A condition known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a very common and painful medical condition. It happens when bacteria that typically thrive in one area of your digestive system, such as your colon, start to develop in your small intestine. SIBO, if left untreated, can result in discomfort, constipation, and malnutrition (from the loss of essential nutrients to the body). Nutritional adequacy can lessen these dangerous microorganisms. Incorporating the SIBO diet while receiving antibiotic treatment might also hasten your recovery and get rid of bothersome symptoms.
One of the least understood digestive disorders is a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO.
Extreme bloating, gas, burping, diarrhea, and constipation are just a few of the symptoms caused by excessive bacterial growth in the small intestine.
Due to most clinicians’ lack of familiarity with this recently discovered condition, SIBO is significantly underdiagnosed and considerably more frequent than thought.
As a result, a huge percentage of those who have SIBO are given an inaccurate diagnosis of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), encouraged to “eat more fiber” (which can make SIBO worse), or told there is nothing they can do.
Many of us who battle SIBO feel compelled to educate and care for ourselves.
For that reason, I decided to write this piece and create a resource for individuals in need.
SIBO Warning Signs and Symptoms
Even though lactose intolerance, IBS, and other gastrointestinal conditions have some of the same symptoms as SIBO, there are several universal signs that can help you spot SIBO. SIBO may involve:
- After-meal abdominal ache
- Gas (both burps and flatulence) (both burps and flatulence)
- losing weight
- Appetite loss
Because of its quick onset, SIBO can typically be distinguished from other gut conditions like IBS.
It’s a good idea to get tested for SIBO, for instance, if one day you feel well and the next you suddenly have a solid, swollen abdomen that makes you seem pregnant.
Excessive burping is another typical and distinctive aspect of SIBO.
Particularly after consuming meals that feed bacteria, a severe case of SIBO might cause thousands of burps each minute.
The SIBO Diet’s Approved Foods
Suitable foods for SIBO diets include:
- The meat of any kind
- Milk without lactose and hard cheeses
- White pasta, bread, and cream of wheat
- Root foods like beets and carrots
- Fruit and vegetable items like squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers
- Gluten-free oats, meat and fish crackers, and unsweetened cereal (made from low FODMAP grains)
- Squashes such as spaghetti and summer squash
- Broccoli (just the heads; less than 3/4 cup)
- Green leaves
- Noodle soup
- Gluten-free rice
- A few fruits (blueberries, grapes, oranges, and strawberries)
Foods to Avoid on the Low-FODMAP Diet
- Cow’s milk (unless lactose-free)
- Yogurt (unless lactose-free)
SIBO Development Risk Factors
The issue is not the type of bacteria, but rather the quantity, as many people mistakenly believe that SIBO is brought on by “bad bacteria” in the stomach.
While a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine might result in uncomfortable symptoms like gas and bloating or more serious ones like diarrhea and constipation, it is typical to have a lot of bacteria in the colon, where digestion happens more slowly.
What follows can raise your chance of getting SIBO:
Age: Based on current studies, the number of young persons who have SIBO cannot be estimated.
SIBO is, however, a pretty prevalent illness in elderly persons; about 15% of senior people have the syndrome.
Because older persons are more likely to have delayed digestion and gastrointestinal procedures, which can disturb the balance of gut flora, they are also more prone to SIBO.
IBS and Other Conditions: Additionally, there is a significant symptom overlap between SIBO and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and some estimates indicate that one-third of IBS patients also have SIBO.
If you suffer from a condition that inhibits digestion, such as Parkinson’s disease, hypothyroidism, or diabetes, you may be more likely to acquire SIBO.
Stomach Obstruction: You have a higher chance of getting SIBO if you have a bowel blockage or an intestinal distortion brought on by surgery.
Proton-pump Restraints: Your levels of stomach acid will drop if you take proton-pump inhibitors like omeprazole for a problem like acid reflux.
Without stomach acid, you’re more prone to develop SIBO because it inhibits the overgrowth of bacteria in the upper small intestine.
Helpful Hints for Managing SIBO Dietary Changes
Inflammation is a factor in many diseases. Inflammatory diseases of today include:
Keep things basic, to begin with.
Create a simple food list using a few straightforward recipes that you’ve picked out.
