. Bromelain comes with numerous and unbelievable health benefits, more so those that do arise from the various digestive disorders, asthma, allergies, and joint pain.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning the fact that bananas and pineapples do a lot towards giving a major lift to the bodily energy levels. They are among the top and reliable sources for both manganese and potassium. The human body system, as a matter of fact, requires that in a great way especially during that period when it is healing from SIBO.
The leafy greens, carrots, cucumbers, quinoa, squash, and the sprouted nut butter also fall under the “enjoy list.” A much closer outlook definitely reveals that one can uphold a healthy lifestyle and still get to enjoy the finest things in life.
The problem with most of the people is that they get in a rut only consuming certain foods during Phase 1 and this in its own sense is a mistake. Go off-limits if you should in being as diverse as you can be provided you are adhering to the right diet.
Phase 2 – GAPS Diet
It is now two weeks since to put a halt to consuming FODMAPs. This is definitely the best moment to actually move ahead and to start on the GAPS diet plan and the protocol it pulls along with. According to top experts in the health arena, this kind of diet does much towards helping you repair the leaky gut syndrome, prevent toxins entering the bloodstream, as well as rebalance bacteria throughout the digestive tract.
This particular nutritional plan also plays quite a major role towards facing out some frustrating complexities such as the food sensitivities, giving the immune system a boost, spark an improvement in the neurological functioning, heal IBS, tone down depression, as well as reduce your anxiety levels.
There are numerous foods that you must avoid in the course of this plan. Any form of grain, the high-starch foods, processed sugars, non-organic meats, as well as dairy products must be kept away from your diet as much as possible.
You know it much better than anyone else that your system is still healing from SIBO. It is engaging in your digestive tract system repairs with the target of getting your body to strike its perfect balance at the center stage.
It is advisable that you take your time to actually ready and comprehend the GAPS diet before moving ahead to undertake it. The protocol is inseparable from the diet, and thus, you are advised to follow it keenly. Some aspects might appear minute thus raising the tendency to overlook them which shouldn’t be the case since they matter.
Here are important guidelines in relation to the GAPS diet:
- Use ghee or coconut butter while preparing your meals.
- Take a cup of bone broth with each meal.
- Avoid eating fruits with meals; instead, consume fruits between meals.
- Avoid consuming the store-bought yogurt; the raw dairy fermented for 24 hours or even much longer is the way to go.
- Introduce the probiotic-rich food stuff slowly (kombucha, cultured vegetables, and natto).
- In each and every meal, remember to include a tablespoon of fermented vegetable juice (it is easy to access the Sauerkraut juice).
Some people usually run into the rut of letting the guidelines that come with the GAPS diet intimidate them. These guidelines shouldn’t intimidate you in any way. On the contrary, you may get into the swing of it within a very short time frame, and without you realizing it, your digestive tract system will be progressing with healing from SIBO.
Additionally, it is also important to point out to the fact that you need to incorporate the coconut oil whenever you can at this critical stage. Mayo Clinic shed light on the matter stating that the medium-chain triglycerides are a lot much easier to digest for persons struggling with the blind loop syndrome.
The medium-chain fatty acids associated with coconut oil are definitely among the top reasons as to why they are greatly regarded as the healthiest fats on the planet.
The SIBO Supplements
This focuses on the joint supplements that show up in line with the SIBO symptoms and nutrients as well. There is a great need to overcome the nutritional deficiencies sparked about by SIBO. It is critical that you make a close follow up on the RDA levels that come with each considering that the supplement research for overcoming SIBO is still in its infancy stages.
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin D
- Digestive enzymes
Essential Top Oils for SIBO
You need to put it at the back of your mind that the adoption of a number of lifestyle changes may go far and wide towards helping provide healing to the digestive system complication that you may be struggling with at this particular moment.
Both the phase 1 and phase 2 of the SIBO diets require that you take in small chunks of meals most definitely spread out three to five hours away from each other. It is also crucial that you ensure you are chewing each bite thoroughly, and it doesn’t require rocket science for you to know that digestion actually starts in the mouth.
Take in the recommended amount of fresh water as well since that will help keep you well-hydrated. It is also important to outline that you need to try your level best to manage stress. Yoga, Tai Chi, Barre, acupuncture, and other exercises can do much towards assisting you to get rid of stress. As a result, you are left free and motivated to focus on your SIBO diet. While handling the SIBO symptoms, it is of paramount importance that you leave enough time for your body to carry out all the necessary repairs, while at the same time, eliminating the bacterial overgrowth in the ileum.
By choosing to do away with FODMAPs, and as a result, resorting to transitioning to the GAPS diet and the accompanying protocol, you will be on your way towards healing not forgetting that you are on the verge of facing out all the bacteria causing your SIBO symptoms, and who dislikes that?
Quite a large number of people have been at crossroads with most of them asking the question whether or not the histamine intolerance sparks about allergies bloating and headaches.
There is nothing wrong with being curious to learn new things. Well, the leaky gut syndrome is a condition that is rapidly growing. And according to trusted sources, quite a large group of people is struggling with it.
Don’t be misguided to believe that the condition ends at affecting the digestive system. In the real sense, it has the ability to culminate in a wide array of health complications, enigma being one of them.
Watch this video about SIBO with Dr. Stephen Smith:
This comprehensive article has done so much towards enlightening us on the best ways forward. The remaining part is for you to put to play all the above-recommended stipulations, and you will be sure to lead a happier and healthy life.
What are your thoughts about SIBO? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on June 13, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.,
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the nutritional products mentioned is intended to Diagnose, Treat, Cure or Prevent any Disease.