Overcoming SIBO: Herbs and Life Hacks for Relief
Bloating, cramping, bathroom issues: those with SIBO know the pain and struggle the condition can bring.
For a long time, medical practitioners believed that SIBO was rare and mainly due to anatomical anomaly. Now, though, we know better. SIBO is a widely misdiagnosed and missed condition: up to 84% of patients with IBS also have SIBO.
The good news is, though, that there are things that SIBO sufferers can do to help alleviate the pain. By taking the right steps, they can keep the condition from taking over their lives. With the right protocol and lifestyle adjustments, many people can find relief from many of the symptoms of SIBO.
What is SIBO?
SIBO stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. The small intestine is the longest part of the digestive system at about 22 feet long. There is a minimal number of bacteria in the small intestine, and most bacteria are limited to the large intestine.
In SIBO, though, bacteria overpopulate the small intestine. Instead of allowing the intestine to absorb food into the body, the bacteria take over and feeds on it instead. The bacteria then produce gases, leading to many of the uncomfortable symptoms of SIBO.
SIBO can strike anyone, but those most at risk for developing the condition include those with:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Low stomach acid levels
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome, particularly with diarrhea (IBS-D)
- Surgery or alternation to their GI tracts, such as bariatric surgery or colectomy
- History of alcohol abuse
- Compromised immune systems
- Parkinson’s disease
- Celiac or Crohn’s disease
- A recent food-borne illness
Many of these conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease and IBS-D, have overlapping symptoms with SIBO. This can cause many people to go undiagnosed and thus unable to treat the underlying condition.
Common symptoms of SIBO include:
- Bloating and gas
- Abdominal pain
- Food intolerances
- Autoimmune diseases
- Skin rashes
- Vitamin deficiencies, particularly B12
- Unintentional weight loss
- Nutrient malabsorption
The most common way to test for SIBO is with a breath test. Because bacteria produce hydrogen or methane in the small intestine, the breath will have higher levels of these gases.
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Natural Remedies for Digestive Relief
While digestive disorders, such as SIBO, are gaining more acceptance in modern medicine, they are far from new. For thousands of years, health practitioners have pinpointed the gut as a critical component to overall wellness.
These traditional practitioners observed which spices, herbs, and mushrooms brought calm back to the gut. Today, researchers have been able to use the scientific method to confirm many of the traditional herb and remedies these practitioners used.
We’ve combined many of the most potent natural spices and herbs into one convenient supplement. Derived from the purest sources, our EX-CANDIDA formula can provide a much-needed boost for digestive symptoms. Each ingredient is backed by both traditional use and scientific research.
With the right herbal support, combined with lifestyle adjustments, many of those with SIBO have seen a reduction in symptoms and overall better quality of life.
Let’s dive into the supplements that can provide some of the best digestive support for those with SIBO!
Sweet wormwood, which also goes by the name Sweet Annie, is a plant native to Asia but now grows worldwide. Traditional Chinese Medicine has used the herb for almost 2,000 years to treat occasional digestive issues.
Wormwood is best known as the main ingredient in absinthe, a strong drink with hallucinogenic properties. However, wormwood itself is not a hallucinogen and was legalized in the US in 2007.
Now, wormwood is used as a digestive aid and has exciting implications for SIBO.
Standard treatment for SIBO is traditional antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria in the small intestine. However, recent research has shed light on the ability of herbs like wormwood to work as a more natural antibiotic.
Wormwood has strong antimicrobial properties that help fight bacterial overgrowth. Research shows that it can inhibit a wide range of bacterial strains.
One study of 104 patients with SIBO sought to determine how effective herbs were in killing off unfavorable bacteria. Patients were assigned to take either the traditional antibiotic Rifaximin or an herbal remedy that included wormwood for four weeks. At the end of the trial, 46% of those who took the herbal remedy had no evidence of SIBO, versus 34% of antibiotic users. Researchers concluded that herbal therapy was as effective as antibiotics in treating SIBO.
While more research needs to be done, the study shows promise in using natural methods to treat SIBO.
Digestive pain and inflammation are common complaints with SIBO. Wormwood has the potential to counteract both with its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
One double-blind, placebo-controlled study had Crohn’s patients, commonly associated with SIBO, take 500 mg of wormwood three times daily. At the end of the trial, those who took wormwood had a significantly reduced need for medication over placebo groups.