Be prepared to eat the same thing a lot at first. Avoid giving sophisticated dishes a try right immediately.
Explore new words and broaden your culinary horizons after you are confident with your dietary modifications and aware of the foods that cause your symptoms.
The neurotransmitters, or “happy mood” chemicals, in your brain might change when the inflammation from your gut enters the brain.
For two to four weeks, adhere to the diet as strictly as possible.
This will assist you in getting rid of symptoms fast and provide you with a solid starting point for dietary reintroductions.
If a diet isn’t working, don’t stick with it for too long.
If after a few weeks you still see no improvement, think about trying another strategy.
Reintroduce foods one at a time, gradually.
The meal you missed the most is the greatest one to start reintroducing.
After the reintroduction, pay close attention to your symptoms for at least two days.
After a few days, you can try another reintroduction if the first goes well.
Wait until your symptoms have subsided before reintroducing a meal if the reintroduction caused a flare-up in your symptoms.
A common goal of elimination diets is to identify trigger foods and lessen symptoms.
You need to be able to gradually increase your dietary variety while avoiding the meals that you are aware to be problematic.
There is evidence to support the SIBO diet
The main form of therapy for SIBO symptoms is antibiotics.
Studies, however, suggest that dietary modifications, such as cutting back on sugar and lactose, may also aid in reducing bacterial overgrowth.
Antibiotics and probiotics may be used with the SIBO diet. According to 2010 research, consuming probiotic-rich meals and supplements can help lessen SIBO symptoms.
Drinking extra water helps aid digestion and lessen discomfort while on the SIBO diet.
Discuss the risks with your doctor or dietitian before changing your diet or starting any new therapies.
How Does SIBO Occur?
Some people believe that a specific type of bacteria causes SIBO, however, any bacteria, good or harmful, can induce SIBO if it has moved from the large to the small intestine.
We are frequently advised to take probiotics and feed our beneficial gut flora since the big intestine typically contains high quantities of bacteria.
But there shouldn’t be many bacteria in the small intestine.
We don’t want bacteria in the small intestine since that is where most nutritional absorption takes place.
In the small intestine, microorganisms can disrupt digestion and nutritional absorption.
In other words, we can’t since the bacteria are consuming our food.
Additionally, as bacteria consume, they release gases like methane and hydrogen (burping and flatulence).
The small intestine’s cell lining frequently becomes destroyed in SIBO, which results in intestinal barrier permeability.
Protein molecules leak out of the gut and into the circulation as a result of this disorder, which is also referred to as a leaky gut.
In addition to exacerbating SIBO symptoms, a leaky gut can result in food sensitivities, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, food allergies, and weakened immunity.
What Causes SIBO in Us?
Usually, the body has mechanisms in place to stop SIBO.
For instance, a little valve allows food from our small intestine to enter our big intestine on occasion.
Bacteria from our big intestine may go back up into the small intestine if this value becomes stuck open.
Numerous fluids, including acidic fluids from the stomach, antibacterial bile from the liver, and even immunoglobulin in intestinal secretions, protect the small intestine.
However, the risk for SIBO increases if any of these systems are damaged.
These systems can be impacted by a wide range of environmental influences as well as personal lifestyle and dietary choices.
How Is SIBO Treated?
A SIBO diet cannot genuinely treat SIBO.
Additionally, not all treatments will be effective on all forms of SIBO because the bacteria that cause the condition come in widely different varieties.
Doctors typically recommend one of these together with Neomycin for methane-dominant SIBO, which is tougher to cure.
But fewer than half of SIBO patients respond to these therapies.
Using a SIBO diet with herbs to treat SIBO
Combining one of the SIBO diets below with anti-microbial herbs is a somewhat more successful way to treat SIBO.
The same study recommended using FC-Cidal together with Dysbiocide (these are a bit cheaper).
However, even after one round, 46% of the individuals were still treated with these natural antibiotics.
People frequently require further prescription antibiotics or herbal antibacterial rounds (Note. I did one round of each and was better, but far from cured).
General Advice for SIBO Diet
- Always allow a 4-5 hour interval between meals, and wherever feasible, opt for substantial meals over-snacking.
