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SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when there are excess bacteria in the small intestine. SIBO often happens because of lack of movement of the small intestine.

If you have SIBO you have too many bacteria hanging out in your small intestine having a grand ole time.  Although for you, it’s not a party by any means because these little buggers can cause bloating, diarrhea and pain.  

More common than most doctors thought, SIBO seems to affect females, older adults and those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  We will compare the two in another blog, so stay tuned.

The Signs and Symptoms of SIBO

SIBO signs and symptoms can be similar to other digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance, which can make misdiagnosis common.

These signs and symptoms can vary from mild stomach discomfort to chronic diarrhea, weight loss and even a reduced ability to absorb nutrients from food. This is called malabsorption.

Symptoms of SIBO include: stomach pain, bloating and increased passing of gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, fatigue and unintentional weight loss. In more extreme cases, the small intestine may not be able to absorb nutrients. In these situations, you may also experience weight loss and anemia (iron deficiency).

What Causes SIBO?

There are basically two causes of SIBO.  The first is when bacterial overgrowth occurs when bacteria from one part of the digestive tract travels to the small intestine and takes up residence.  The second is when naturally occurring bacteria in the small intestine multiplies too quickly and takes over.

The following factors contribute to those experiencing SIBO:

  • Having an abnormally slow digestive system
  • Having low levels of stomach acid which helps in digestion
  • Physical abnormalities in the small intestine
  • A weakened immune system, HIV, immunoglobulin A deficiency, combined variable immunodeficiency

Use of certain medications could also be linked to SIBO. These include:

  • narcotic medications
  • anti-spasm medications for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as hyoscyamine or dicyclomine
  • long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) - medications that decrease acid in the stomach to control heartburn
  • frequent use of antibiotics, which may alter the bacteria in the small bowel

Chronic systemic conditions can also cause motility issues. If you have these conditions, you may be at a higher risk for SIBO:

  • diabetes
  • lupus
  • scleroderma or connective tissue disorders

Risk Factors For Those With Other Conditions

It has been found that people with certain medical conditions are more apt to get SIBO.  In fact, physicians consider SIBO to be a complication for those who have the following conditions:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Cirrhosis of the Liver
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • HIV
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome 
  • Scleroderma
  • Fibromyalgia

But there are other risk factors as well which include:

  • middle age and older
  • being a woman
  • long term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s), which are medications to reduce stomach acid production
  • having a previous bowel surgery
  • partaking in alcohol
  • taking antibiotics

Diagnosing SIBO Is Not Easy!

Since SIBO can cause a wide range of symptoms with varying degrees of severity, it can be difficult to diagnose.

The most effective and quick way to diagnose if a person has SIBO is with a breath test.  The breath test measures the concentration of hydrogen and methane with the results informing the physician about the severity and location of the bacterial overgrowth in your body.

Why does this breath test work?  Bacteria produce hydrogen and methane molecules when they break down carbohydrates in the intestine.  These molecules then enter the blood stream, travel into the lungs and leave the body through breathing.

You must fast for 24 hours before taking a breath test.  During the test you will be given a sugar lactulose beverage before breathing at regular intervals into a special balloon or a set of tubes.

If breath results are not clear, you made need to give samples of blood, urine or intestinal fluid to be sent for lab analysis. 

SIBO Treatment

Antibiotic therapy and dietary changes are the top treatments for SIBO.  If you have developed malnutrition  or have become dehydrated due to SIBO, you will also need nutrients and fluids which may be administered through an IV drip.

Broad spectrum antibiotics can stabilize SIBO by reducing the number of intestinal bacteria.  Addressing the underlying condition is the only way to completely cure SIBO.

Dietary changes work hand in hand with managing SIBO, but there is not enough concrete evidence to tell which specific diet works best.  Doctors are still trying to fully understand the role of dietary changes for SIBO treatment.

Treating underlying medical conditions such as celiac disease or diabetes, will also contribute to treating SIBO.

Diet Changes to Help Curb SIBO

The nasty bacteria which cause SIBO survive and thrive on carbohydrates.  So limiting carbohydrates prevents these nasty little buggers from growing.  You may also benefit from limiting fermentable foods.

Fermentable foods or FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrate which are commonly present in dairy products, grains and certain fruits and veggies.  Cutting back on eating these foods may help to relieve SIBO symptoms and also help you identify which foods are a trigger for you.

Fermentable foods include:

  • Wheat, legumes, onions, asparagus
  • Milk, yogurt, butter, soft cheeses (lactose)
  • fruits, honey, foods with added sugars (fructose and glucose)
  • fruits containing pits ( ex: cherries and peaches), apples, mushrooms and green beans

Dietary changes work differently for each person depending on symptoms and reaction to certain foods and beverages. We suggest you work with a doctor, nutritionist or professional to create a diet that works with your specific symptoms.

