Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO is increasingly recognized as a cause of malabsorption and is often associated with a long list of other underlying illnesses, including leaky gut, irritable bowel, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s, celiac disease, diabetes and many other health issues and conditions. SIBO is a chronic bacterial infection resulting from the colonization of multiple strains of bacteria that normally inhabit the colon but have atypically inhabited the small intestine, an area not meant for such high amounts of bacteria. Less commonly, SIBO may also result from dysbiosis, an imbalance of the otherwise normal bacteria of the small intestine. As symptoms are similar in other conditions, SIBO is often challenging to diagnose. This bacterial overgrowth may produce symptoms of malabsorption of nutrients, nausea, bloating, weight loss, abnormal bowel movements, inflammation, and increased permeability of the intestinal wall. When the intestinal wall is compromised, large protein molecules can escape into the blood stream, potentially resulting in food sensitivities or allergies, generalized inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
Relatively few bacteria actually live in the small intestine, as compared with the large intestine or colon. These essential microbiota aid in digesting food and absorbing nutrients, help protect against the colonization of invading pathogens and produce important nutrients and vitamins such as short chain fatty acids, biotin, folate and vitamin K. They also help to maintain the normal muscular activity or motility that keeps intestinal contents moving through the system. With SIBO, vitamin and nutritional deficiencies can develop over time as these bacteria decrease proper fat absorption. This can lead to deficiencies in fat soluble vitamins A and D. As some of their favorite nutrients are iron and B12, SIBO bacteria deprive the body of these important nutrients, often resulting in anemia. The bacteria themselves produce excess gas and wreak havoc with our elimination system and can also enter our bloodstreams, which can cause chronic fatigue and body pain and create an undue burden on the liver. High amounts of excess acids excreted by the bacteria can cause neurological and cognitive issues.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics designed to stay in the intestines are generally effective in relieving SIBO symptoms, although repeat courses are often required as relapse is not unusual. A two week elemental diet that deprives the bacteria of a food source while still providing nutrition is an alternative to antibiotic treatment reserved for the most severe cases. The best first line of defense may be probiotics, which have beneficial effects on intestinal microbiota. The helpful effects of probiotics, including immune, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory support, have been shown to have encouraging outcomes in the management of SIBO. Barring complications, probiotic therapy often results in individuals becoming symptom free.
Generally, the strategy for treatment of SIBO includes reducing the bacteria, healing the intestinal lining and preventing relapse. Dietary treatments aimed at starving the bacteria can have a significant impact. As the bacteria primarily eat fermentable carbohydrates, such as starches, grains, soluble fibers, sugars and prebiotics, it is recommended these foods be avoided for a minimum of one to three months to allow the intestinal lining time to repair. The recommended SIBO diet is progressive. Initially, all foods must be cooked, including fruits. As the intestines heal, the SIBO specific diet of proteins, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, lactose-free dairy, fruits, nuts and seeds is preferable and has a high success rate if strictly followed for an indefinite period of time. Daily exposure to even small amounts of sugars and starches can negatively affect the microbial environment.
Although the prevalence of SIBO in the general population is unknown, many feel it may be substantially underdiagnosed. Any illness that affects the body’s defense mechanism is a risk factor for SIBO. A diagnosis of SIBO should be considered in cases of complex nonspecific complaints of abdominal discomfort, bloating, maldigestion, weight loss or malabsorption. Additionally, any underlying causes, including vitamin, mineral and nutrient deficiencies, must be recognized and treated.
Apex Energetics provides research-based, high quality formulations developed by well qualified experts in the fields of conventional western medicine, traditional eastern medicine, complementary and holistic approaches. The following products from Apex Energetics are scientifically designed to support intestinal health:Sibotica™ (K-97) – This probiotic contains 15 billion friendly bacteria in an acid resistant capsule specifically designed to pass through the stomach and target the small intestines and support the intestinal mucosal barrier. ClearVite-GL™ (K-95) – This product is designed for gastrointestinal and metabolic support. The formula includes hypoallergenic nutrients, amino acids, and minerals and is ideal for those who require a low carbohydrate content. This product does not contain protein or sugars. RepairVite-SE ™ (K-98) – This product offers targeted intestinal support with a limited amount of ingredients for those with certain dietary restrictions. The high quality selective blend includes enzymes, L-glutamine and zinc carnosine to support intestinal cell metabolism and the intestinal microbial environment. EnzymixPro™ (K-99) – This product incorporates a proprietary blend of specific enzymes that aid in the digestion of sugars, starches, fibers, proteins and fats and is designed to support the gastrointestinal system. Enterovite (K-100) – Designed for those with sensitivities or those who require additional intestinal support, this product contains nutrients and a proprietary blend of short chain fatty acids that play important roles in intestinal microbial balance and function. References: SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. http://www.siboinfo.com/elemental-formula.html Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth syndrome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2890937/ Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). http://www.medicinenet.com/small_intestinal_bacterial_overgrowth_sibo/page3.htm Nutritional Consequences of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Online. http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/medicine/divisions/digestive-health/clinical-care/nutrition-support-team/nutrition-articles/DiBaiseArticle.pdf