The Truth Behind SIBO – Part 2


Written by Clare Abercrombie Part 1 of our discussion on SIBO shed some light on the function of our small intestine, how we get a bacterial overgrowth in our small intestines, common symptoms of SIBO, and diagnostic testing. We know SIBO is caused my bacterial dysbiosis or lack of biodiversity of microorganisms within the small intestine. We know that common symptoms of SIBO include gas, bloating, acid reflux, foul breath, nausea, diarrhea, constipation. If left untreated SIBO can cause serious health implications especially due to vitamin deficiencies. But, how do we treat this complex disease both conventionally and alternatively, keeping in mind a holistic and safe approach? Philadelphia Integrative Medicine focuses on cutting-edge and evidence based approaches to treating the root cause of SIBO. During some of our most recent round table discussions at PIM, we’ve explored innovative, safe, and effective treatments options to treat SIBO and prevent reoccurrence.



Conventional approaches to treating SIBO are frequent rounds of antibiotics, dietary changes, and surgery. The antibiotics aim to eliminate the bacterial overgrowth within the small intestine, but tend to clear out probiotics within your body as well. This course of treatment leaves environments within our bodies susceptible to pathogenic bacterial overgrowth and SIBO reoccurrence. Often times, the conventional approach which is antibiotic driven, has a low success rate and high rate of SIBO reoccurrence. Aside from this, multiple courses of antibiotics lead to a lowered immune system.


Utilizing specific antibacterial herbs that target particular bacterial species has proven to be successful in eliminating bacterial overgrowths throughout the body. Through the specialized breath test, we pinpoint which type of bacterial overgrowth a patient is experiencing. Certain species of bacteria produce high levels of hydrogen gas while others produce high levels of methane. These slight differences in gas output gives us insight as to which antimicrobial agent we will use in your treatment.

Vitamin Supplementation

While identifying the root cause of SIBO within a patient, it is important to address vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by the condition. SIBO prevents absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. Once you are diagnosed with SIBO it is important to get a micronutrient test completed to assess and deficiencies within your body. While undergoing treatment for SIBO, we encourage you to supplement with particular vitamins and minerals in which you are deficient. Common deficiencies correlated with SIBO include but are not limited to: B12, fat-soluble vitamins (D, E, K), calcium and magnesium.

Nutrition and Diet

Introducing probiotic and prebiotic foods while eliminating foods that contain refined carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners helps to eliminate the parasitic bacteria overgrowing in your small intestine. Eliminating carb heavy foods along with artificially sweetened product will leave the SIBO species devoid of a food source. The bacteria that overgrow within the small intestine and cause SIBO tend to love sugar products. Minimizing foods with high levels of naturally occurring sugar, like certain fruits, could be beneficial while undergoing treatment. Unless you are on a plant based diet, we recommend temporarily reducing high fiber foods which support sugar fermentation within the malfunctioning small intestine. What can you eat? Organic grass-fed meat, wild caught fish, organic free range chicken and turkey, “good fats” like extra virgin coconut and olive oils, ghee, avocados, homemade organic yogurt, raw grass-fed organic dairy products, large amounts of organic vegetables including: dark leafy greens, beets, eggplant, mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, celery, cauliflower, beans, pumpkin, and squash.


Herbs tend to have overall medicinal and wellbeing qualities to them and are rich in vitamins and micronutrients. Incorporating more fresh organic herbs and spices to your meals may help to heal your gut while promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. SIBO may be caused by motility disorders within the intestine. A great herbal treatment to stabilizing motility dysfunction is licorice.

Remember this key piece to eliminating SIBO for good: remove the parasitic bacterial species, restore immune health and microbial balance, and rebuild a health gut lining. Following an integrative approach to treating SIBO includes a multifaceted approach that incorporates the least invasive and most effective response to such a complex health condition!

Come meet our the PIM Team including our Nutritionists as we discuss Foods that Fight Stress on December 6th, 6:30-8:00PM at the Tredyffrin Public Library, 582 Upper Gulph Road Strafford, PA 19087. Admission is free!