SIBO Rx – End of Week 2

For 2 weeks I’ve been following an herbal antibiotic treatment protocol for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).  The treatment is of my own design, using herbs recommended by Allison Siebecker.  I am not working with a doctor or practitioner on this, mostly because I don’t know of one.  In addition I’ve been telling myself I’m following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) but in reality I cheat on it a little every day.  Most of what I’ve been eating is Ray Peat inspired and SCD friendly.  Eggs, cheese, meat, orange juice, fruit, cooked spinach, and broth.  My cheats are usually white sugar in small quantities, but I did have some stuffing and mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving.  Dr. Steven Sandberg-Lewis says that you can’t really starve out SIBO anyway…it’ll just start eating your intestinal mucosa if it gets hungry. The best thing to do is kill it and then prevent it from coming back.

Some of what I’m going to write here is TMI – so I apologize in advance.  It’s difficult to discuss the treatment of a digestive disorder without a little TMI.  I’ll try to keep it clinical and professional.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I have SIBO.  For years I’ve had bloating after eating starches, but recently it started to occur whenever I ate any dairy or white sugar as well.  The bloating had become out of control – like I would just give up and let people think I’m pregnant sometimes.  The bloating lasted a few hours, and then deflated again.  Sometimes there would be gas, but usually not.  My research over the last several days indicates that in some people the gas that’s produced can escape through your breath or in the form of belching.  And there’s definitely been a lot of that.  The piece that didn’t fit for me was that my stools have been pretty perfect for months and months.  In the past I’ve had constipation – off and on for about 10 years actually – but recently things have been really good.  I’m not sure if that’s unusual or not with SIBO – According to Dr. Siebecker, hydrogen producing bacteria in the small intestine typically produce diarrhea (D) and methane producing bacteria lead to constipation (C).  So how come I had neither one?  No doctor to test me, so I guessed and just started throwing herbs at it.

As I mentioned previously I’ve been taking Oregano Oil, Allicin, and Berberine.  I’ve been doing some research on these herbs, mostly through websites, youtube videos, and this book by Stephan Buhner. The Allicin is supposed to be most effective against “bad” bacteria, and is great for treating methane-producing SIBO.  Berberine is also effective against “bad” bacteria (while sparing the “good” bugs) and is supposed to be great for treating hydrogen-producing SIBO.  Oregano oil is more of an all-purpose killer, killing good, bad, and ugly – but this is necessary because typically the flora that has migrated to the small intestine would be considered “good”  – it’s just in the wrong place.

Again, here are the doses and schedule I’ve been using:

  • Allimed (pure allicin) – 8 drops 3x a day. 
  • Oregano oil – 3 drops 3x a day
  • Berberine – 5g a day, divided into 3 doses

So here’s what I’ve noticed after 2 weeks of this.

1.  My perfect stools are gone – hopefully temporarily – and things are trending much more in the direction of D., over the last 3 days.  I’m not sure why this happened, and can’t find resources to explain it to me, so what i’m thinking is this:  I think before I started my SIBO was probably balanced between hydrogen producing and methane producing bacteria, and the methane producers have been more effectively killed off first, leaving the hydrogen producers.  Dr. Siebecker says herbal antibiotics take a month to work fully, so I’m going to continue all three herbs for now, but I’m eliminating one of the doses of Allicin.  So for now, I’m changing to the following dosing schedule:

  • Allimed (pure allicin) – 8 drops 2x a day.
  • Oregano oil – 3 drops 3x a day
  • Berberine – 5g a day, divided into 3 doses

2. My bloating is much improved.  I could eat nothing with even a trace of sugar or starch in it 2 weeks ago without looking like I’ve hidden a basketball under my shirt.  Now bloating is about half gone.  Still there though.

3.  My stomach makes more noise now.  It doesn’t hurt or anything.  Just noticing it.

4.  My fasting blood sugar is dropping.  Before I started this my fasting sugar was averaging around 155 (and yes, I know that’s really high).  Tested it yesterday and it was in the 130s for the first time in at least a few months.

5.  My energy and mood are consistently good now.  Fatigue is 90% gone,

6. My appetite is dropping.  I used to snack all day long.  I don’t feel the urge to do that anymore.  The scale is down a couple pounds, but still within a range that’s typical for me these days.  I think what’s going on is my blood sugar is more stable so the need to snack is lower.  Berberine is supposed to have an effect on lowering blood sugar, so maybe that’s what’s going on.

