SIBO Is A Beast. How Do You Treat It?

I work with a lot of clients that have SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. We are supposed to have lots of bacteria in large intestine and colon. Sometimes this bacteria ends up in our small intestine in abnormally large amounts, and it certainly doesn't belong there.

When we have abnormally large amounts of bacteria in our small intestine, we become unable to digest and absorb nutrients from the foods we eat. It is through the lining of our small intestine where many of our nutrients are absorbed so that our body can use them for fuel. 

This bacteria also eats our food! In particular, it tends to feed off of carbohydrates. Starchy and sugary foods are examples. If you have strong carbohydrate and/or sugar cravings, it can be due to gut infections, like SIBO. The bacteria produce gases including hydrogen and methane, and the result is some of the symptoms associated with SIBO, like gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

As the problem continues, inflammation in the gut causes the normally tight junctions holding the cells of our gut lining together to loosen. This results in leaky gut, allowing particles of food and toxins from bacteria to enter into the bloodstream. Our immune system mounts a response, and over time this can lead to autoimmune disease

SIBO is most often treated with specific antibiotics, and diet. There are natural anti-microbial agents that can help as well in combination with these treatments. 

SIBO is stubborn. Many suffer for years. In order to resolve the problem we must address the underlying cause of it. This is often missed, which is why you can't get rid of your SIBO!

Two examples of underlying causes that can be addressed from a nutrition standpoint are motility of the gut, and appropriate digestion (there is often a lack of stomach acid and/or digestive enzymes present). 

Protocols that are successful in eradicating SIBO take into account multiple methods of treatment, and addressing the underlying cause.

Everyone is different. There is no one size fits all approach. Your treatment will be unlike anyone else's. Working with a professional who can connect the dots between your biochemistry and best practices in SIBO eradication is essential if you want freedom from it once and for all. 


Clinical Nutritionist