Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a type of imbalance in the gut in which too many bacteria end up in the small intestine.
In this article, we’ll review our favorite SIBO probiotic to help treat this condition.
What is SIBO?
SIBO occurs when too many bacteria end up in your small intestine instead of the colon. SIBO may be caused by low stomach acid, an episode of food poisoning, or recurrent antibiotic use. Many people with SIBO experience GI symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea/constipation, and heartburn. However, individuals with SIBO can also present primarily with non-GI symptoms like fatigue, allergies, anxiety, and more.
Your doctor may diagnose SIBO with a breath test or a combination of clinical symptoms and a stool test. However, SIBO is not well understood by many conventional providers. We recommend seeking a doctor well-versed in identifying and treating SIBO. Learn more about our functional medicine approach at Root
How to Treat SIBO
SIBO is associated with many different health conditions. For instance, we’ve previously written about the relationship between SIBO and acne
. Like other gut issues, SIBO is a tricky condition that requires a specific protocol in order to treat the root cause and not exacerbate symptoms. We use a 5R protocol that aims to
- reduce bacterial overgrowth;
- replace any missing digestive components (like enzymes, bile, or stomach acid);
- repair the intestinal wall;
- reinoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria;
- and rebalance your lifestyle to sustain these changes.
As you can see in the 5R approach, we do not use SIBO probiotics until the fourth step! While some steps may overlap, reintroducing probiotics too soon may do more harm than good.
Supplement Protocol for SIBO
Root’s supplement protocol* for SIBO follows the 5R protocol and may include:
- Microbiome Balance: 1 capsule each morning before breakfast to gently remove overgrowth (1 bottle)
- Root Digestive Enzymes: 1 with each large meal up to three times a day for about 3 months or as desired
- Gut Health Rebalance: 1 scoop in water daily taken for about 3 months or as desired
- SIBO Probiotic: 3 capsules each night for about 3 months or as desired.
*We do not use this protocol during pregnancy. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
We may also recommend a short-term low-FODMAP diet
for individuals with SIBO as this can help reduce bacterial overgrowth (1
Probiotics are a useful intervention to treat SIBO if introduced correctly (3
). Once we reduce overgrowth, replace missing or low digestive factors, and start healing the gut lining, then we introduce our SIBO probiotic. Probiotics are live bacteria that provide health benefits as they travel through the gut. Most probiotics cannot survive the harsh environment of your GI tract. However, spore-based probiotics
are encapsulated with a hard shell, or endospore, making them very stable and highly resistant to extreme conditions. Our favorite SIBO probiotic
contains three different strains of spore-based probiotics for optimal results. These bacillus
strains may produce enzymes that facilitate digestion, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, and significantly benefit the immune system (4
The probiotic we use for SIBO also contains a gut-healing ingredient called immunoglobulins. These immunoglobulins are proteins that help the immune system fight off harmful bacteria, pathogens, and parasites within the gut (6
We may use our SIBO probiotic as either step 4 of our protocol or as a combination of the remove, repair, and reinoculate steps, because of its benefits in gently rebalancing the microbiome while protecting the gut cell lining. Our SIBO probiotic is also a nice stand alone supplement (used in conjunction with a gut healthy diet) for the prevention of SIBO recurrence.
Probiotics are Helpful for SIBO
Individuals with SIBO benefit most from a long-term strategy versus a quick fix. Gut conditions such as these may require many months of diet and supplemental support. SIBO probiotics are an important component of our approach to treat SIBO from the root cause. The probiotic we use most often for SIBO contains three spore-based probiotic strains and immune boosting immunoglobulins.