SIBO: Overlooked Cause of Digestive Distress

SIBO: Overlooked Cause of Digestive Distress

Introduction

You may have heard the term “SIBO” and wondered about it.

SIBO is Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth. It usually results from the poor passage of food through the small intestine, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria.

The bacterial overgrowth can cause diarrhea/constipation, weight loss, malnutrition, bloating, gas, belching, distended abdomen, abdominal pain and discomfort.

Medically, this condition is often treated with antibiotics to kill off bacteria and reduce overgrowth. Antibiotics often give only temporary relief and can damage digestion and immune systems (studies show a recurrence in half of the patients treated with antibiotics).

Good News

If you have any combination of the symptoms listed above, I may be able to help.

A simple lab test can determine if it’s likely that you have a problem with SIBO. In this case, correct dietary supplements and some dietary restrictions can give your body the assistance it needs to get the situation under control and eventually heal.

Below is a case review from a colleague of mine that clearly shows how these cases can resolve.

SIBO can be Related to Leaky Gut

READ: What Do You Mean by Leaky Gut?

Leaky Gut

SIBO- Overlooked Cause of GI Issues (Case Review)

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., DACBN, MS, CFMP

A 47-year woman named Kristina was seen with the following symptoms:  Chronic bloating, gas and belching, abdominal distention, intermittent diarrhea/constipation, and abdominal pain/discomfort.

Based on the patient’s symptoms and her medical records from her primary physician, I was suspicious of a condition called SIBO (Small Intestine Bowel Overgrowth).

SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is defined as an increase in the number of bacteria and/or changes in the types of bacteria present in the small bowel.

The normal small bowel, which connects the stomach to the large bowel, is approximately 20 feet long. Bacteria are normally present throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract but in varying amounts. Relatively few bacteria normally live in the small bowel. In most patients, SIBO is not caused by a single type of bacteria but is an overgrowth of the various types of bacteria that should normally be found in the large bowel.

The most accepted test to diagnose SIBO is called the hydrogen/methane breath test. 

Here are the results of Kristina’s SIBO breath test:

SIBO Lab Results

Antibiotics are often used to treat SIBO. However, studies show that recurrence develops in almost half of all patients within one year despite treatment with antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotic for SIBO is rifaximin. The treatment I decided to recommend included natural botanical supplements. I worked the patient up from a low to a higher dose over two weeks to minimize die-off symptoms.

In addition to the botanicals, I recommended a SIBO diet. The SIBO diet is a temporary elimination diet that incorporates lowFODMAP* foods to decrease bacterial overgrowth. Click Here for a food guide for SIBO.

Kristina followed the above treatment protocol for six weeks with excellent results. Her follow-up breath test was negative. It has been eight months, and she is still doing quite well.


FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that may be absorbed poorly by the small intestine. Some people have cramping, diarrhea, and other symptoms after eating them.

Here is a list of high and low FODMAP foods.

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Easy: Less Risk of Stroke, Heart Attack

Easy: Less Risk of Stroke, Heart Attack

Easy: Less Risk of Stroke, Heart Attack

Here’s a story about Matrix GLA Protein.

Did I put you to sleep with one sentence?

Maybe! But I think you’ll really want to hear this story: it’s cool.

Stroke and heart attacks happen when your arteries get stiff. You’ve heard of “hardening of the arteries,” right? This condition also leads to high blood pressure.

If you can keep your arteries flexible and elastic, you will benefit in many ways, especially with much less risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Calcium deposits in your arteries cause stiffening

If you could have less calcium mucking up your arteries, they would stay much more flexible and elastic.

Here’s where the Matrix GLA Protein (MGP) comes in.

A 2020 paper from NIH (National Institute of Health) says, “Numerous studies have confirmed that MGP acts as a calcification-inhibitor…” This paper explains that MGP inhibits calcium-phosphate from precipitating into the arterial walls in several different ways.

MGP comes from Vitamin K2

Studies show that a high dose of Vitamin K2 not only stopped further calcium accumulation in the arteries but reduced the deposits by 53% in 12 weeks.

So, if your doctor agrees, add K2 to your regimen to have a healthy cardiovascular system.

Here’s what else you should do to have a healthy heart:
  • Cardiovascular exercises
  • Low-carb diet
  • Stress-reducing techniques (relaxation)
  • Flexibility exercises

Arterial calcification can begin as early as the teens and 20’s, showing up as a problem by age 30.

 

Read the article below, “How to Decrease Arterial Stiffness” for more information.
Dr. Billiot

Are you diagnosed with circulation health problems?

I may be able to help you.

Would you please take five minutes to fill out a health assessment survey and send it to me? I’ll review your information, then have my assistant call you for any additional information. Then, I’ll let you know if your case might be a good fit for my clinic. This assessment is complimentary, no strings attached. Either I can help you–or point you in the right direction to get help.

Don’t give up! You can recover your health if you persist.

More information on preventing heart disease

READ: DIY Diabetes & Heart Disease Prevention—for Cheap!
Heart Disease Prevention

How to Decrease Arterial Stiffness

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., DACBN, MS, CFMP

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries, leading to accumulations of fats cells and calcium deposits (i.e., plaques). It has been shown that people with a rapid increase in the amount of calcium deposits have a higher risk for stroke and heart attack than people with a decreased amount.

Vitamin K2 is associated with the inhibition of arterial calcification and arterial stiffening. An adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been shown to lower the risk of vascular damage because it activates matrix GLA protein (MGP), which inhibits the deposits of calcium on the walls

In the groups receiving high-dose vitamin K2 (MK-4), not only was there no further arterial calcium accumulation, there was a 37% reduction of previously accumulated arterial calcification after six weeks. After 12 weeks, there was a 53% reduction in accumulated arterial calcium deposits.