This can need you to consume greater portions than usual.
- Keep in mind that it takes time to acclimate.
However, a small snack here and there is OK as opposed to going without food because the stress of being extremely hungry doesn’t promote recovery.
- If you’re traveling, you might also need to pack food. Here are some suggestions for snacks.
Some people might feel better eating four smaller meals as opposed to three bigger ones.
You can use a quick breathing technique called diaphragmatic breathing before meals to improve digestion.
- breathing from 4–8.
The parasympathetic nerve system, sometimes referred to as the “rest and digest” system since it aids in both of those processes, is stimulated.
Since the sympathetic, “fight or flight,” state diverts blood flow away from digestion and toward the muscles, it hinders digestion in many persons who have persistent digestive problems (in anticipation of needing to flee).
- The diet, like the low-FODMAP diet, shouldn’t be followed for a lengthy period of time.
In order to make your diet less restricted, we can start gradually reintroducing food groups if you can adhere to the diet carefully during therapy.
- Aiming to be completely “perfect” with the diet will put a lot of strain and internalized stress on you. Instead, focus on making progress.
If you sometimes consume something that isn’t on the list of foods, you won’t harm your progress.
Take care of yourself.
Selection & Preparation for Specific Foods
When it comes to protein, it’s vital to prevent switching over to the formation of hydrogen sulfide gas while on the diet, so be sure to eat enough lower-sulfur proteins like shellfish, fish, dark chicken meat, dark turkey meat, and tofu.
Don’t rely solely on red meat and eggs.
Cold veggies will never digest as well as cooked vegetables given warm or hot.
Greens may be quickly braised for added nutrition.
In general, some varieties of rice are more easily tolerated than others; the secret is to basically go against the grain of conventional dietary recommendations.
Although it seems to work against logic, it does.
Due to their low GI, basmati and brown rice are the least well tolerated since it takes them longer to digest, giving the bacteria more opportunity to ferment the starches and induce symptoms.
The best types of rice include sticky, black, jasmine, and sushi rice.
This has to do with the kind of starch these various kinds of rice contain.
Faster-digesting rice varieties include more amylopectin than amylose because amylopectin breaks down more quickly.
Please soak quinoa, stir it with a wooden spoon for a few minutes, and then thoroughly rinse it before eating.
Avoid letting it soak.
This lessens the number of saponins in the quinoa, which in some people might disrupt the digestive system.
MINDSET AND ACTIONABLE ADVICE
Keep in mind that the diet is not permanent; it is simple to lose perspective and forget the broader picture.
Keep in mind that by nurturing your body in a way that will help with your present health difficulties, you are offering it a gift.
Make sure you have access to recipe materials (such as the books by Rebecca Coombe and Phoebe Lapine).
Plan your meals on the weekend to avoid going hungry all week.
Plan regular meal preparation time 2-3 times a week so that you always have food available.
Cooking in bulk and freezing is your friend. Prepare additional servings of a dish and freeze the leftovers
For more hands-off cooking, multicookers, pressure cookers, and slow cookers are quite beneficial.
Keep most meals straightforward; however, you may add flavor to them using herbs and spices.
The best meal delivery services for the SIBO diet often provide keto and dairy-free choices.
Eat a lot of the potassium-rich foods permitted on the diet, such as bananas, kiwi fruit, Japanese pumpkin, or kabocha squash (in the amounts allowed on the diet)
It might be challenging to dine out; you might wish to have a meal or pack some snacks.
Otherwise, dairy-free ketogenic/low-carb meals are typically the best choice.
Gas, bloating, and diarrhea brought on by an overpopulation of tiny intestinal bacteria may be relieved by the SIBO diet.
Whole grains, legumes, soft cheeses, and produce high in fiber must be avoided.
Although low-fermentation diets have shown promise in treating gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, there is currently no proof that they will have the same impact on SIBO.
Keep in mind that you should always be under a doctor’s care, regardless of the diet you choose to follow.
Indrani is a passionate health and wellness enthusiast who has dedicated her life to helping others live their best lives. With a background in sports science and nutrition, Indrani has a deep understanding of how diet and exercise impact overall health. She started her health and wellness blog to share her knowledge and inspire others to make positive changes in their lives.