So, aside from the change in bowel production and my stomach making more noise everything is better.  I’ve started taking 1 capsule of Betaine HCL with high-protein meals.  That may account for the noisy stomach thing.  Not sure.

Will continue to update with further progress.

Edited to add…

I forgot to mention I ordered a really fancy (read: expensive) probiotic – GutPro – which contains the 3 strains of bacteria that Dr. Siebecker says are good for treating SIBO. This is the only brand I could find that contained all of them.  Plus, this probiotic formula contains no prebiotic.  It’s important for those with SIBO to know that prebiotics are often packaged into the probiotics, which is fine for most people, but if you have SIBO it can feed the bugs living in the small intestine.  This is what happened to me when I tried consuming potato starch, inulin, FOS, and other probiotics containing these.  GutPro contains the following strains (the ones recommended by Dr. S are in bold):

  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium lactis

Ok, done now.

10 thoughts on “SIBO Rx – End of Week 2

  1. Excellent. Like your energy going up. Would be nice to get some numbers (serotonin, D-lactate urine) along the ride but still good.

    Berberine is like 400 mg a capsule? Taking 5 gms a day? Which brand? I think I might give it a shot too.

    Diet sounds pretty good. You should be able to handle lactose free milk now. Once the SIBO is gone you should be able to handle some starches also. Would be nice to get a ubiome study done to see the changes.

    Dont you think the fasting glucose is really an inflammatory/stress response? Its not really the sugar you ate for dinner.

  2. Seems like the herbs are helping against the SIBO, but I would also be concerned about your blood sugar levels, which are in the diabetic range. It would make sense for you to look into dietary approaches to getting rid of diabetes. There are two types approaches that have had success, and they are somewhat opposite to each other – a high carb low fat approach, and a low carb high fat approach. Middle-of-the-road approaches seem to be less effective and seem to require sticking to only low-glycemic sources of carbs, which generally means no fruit juices. When I was struggling with high blood sugar myself, the approach that I found most successful was to eat carb foods and fat foods separately. Eating them together would result in prolonged high blood sugar levels and high fasting blood sugars the next day. The only way to get it under control was for me to eat only non-starchy carbs (basically fruit and juice) and to eat it on an empty stomach separate from other foods, and then to eat my protein & fat foods at a separate time without eating any carbs at the same time, which is still satisfying as long as one fills up on those foods. A modest amount of carbs can then be eaten later, after the protein & fat have been largely digested. Given your blood sugar levels, you are dealing with insulin resistance, so you will need try to limit large, sustained spikes in insulin in order to overcome this. Fasting would also be helpful since it would allow your blood sugar to gradually fall and give your body a chance to have low insulin levels while you are fasting. Good luck!

  3. The drop in blood sugar that you’ve seen so far is probably from following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, avoiding starches & lactose. If you are lucky, then that might be enough to allow your fasting blood sugar to continue falling, especially if you do some exercise, but otherwise you might want to do more work (as I suggested above) to get the blood sugar lower so that it doesn’t cause problems (ie diabetic symptoms) over time.

  4. Great Post! Thank you for taking the time to chronicle your journey, It has been very informative. I am having another severe bout of bloat with foul smelling belching. I have not done the breath test yet, no insurance at the moment, but holistic chiro was very good at asking and listening to my issues. he recommended doing a potato test and then recommending the following treatment/protocol below. the treatment seemed to have worked as far as the severe bloat, and I also stayed on the SCD protocol for over 6 months and I felt really good. Then the holidays came and I started back on the sugars and breads. This week I thought I would die after making scalloped potatoes with ham. I bloated like I was 9 months pregnant within 10 minutes of eating and could not pass gas. I could belch but not enough to relieve the gas.

    Today I have started the oregano oil protocol again and the SCD diet. I will add the herbs you are using in your protocol as soon as I can order it to see if I can kill these bugs for good.

    This seems to be a new way of life for me. I must have had this issue for over 15 years and did not realize what it was. It has only been the last 3 years that the constipation, indigestion, belching, bloating, and passing gas have gotten this severe. This started after being on a round of antibiotics for shingles.