Conclusion:

Medical peer-reviewed papers support considering adding vitamin K2 to a healthy lifestyle protocol (cardio/resistant exercise, Paleo-Diet, relaxation, flexibility exercises, etc.) to reverse the damaging effects of arterial calcification and arterial stiffening.

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Evidently, It’s the Gut

Evidently, It’s the Gut

Do You:

  • Get too little or poor quality sleep?
  • Have high-stress levels in your life?
  • Eat sugar regularly? (Wine, beer, candy, soda, sweet tea, cookies)
  • Eat a lot of carbs? (Pasta, rice, bread, oats, potatoes, pancakes, biscuits)
  • Eat a lot of processed foods? (boxes, bags, cans, fast food)
  • Take antibiotics, even only every few years?
  • Have cravings for sugary foods or carbs?
  • Have unintentional weight changes (lose or gain) for no apparent reason?
  • Have skin problems: acne, eczema, rashes?
  • Have food allergies? Do some foods make you tired, brain foggy, have digestive problems, immediate diarrhea, skin reactions, or swelling?

All of these can lead to problems with your “gut microbiome,” the microorganisms that live in your intestines. You can have between 300 to 500 different species of bacteria growing in your gut, and many of these are essential for your health.

Problems with your gut bacteria can lead to:

(If you are suffering from any of these problems, you should get your gut checked, as this might open the door to your recovery).

  • Immune system problems
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Inflammation problems of all kinds
  • Fatigue and energy problems
  • ADHD and concentration problems
  • Sleep problems
  • IBS (cramping and pain, diarrhea/constipation, nausea)
  • Heartburn and reflux

The Bottom Line

The most important thing to know about gut issues is that they don’t resolve easily.

The second most important thing to know is that gut problems often worsen and lead to more related symptoms.

So, the “bottom line” is that you should 1) Live a gut-healthy lifestyle and eat a gut-healthy diet, and 2) If you develop health problems that are possibly gut-related, do NOT just wait around and hope that you get better.

What Should I Do?

Conventional medicine recognizes the importance of a healthy gut microbiome, but this information has yet to make it down to the diagnosis and treatment level of YOUR doctor.

Therefore, your medical doctor will have no training or tools to do anything about your gut problems.

You will need to find a Functional Medicine practitioner with lots of experience in gut problems. This doctor will know which labs to use and combine effective supplementation with diet and lifestyle changes.

Gut problems and related issues are one of the main focuses of my practice. If you need help, you can ask for an appointment or more information here.

New Research

Scientists had a human-biome epiphany around 2010. In 2012, Scientific American magazine put out an issue titled “Your Inner Ecosystem.” This magazine was the first time that most of the general public had ever heard of the importance of microbes and bacteria to general health.

Since then, research on gut health has regularly yielded possible solutions to many of our most challenging health problems.

Below is an article about new research that links restless leg syndrome (RLS), a terrible problem that ruins the sleep of as much as 10% of the population, to gut problems.

This article is great reading and shows the promise of discovering many more “unsolvable” health problems resulting from gut imbalances.

More about gut problems

READ: What Do You Mean by Leaky Gut?

Leaky Gut

Restless Leg Syndrome and IBS

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., DACBN, MS, CFMP

There appears to be a direct correlation between restless leg syndrome (RLS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What is restless leg syndrome?

RLS is a disorder in which a person experiences uncomfortable urges to move their legs. Symptoms typically occur during rest or inactivity, particularly in the evening and into the night, and may contribute to insomnia. These bothersome urges are often relieved with movement. It is estimated that RLS affects approximately 7-10% of the population

What Causes RLS?

Researchers have identified the following as possible contributors to the problem:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Problems with the neurotransmitter dopamine
  • Problems with the metabolism of iron
  • Problems with nervous system motor pathways

Clinical studies show that some people who have certain gastrointestinal disorders have a higher rate of RLS, including celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and IBS.

Studies estimate that approximately one-fourth to one-third of IBS patients may also have RLS.

The specific gut issue associated with RLS is a condition called Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

SIBO is a condition in which rare gut-residing bacteria are over-represented in the gut.

Why does SIBO cause restless legs?

Chronic inflammation caused by SIBO or gut dysbiosis [when there’s an unhealthy balance of types of gut bacteria] in the colon may release additional hepcidin — a hormone that can decrease iron availability in the brain and contribute to RLS.

A Stanford findings suggest that, potentially, treating a person’s SIBO may help resolve the brain iron deficiency that contributes to RLS.

Promising Treatment

In one study, 13 IBS patients who tested positive for SIBO using breath testing were treated with the antibiotic rifaximin for ten days. According to the study, 10 of these patients experienced “at least 80% improvement” in their RLS symptoms following treatment. At a later follow-up date, half of these patients reported complete relief from their RLS.

For a more comprehensive natural treatment for SIBO, I recommend seeking the skills of a well-trained functional medicine practitioner.

They will review dietary recommendations specific for SIBO and natural botanicals (herbs) that effectively treat SIBO.

Conclusion:

Although the studies are small, I believe there is hope that in patients suffering from IBS (SIBO) and RLS, treatment to eradicate SIBO could be helpful.

Find Out How to Get Help with your Health:

Would you please take five minutes to fill out a health assessment survey and send it to me? I’ll call you for a phone consult and discuss what could be done about your health. It’s complimentary, no strings attached. Either I can help you or point you in the right direction to get help. Don’t give up! You can recover your health if you persist.

Dr. Billiot

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