Artemisinin is a particularly strong and active ingredient in sweet wormwood. It is a common supplement to enhance malaria medication because of its ability to fight off foreign invaders in the body.
Like wormwood, artemisinin has strong antimicrobial properties to combat bacteria. It can be used to help bring down bacteria where it shouldn’t be in the small intestine.
SIBO often causes an inflammatory response in the body. These inflammatory symptoms, such as excess bloating and pain, in turn, make SIBO symptoms even worse.
Artemisinin can be used to help break this unhelpful cycle. It can help bring down this inflammatory response to bring relief to some SIBO symptoms. Researchers found that it inhibits cytokines, which are proteins in the immune system that promote inflammation.
Getting sick more often? The small intestine plays a surprising role in the immune system because it contains a large number of lymphoid cells. This may be why many autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, and celiac are all risk factors for SIBO.
Artemisinin can provide the immune system with a needed boost. It has properties that help support the immune response in the body.
With its ability to provide support on a wide level, artemisinin is a supplement that can give a boost to SIBO sufferers.
Black Walnut Hull
The black walnut is a popular nut that grows mostly along the eastern part of the United States. The green hull (or outer shell) of the walnut can be dried and used for many health ailments. Indigenous tribes throughout America used various parts of the black walnut tree, including the hull, for a number of medicinal benefits.
Today, researchers found that the hull contains several helpful properties that make it a superfood. It is especially useful for those with SIBO.
The hull has strong antibacterial properties to fight off strains in the small intestine. They are particularly high in tannins, which researchers found inhibits bacterial growth. Several studies have shown the antimicrobial benefits of tannins.
One study found that it was particularly strong against several strains of bacteria. A test-tube study demonstrated that it stopped the growth of bacteria. Yet a third study compared it to several other plants and found that black walnut hull was most effective in fighting off bacteria.
Black walnut hull could provide a potent boost to those who are looking to fight off bacteria naturally in the gut.
Antioxidants are also a key property to support the body. Some research shows higher oxidative stress in those who have SIBO, especially those with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Research shows that the black walnut hull is rich in antioxidants to help combat the oxidative stress that SIBO can bring.
Olive oil has long been revered in health circles for its many health benefits and is widely used as a healthy fat for cooking. However, ancient people also used another part of the olive tree to encourage health and wellness: the leaf.
Health practitioners have used olive leaves for thousands of years to promote health and wellbeing. Today, researchers have pinpointed a potent property in olive leaves, oleuropein, that can provide a number of benefits to fight SIBO.
Olive leaves can help bring down the inflammation that makes SIBO miserable for many people. A 2018 study found that it has strong anti-inflammatory properties to soothe gut inflammation. Another earlier study on mice also found that oleuropein had strong anti-inflammatory benefits.
Antioxidants also provide a needed boost for those with SIBO. Olive leaf is a particularly rich source and can combat oxidative stress. Research shows that it a potent antioxidant. Another study on oleuropein in particular showed that it had strong antioxidant properties.
Olive leaves are also full of antimicrobial properties to fight off many different strains of bacteria. One study showed that it was able to inhibit both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Also, in the study mentioned with wormwood, olive leaf was another ingredient used in the herbal treatment of SIBO. It was just as powerful as antibiotics to kill off unwanted strains and help bring relief.
Cloves are native to Asian countries, including India and Pakistan, as well as parts of East Africa and South America. The spice is a culinary staple around the world, but many revere it for its health properties.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine both use cloves to reduce inflammation and improve digestion. Modern science has also uncovered many of the benefits of cloves.
For SIBO sufferers who need to fight inflammation, cloves can provide a powerful boost. One 2017 study found that it contained potent anti-inflammatory properties. Another study also found that it had a strong anti-inflammatory effect in animals.
In addition to being an anti-inflammatory agent, cloves also contain antimicrobial properties. Many researchers believe that both of these properties together are why it is so effective against tooth pain.
It has great implications against SIBO as well. In fact, it is so potent against bacteria scientists use it in the food industry to inhibit bacterial growth. Another study found that it displayed antimicrobial effects against all bacteria it tested. One particular ingredient in cloves, eugenol, was found in a 2017 review to have significant antimicrobial qualities.