    ————————————————————————————————–

    A. 4 weeks of Oil of Oregano—daily (pill form, depending on brand)
    DOSAGE: 3 pills/day for 1 week (spread through the day like taking antibiotics), then 2 pills/day for 1 week (spread through the day like taking antibiotics), then 1 pill/day for 2 weeks
    B. 4-6 weeks of psyllium husk powder/Increased fiber (psyllium husk powder, any brand, preferably organic if you can find it; pill-form seems to be easier to swallow for most people);
    DOSAGE amount as recommended on product: 2x/day for 1st two weeks (1x only if you already have a high-fiber/high vegetable diet), then 1x/day for 2-4 weeks (if you get constipated/bloated, cut back by half); if using powder form, drink quickly as psyllium tends to get gelatinous quickly; can mix with juice or water.
    [you might want to continue the fiber supplement indefinitely if you have a family history of colon cancer/polyps for extra prevention, as long as your body can tolerate it.]
    C. After two weeks of (A. + B.), then start 2 months of probiotic supplement;
    DOSAGE: try 20-30 billion organisms/capsule: 1 pill 3x/day for 2wks, then 2x/day for 2 weeks, then 1pill 1x/day for 4 weeks (2 months total)
    D. At this point, you can do/re-do the potato test and see if you get any bloating.

  5. Hi Valerie – I did test for SIBO some months back and turns out I didn’t have it after all. It really pays to get the right diagnosis (or at least eliminate the wrong ones). I spent a lot of money chasing SIBO treatments when my problem seems to be in the large intestine, and isn’t fixed yet after many different herbal antibiotics. Good luck – I hope you do find your path to health. 🙂

  6. Thank you Lanie for your response.

    I am glad you finally found your diagnosis.

    I have just moved to Minnesota and am in search of a doctor. I had been going to military contracted docs for the past 24 years and was blown off most of the time. The only doc I felt listened was a Chinese doc, but unfortunately she left before I had the opportunity to ask for the proper testing. I have been doing a lot of research on my own the past few months and your site has been very helpful. I heard what you said and I will ensure I get the breath testing done as soon as I find the right doctor.

    Have a blessed day. Valerie

  7. Thank you for sharing this! This is exactly what I was looking for…someone going thru it, and their day to day experience during the cure. Can’t be TMI for me! I’m going thru my 2nd round myself (or herbal antibiotics-same ones-tho allimax 450 pills for the allicin) and today woke to my first lesser bloated morning..what an amazing thing! Still bloated, but yah -not pregnant and SO uncomfortable. What an experience this whole thing is, huh? I’ve had this at least 2 years now…even while in ketosis 6 months. Fully agree diet won’t cure this (but of course I didn’t know I had SIBO back then either-breath tested positive Nov 2015 by an integrative medicine doctor). So anyway, I react to all bone broths even, every single thing I put in my mouth bloats me, eating has been a REAL CHALLENGE. I hope it’s true that we’re not supposed to starve SIBO..b/c I would have done that, anything to heal, but everything I read said prohibited-not helpful. Looking forward to more of your posts-pls keep titling them the way you do -it makes what you’re offering explicit and makes you easy to find..you’re so helpful to a lot of us lost out there b/c the docs really don’t have a handle on it-not the diet-not the cure-it’s new tho it’s at least 4 yrs old that I know of ..and wow, while Allison Siebecker gives away her cure for free (bless her x10 million!), it’s like no one gives away their personal experience/answer the same way, just many for sale. Bless you Lanie, I’m going to read the comments now-there should be some good helps there too. This kind of posting does such a world of good! Happy Sunday, 🙂 C

  8. My symptoms are near exact to yours, no other gastro symptoms beyond extreme bloating, it seems like after eating almost anything. About 6 months ago I started throwing berberine and betaine HCL at it and after about a month, the bloating calmed down, never completely gone, but not interfering with daily life. I gradually stopped taking the supplements, things seemed ok until a 10 day eat-and-drink-a-thon in Europe where I had many, many delicious beers and French pastries & had the bloating and belching to greet me upon arrival when I returned home. No idea if the Europe trip actually brought suspected SIBO back or what (I also suspect running- which I started promptly upon return from Europe- may play a role but haven’t researched enough to say with any confidence).

  9. Hi Katherine – That’s interesting. I didn’t have good effects from Berberine or betaine HCL, but I firmly believe we’re all physiologically unique and what works for one person may not work for another. I found eating a low-carb diet got rid of the symptom but it came back again when I started eating sugar/starch. My doc has me on antifungals at the moment – he says that even if I don’t test high for yeast I could still be sensitive to the mycotoxins produced by yeast. We’ll see what the outcome is in 2 months of taking diflucan/nystatin and following a sugar free/starch free/yeast free diet.

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