Common Complications with SIBO

When you have abnormally large populations of bacteria in the small intestine, negative effects on your entire body can occur.  This large bacterial overgrowth makes it difficult for your body to absorb carbohydrates and fats from the food you eat.  This can also lead you to have vitamin deficiencies and excess gas.

You may also experience these complications:

  • Leaky gut
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Joint Pain
  • Constipation
  • Decreased brain function due to liver disease

Prevention of SIBO

Unfortunately, months after treatment, many people report the return of symptoms.  Prevention is extremely important when dealing with SIBO management.

SIBO usually develops in relation to an underlying medical condition or physical defect in the small intestine.  Taking care of the root cause lowers your risk of reoccurrence.

Dietary and lifestyle changes help in keeping SIBO at bay.  Eating more plant-based foods, and avoiding over processed and sugary foods allows good bacteria to grow and help to stop the unwanted bacteria from getting out of control.  Add in regular exercise to the mix and you increase your chances of regulating your body digestive functions.

We Offer Hope If You Have SIBO!

One of the reason we provide Allicin formulated products is they truly help in the battle against SIBO.  The 100% Pure Stabilized Allicin found in our products, is derived from garlic and is a strong antimicrobial.  It doesn’t contain the FODMAP’s found in other parts of the clove, which makes it effective.

Our highest potency formula is ALLIMED.  This is the only single herb that has been studied with SIBO and was found to be effective for methane-dominant SIBO. 

A major breakthrough in the medicinal qualities of garlic was the discovery of allicin, which is the main component of Allimed and the reason for its success as a natural antibiotic.

There are a number of ways you can take Allimed (capsule, liquid, cream, spray), but no matter what form you prefer, Allimed’s pure allicin form has been proven by thousands of studies to be a healthier alternative to pharmaceutical antibiotics.

Allicin is the main biologically active compound of garlic and scientific evidence suggests that allicin is responsible for the numerous health benefits associated with garlic.

When fresh garlic is crushed or cut, the sulfur compound (Alliin) combines with an enzyme (Allinase) and a chemical reaction starts. Allicin is then formed, but unfortunately, Allicin from fresh garlic is unstable and quickly changes into a series of other sulfur-containing compounds, known as thiosulphinates.

Allimed is already pure allicin. Allicin is THE antibacterial agent in garlic. That’s what really makes Allimed different from other garlic supplements.

Allimed is also much more stabilized than other supplements, meaning your digestive system acids won’t destroy the Allimed. And other garlic supplements don’t have the guaranteed 100% yield of allicin extract that Allimed has.

So if you suffer from a bacterial infection or SIBO, Allimed is an ideal alternative to pharmaceutical antibiotics.

Allimed has many benefits that pharmaceutical antibiotics don’t. It’s less likely to cause antibiotic resistance, which is a huge benefit of using a natural treatment versus a pharmaceutical option.

Research shows bacteria are capable of adapting to synthetic antibiotics. This is why it is recommended to rotate antibiotic regimens and use herbal alternatives to treat infections, including SIBO.

Allimed has fewer side effects than traditional synthetic antibiotics, but as with all natural antibiotics, Allimed may take a little longer to work.

Traditional antibiotics also tend to be much more higher priced than natural antibiotics. Another big benefit of using a natural option is saving money as well as it being a more effective treatment in the long run.

Allicin for SIBO

When it comes to SIBO, allicin has been considered one of the most effective herbs used in SIBO treatment. It is particularly helpful in stubborn cases, as well as in individuals who have methane dominant overgrowth or constipation type symptoms.

It’s important for you to know Allimed products, which contain Allicin, corn maltodextrin, and gum acacia has not been shown to cause issues in SIBO patients, even in individuals who can’t tolerate garlic in other forms.

Other supplements use a type of garlic that can aggravate SIBO patients because they are usually made with garlic extract. Garlic extract and garlic in foods contain polysaccharides which act as a prebiotic. Allimed’s formula contains 100% Allicin without the prebiotics. This explains why it’s usually tolerated in SIBO patients.

Allimed’s dose is usually 2 capsules 3 times per day for 4 weeks. For more information on treatment specifics click here.

All of our Allimax, AlliUltra and Allimed products are the only supplements containing stabilized allicin, which make them the best option available if you’re using it to treat SIBO.

Regular garlic supplements cause issues because of the prebiotics contained in whole garlic extract. You may find other supplements that claim to contain quality allicin, but these haven’t been shown to deliver a stabilized form of pure allicin like our product line.