Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition that causes heartburn and acid reflux.  It occurs when a specific strain of bacteria overgrows the others. SIBO disturbs the balance of microorganisms inside your small intestine. 

Human Body And Bacteria

Your body consists of 100 biljon cells. For each human cell , you carry 10 bacterial cells.  In other words, you are ten parts microbe and one part human. Colonies of bacteria depend on you to survive, but you need these tiny bugs for your health. Without intestinal bacteria, you wouldn't be able to digest food.

Compulsively washing your hands or spraying your countertops doesn't make any sense.

You can't avoid contact with the bacterial world, since you are a part of it. From birth, you live in symbiosis with your own network of invisible bacteria. 

Bacteria In Digestive Tract

Bacteria In Stomach

Your stomach is not the place where bacteria survive and develop. The high level of acid makes it a harsh place to survive in.   The challenge for bacteria is to survive the trip to your stomach in order to reach your small intestine and gut.

Small Intestine

A mix of different types of bacteria inhabit your small intestine.  They are constantly constantly battling to establish dominance in your intestines.  Some strains of bacteria grow on fat, others like proteins and others feed on carbohydrates.  Your diet determines which bacteria end up colonizing your intestines.


Billions of bacteria grow in your colon. Your gut flora forms an ecosystem that takes care of your health. Bacteria break down food and kill invading bacteria. Via chemical messengers, they even manage to communicate with your brain.  Bacteria can produce food cravings and dictate your brain to sway your appetite and mood. 

Carbs Cause Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth 

Carb-loving bacteria ferment sugars. Fermentation produces gas. Eating too much carbs makes these bacteria grow rapidly and their gas production makes your small intestine pressure rise.

The raised pressure starts pushing:

  • UPWARDS: Small intestinal gas pushes stomach content out of your stomach into your throat. Research confirms that eating carbs worsens acid reflux. Carbs lead to bacterial fermentation and cause heartburn.
  • DOWN:  An amount of gas is released further down in your bowel. Swollen intestines irritate your bowel and cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome: bloated feeling, gas, bouts of diarrhea or constipation 

Diet To Stop Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth

Low Carb Diet

A diet rich in fruits and veggies nourishes the right bacterial strains to cultivate  a healthy mix of bacteria in your colon and your small intestine.

Eating your portion of fruit and vegetables per day isn't enough.  With every meal, an army of microorganisms are fed inside your gut. Eating too much carbs makes carb-loving bacteria too strong and disturbs the ecosystem inside your gut and small intestine. To avoid overgrowth of bacteria, you need to cut back on carbs.

Paleo Diet

Small intestine bacterial overgrowth causes acid reflux. Changing your diet means a different nourishment for your intestinal bacteria. By eating less processed foods and carbs, you can starve the bacterial strains that make you sick.

To feed the other strains of bacteria, you need to eat lots of veggies, nuts, seeds and some fruit.  

Go back to basics and eat what your body is designed for.  An acid reflux diet creates healthy intestinal flora.  Satisfying meals, stuffed with meat, seafood, owl, vegetabales, fruits, nuts and seeds. 

Bacterial Overgrowth Breath Test

Small levels of bacteria are normally present in the small intestine. Higher levels of bacteria can be detected with a bacterial overgrowth breath test.  

Your small intestine is hard to examine via endoscopy. A gastroscopy only reaches into the top portion, and a colonoscopy doesn't reach further than your large intestine.

To perform a bacterial overgrowth breath test, you need to drink a sugar solution. The sugar stimulates bacterial fermentation. Bacteria in your small intestine expel hydrogen gas and methane gas. The test shows the amount of bacterial activity by measuring these two gasses. 

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