Cloves are also a rich source of antioxidants. One study found that it had the potential to alleviate some chronic diseases because of its antioxidant properties. A test-tube study found that eugenol could even stop oxidative damage faster than vitamin E. Vitamin E has long been considered a particularly powerful antioxidant.
Recently, coconut oil has made a comeback after years of low-fat dogma in the health community. It has a number of health properties that make it popular today.
One of the most potent ingredients in coconut oil that make it healthy for the gut is caprylic acid. Research shows that caprylic acid has several benefits for those with SIBO.
Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. Many antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains are common today because of antibiotic overprescribing, overuse in the meat industry, and contaminated water. This can be a particular problem for SIBO since antibiotics are needed to eliminate bacteria in the gut.
However, caprylic acid can provide a powerful boost for antibiotics. It contains antimicrobial properties that can help the medication be more effective in treating SIBO. One study on contaminated milk found that it successfully reduced the number of bacteria. Researchers recommended it as an alternative or additional treatment for infections if antibiotics are not effective.
There is also significant research into its ability to fight against IBD, which is common with SIBO. One study found that its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties make it ideal for fighting certain disorders, such as Crohn’s Disease and IBD. Another study also found that it helped inhibit inflammatory enzymes and cells, reducing IBD symptoms.
One of the most well-known and used spices, cinnamon, actually comes in several forms. Ceylon cinnamon is a milder form than the typical Cassia available in the grocery stores. However, it has been highly prized for thousands of years for its health benefits.
It is particularly useful for those with SIBO.
Ceylon cinnamon is full of antioxidants to help reduce oxidative stress on the body. One study compared it to other well-known antioxidant powerhouses. It outranked some of the most powerful antioxidants, including oregano and garlic.
Another study on rats fed a high-fat diet found it helped provide protection from many of the effects of the poor diet. A study on rats with diabetes found that cinnamon showed powerful antioxidant activity. This is particularly vital for reducing the chances of SIBO since those with both diabetes and SIBO have high levels of oxidative stress.
Ceylon cinnamon also provides a vital source of anti-inflammatories. One 2015 study found that it had the most powerful anti-inflammatory properties when tested against 115 other foods. Another study also found that it had excellent anti-inflammatory activities.
For those who are particularly vulnerable to inflammation, cinnamon can provide one of the most powerful boosts.
Ceylon cinnamon can also provide great support for digestive health. Initial research shows that it can be an effective treatment for IBS, which is often associated with SIBO. Although more studies need to be done, it has exciting potential for enhancing gut health.
Life Hacks for SIBO
Herbal remedies can provide powerful support in fighting against SIBO. However, it is not enough on its own. Here are some ways to support a healthy gut and get relief from many of SIBO’s painful symptoms:
- Reduce stress. Stress is a known underlying factor in gut health. One study on mice found that psychological stress slowed intestinal motility and damaged the lining of the small intestines. It also affects stomach acid, which can contribute to SIBO. Eliminate as much stress as possible to help promote healing. Also, consider starting stress-relieving activities, such as meditation, exercise, spending time in nature, or picking up a hobby.
- Consider a low-FODMAP or elemental diet. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These foods are all ones that bacteria love to feed on, leading to many unpleasant SIBO symptoms. By temporarily eliminating these foods, it’s possible to bring relief by starving the bacteria. Keep in mind that it is a rigorous, temporary diet that should only be completed with a professional’s help. Also, an elemental diet has been shown in a small study to inhibit SIBO.
- Get antibiotic treatment. While dietary and lifestyle adjustments can bring some relief, they are not enough on their own. Prescription or herbal antibiotics are required for SIBO treatment. However, they work with lifestyle changes to bring lasting relief: studies show that half of all patients treated with antibiotics will have a reoccurrence within one year.
- Eliminate alcohol. Heavy alcohol use has long been a risk factor in developing SIBO. However, one study found that even moderate consumption increased the risk of developing the condition. Eliminating alcohol may be necessary to bring long-term relief.
SIBO doesn’t have to be a life sentence of pain and discomfort. Get a digestive boost today with EX-CANDIDA and lifestyle changes and feel the difference!
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