Wow! How much has changed in our world since I last wrote a post for you? Many of you are presently personal- or social-isolating and feel very disconnected from the world at large. I get it. I’m feeling that way too and I’m an introvert.
Anyway, this month is another SIBO blog post. With all the changes going on in our local hospitals to prepare for the increased burden on the healthcare system, my GI appointments that were scheduled for April, well, they’ve been cancelled. When the booking person called to cancel all three appointments, I asked what happens now. The response — you go back on the waitlist. What!?! I waited two years to make it this far, but it looks like it will be quite a while until I out of this imposed limbo.
I can make some decisions that will move me forward in a positive direction. I decided to work with the SIBO-specialist naturopath. Armed with the results from my most recent SIBO breath test, I know I managed to finally knock down the methaogens, at long last. I am now considered hydrogen-dominant SIBO. With the methanogen population lower, the bacteria producing the hydrogen have been revealed — they are very high.
You see, the methanogens feed themselves with the hydrogen produced by the hydrogen-producing bacteria. So until the methanogens are reduced, it hard to know how large a population of hydrogen bacteria are present. We now know — lots! My methane number dropped from 37 ppm (that’s really high) to 13 ppm, while hydrogen went from 3 ppm to 108 ppm. Yep, you read that correctly.
My SIBO protocol shifted from methane-dominant to hydrogen-dominant. According to the naturopath, it could take 5-6 two-week rounds of killing to reduce the bacteria population producing the hydrogen. As of this writing, I am halfway through the first of those multiple-week rounds.
How will I know if I’ve made progress in another 3 months (or so)? With another SIBO breath test most likely, whether by the GI specialist or out of pocket again.
And things are changing in the SIBO world of research too. Dr. Pimintel co-published a paper in the American College of Gastroenterology in January 2020. In this paper, SIBO has new clinical guidelines on how SIBO is being defined. In the past, you had SIBO-D (hydrogen dominant) and SIBO-C (methane dominant). Since methane-dominant SIBO is not a bacteria causing the gas, Dr. Pimintel and Dr. Rao proposed a name change. After all, the ‘B’ in SIBO is bacterial. The colonized critters producing the methane are called methanogens or Archaea. Thus the new name is Intestinal Methanogen Overgrowth (IMO). This new terminology will better reflect a distinction between SIBO — bacteria colonization — from IMO — methanogen colonization.
SIBO Protocol – Month 3 Moving Onward
As I hinted to earlier in this post, I have many more “killing” months ahead of me, if I want to rid myself of the overgrowth in my small intestine. During the first two months, I used Dr. Pompa’s SIBO/SIYO protocol. Now that I am working with a naturopath, I will be following her recommendations. She uses herbal killers and biofilm buster on a two-week rotation of products. Month three of SIBO killing used a few products I’ve used previously plus a few new ones. The best part is there are fewer products to figure out their timing, as in with or without food.
Herbal Killers Used:
- Dr. Shannon Morgenstern’s SIBO Killing Tincture (tastes disgusting)
- Designs for Health Oil of Oregano
Biofilm Buster Used:
- Dr. Shannon Morgenstern’s Biofilm Disruptor Capsules
Prokinetics Used: Dr. Shannon recommended using castor oil packs for 20 minutes most days to promote or improve the migrating motor complex (MMC). However, I have chosen to use BIND at night because I have noted less morning distention or bloating. BIND is a super-activated carbon that binds to toxins and prevents retoxification. Essentially, BIND escorts the toxins out of the body.
- Systemic Formulas BIND (Revelation Health) — only at bedtime
As with any product used in SIBO, they need to be rotated/changed. This month I am using Microbiome Labs Mega Sporebiotic.
Month 3 Success and Challenges
Diet-wise, I loosen up on what I permitted myself to eat. I lean more to a well-formulated ketogenic diet with a heavier emphasis on protein and fat. With a few weeks under my belt, I have decided to be more keto-carnivore with fewer “extras” in the way of plant-based milk substitutes and sugar substitutes (monk fruit, stevia or sugar alcohols).
Dr. Shannon did request that I include a few higher FODMAP foods to allow the biofilm disrupter to have a better opportunity of doing its job. In experimenting with higher FODMAP foods, I discovered I have some negative responses when I include them. When I decide to include them, I first look them up on Monash University FODMAP Diet App. Using the app, I can establish the correct amount that may or may not cause negative symptoms like bloating, burping, gas and/or distention. For example, if I want to have asparagus, I can eat 1 spear (maybe 2) without having symptoms. It has been a try-and-let’s-see trial and error. Or baby Portobello mushrooms, which sadly suggests only one mushroom — it’s high in mannitol, a high FODMAP sugar alcohol (P-polyols).
Digestively, my bloating, burping and distention are almost gone. When I do have bloating and/or distention, it is later in the day and only if I’ve overindulged in carbs (think keto-friendly treats) or other higher FODMAP foods (these usually don’t take much). If I’m feeling bloated or distended at bedtime, I take BIND and by morning all is improved. I still wake in the morning with a flat abdomen, which is my measurement for getting ahead of the SIBO symptoms. Overall, I continue to move in the right direction of feeling better than seventy-five percent and moving to eighty or eighty-five percent better.
Next Steps for You
Just because you are housebound does not mean you cannot take your first step towards improving your health and wellbeing. I would say now is a perfect time to make changes because you can put your time and energy into making those changes.
I can offer you nutritional support and/or coaching from the convenience of your own home using FaceTime or Zoom. Reach out today to schedule a free 20-minute Discovery Chat to discuss your next steps on your wellness journey. Why leave your health to another day.