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Home / News / What Is SIBO? How Your Diet Can Help
What Is SIBO? How Your Diet Can Help

What Is SIBO? How Your Diet Can Help

Are you experiencing excessive gas, abdominal pain, non-stop belly bloat, constipation, or diarrhea? If so, the little critters living in your gut could be to blame. Of course, several things could be causing you digestive discomfort, but one of the lesser-known culprits is known as SIBO — aka, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. 

Despite not being as infamous as leaky gut, celiac disease, or other GI conditions like acid reflux (yet), SIBO is beginning to pop up with all the new research coming out about gut health, gastroenterology, and the microbiome. 

If you’re new to the party, gut health has been linked to everything from chronic conditions and ailments to poor quality of life and even the diagnosis of life-threatening diseases. In other words, keeping your digestive tract in tip-top shape is of the utmost importance! 

Of course, this is much easier said than done, but don’t worry. Uprising Food is here to help.

In this post, we’re exploring the digestive tract to discover what SIBO is and how your diet might just be the solution to find relief. 


First, Let’s Talk a Bit About Gut Health 

Did you know that the gut is often referred to as the body’s second brain? Yep, it’s true — and when you have an unhealthy gut, it can take a major toll on your entire body in more ways than one. 

For this reason, good gut health has become a pretty buzzy topic over the last couple of years, especially in the realm of social media and in the blogosphere. It’s pretty challenging to scroll through your feed these days and not get bombarded with at least one “magic gut healing” supplement (#EyeRoll).  

That said, what exactly is good gut health, anyway?

Good gut health refers to how effectively the body can carry out digestive functions without complications like symptoms of discomfort and bloating. 

But that’s not all; the concept of good gut health also includes the makeup of the trillions of little microorganisms that live in your gut. 


What Is The Gut Microbiome? 

Chances are you’ve heard the term “gut microbiome” get tossed around. After all, it’s become just about as commonplace as “ashwagandha” in this day and age — but what does it mean?

The gut microbiome refers to the trillions of itty-bitty microscopic living things (both “good” and “bad”) that exist mainly inside your intestines. 

There are around 1,000 species of bacteria in the gut microbiome, and each plays a different role in the body. Most are essential to your health, absorption of nutrients, and digestion, while some may contribute to diseases like diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease.   

“Good” vs. “Bad” Microorganisms

Of the trillions of little critters living in your digestive tract, some are “good,” and some are “bad.” 

When the “good” guys (aka, probiotics) outnumber the “bad” guys (aka, pathogens), your gut can maintain a happy balance to keep your immune system working optimally. On the other hand, when there’s an overgrowth of the bad microbes, digestive troubles are sure to follow suit.     


So, What Exactly Is SIBO? 

SIBO refers to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. 

For the longest time, it was thought that the small intestine was sterile. But as research continued and technology improved, scientists found that a healthy small intestine does, in fact, have a tiny microbial community — keyword here being “tiny.” 

While a tiny number of these microbes in the small intestine are okay for gut health, most of them belong in the large intestine. 

SIBO is diagnosed when there’s an unusual increase in the overall population of bacteria within the small intestine, typically due to low stomach acid. When this happens, it can lead to symptoms of SIBO like poor nutrient absorption, reactions commonly associated with irritable bowel syndrome, and may even lead to damage of the stomach lining. 


What Are Some Signs You May Have SIBO? 

As with many other digestive conditions, it can be pretty tricky to identify SIBO because the symptoms tend to overlap with many other GI issues. People with scleroderma, shortened colon, or small bowel diverticulosis may be more likely to develop SIBO than others.

With that in mind, if you notice any of the symptoms below, make an appointment with a healthcare provider who can run tests to determine if you’re dealing with a bacteria overgrowth in your small intestine or something else. 

  • Excess gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Cramps
  • Distention
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Feeling uncomfortably full after eating 

More severe cases may cause weight loss and even vitamin deficiency-related symptoms due to malnutrition, as SIBO can prevent your body from absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B12, or iron.


Can SIBO Be Cured?

SIBO is an extremely complex digestive condition that calls for multiple interventions to kick it to the curb. In most cases, it’s chronic, requiring regular intervals of testing and retesting as well as cyclical treatment. 

If you’ve tested positive for SIBO, your doctor will likely start you on antibiotic medications, but unfortunately, this doesn’t always seem to do the trick. 

From there, stress-reduction practices and lifestyle changes are typically recommended. Your doctor also might recommend dietary interventions meant to shrink the bacterial populations in the digestive system. 

In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to help correct the issues causing your SIBO.


What Is the SIBO Diet?

While there are many options for a SIBO diet, keep in mind that the bacterial makeup of your digestive tract is unique. Everyone is different, so find which foods trigger your symptoms specifically and develop a solid dietary approach that works best for you!

Three SIBO diets are commonly used today:

Each of these special diets is an elimination diet designed to remove fermentable foods that may trigger a SIBO flare-up. Of the bunch, the low FODMAPs diet is the least restrictive, with the elemental diet being the most extreme, replacing all normal foods with a liquid meal replacement. 


How To Prevent a Recurrence

As mentioned a little earlier, SIBO can be a chronic issue that recurs often. But don’t worry. There are some things you can do that may help reduce your risk of a recurrence, such as:

  • Avoiding all fermented food
  • Loading up on prebiotic fiber
  • Steering clear of processed, sugary foods and refined carbs
  • Saying no to traditional white bread (which is highly processed) and yes to gluten-free Uprising Superfood Bread
  • Considering intermittent fasting
  • Eating a diet rich in healthy whole foods jam-packed with good-for-your-gut nutrients, like Uprising Food Superfood Freedom Chips
  • Staying away from any kind of sugar alcohol like sorbitol

In addition to following these tips, it’s wise to keep a food journal on hand to write down everything you eat on your journey to healing your gut. A journal will help you get a better sense of the relationship between the foods you consume and the symptoms that you experience. 


Conclusion 

So, can a healthy diet cure SIBO?

Not exactly. The role of making dietary changes is to help manage your unpleasant symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation. 

The goal of a SIBO diet is figuring out which foods are triggering your discomfort to create a dietary approach that works for you and keeps flare-ups at bay.

While diet alone won’t cure SIBO, it can help you restore or maintain gut bacterial balance, so at the end of the day, you’ll feel better. And feeling better is one step closer to kicking SIBO to the curb.

While everyone is unique, most folks with SIBO find highly processed foods like white bread are major culprits behind their flare-ups. 

These poor souls tend to give up bread for good in an attempt to heal their gut. And while we commend them on their dedication, we’re proud to say that with our delicious Uprising Food Superfood Bread, those with SIBO can finally put bread back on the menu. SIBO patients, rejoice!

Gluten-free, paleo-approved, zero-added sugar and only two net carbs per serving — not only will our mouth-watering artisan-baked bread satisfy your craving, but it will help to keep you feeling great, too. 

Sources: 

The Risks and Benefits of Probiotics | Consumer Reports

The Integrative Human Microbiome Project: dynamic analysis of microbiome-host omics profiles during periods of human health and disease | PubMed

The small intestine microbiota, nutritional modulation and relevance for health | PubMed

The low FODMAP diet: recent advances in understanding its mechanisms and efficacy in IBS | PubMed

Nutritional therapy in pediatric Crohn disease: the specific carbohydrate diet | PubMed

A 14-day elemental diet is highly effective in normalizing the lactulose breath test | PubMed

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