Some of the most popular blog posts on this website pertain to SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). Interestingly, these posts were talking about my experience with SIBO and how I’ve worked to overcome the symptoms with diet, pharmaceuticals and herbals.
Well, I can honestly say that I’m not sure if SIBO ever really goes away. I was diagnosed in 2016. In 2019, I choose to not “do” anything to resolve the SIBO symptoms of bloating, belching, distention and digestive dysfunction. However, I will say that I did manage my food choices to include those foods that made me feel better digestively and gave me energy. Sometimes, I would experience digestive distress and I found on those days I was usually more stressed that usual. So yes, stress seems to be a trigger for my SIBO symptoms.
Another reason I chose to do nothing specific in 2019 was I have been waiting to see a gastroenterologist for over 18 months (yep, you read that correctly) and am still waiting. My healthcare practitioner has received a letter to state that I am “on the list”. I chose not to pay for any further breath tests and the numerous supplements, pharmaceuticals and herbals. Basically, I chose to live with the symptoms and manage them to the best of my ability and knowledge level.
I’ve decided that I can no longer wait for the Alberta healthcare system to work for me. My plan for 2020 is to implement Dr Daniel Pompa’s SIBO protocol because I am tired of being tired and not feeling my best. His protocol is similar to many healthcare providers on the internet. So why follow his protocol? Well, I have been following his work for a while and trust what he has to offer for suggestions and direction.
Each month I will update how the previous month’s SIBO protocol went for me. My current plan is to do at least 2 months, which is recommended for moderate to severe SIBO. However, I am leaning towards doing a third month, if my symptoms suggest I should do so. My previous breath testings would suggest I fall into the moderate to severe SIBO category.
Month 1 of Using Dr Pompa’s 3 Step SIBO & SIYO Guide
I followed the recommended carnivore diet beyond the recommended 7-14 days (zero carbs and fibre) because I felt great with no digestive upset! I eventually modified the basic carnivore diet to include full-fat dairy (The Carnivore Cookbook calls this Level 3 Carnivore) and then added some spices which tipped it into level 4 Carnivore. Dr Pompa does recommend introducing low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides (fructans, galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and polyols (sugar alcohols) foods after those initial days of carnivore, but I know from my past that I react to many of those fermentable carbohydrates (especially monosaccharides like fructose).
Herbal Killers Used:
- Designs for Health Allicillin
- Designs for Health Oregano
Biofilm Buster Used: Interfase Plus from Klaire Labs
Month 1 Success and Challenges
I decided to complete a 5-day water fast (check out Dr Pompa’s new book, Beyond Fasting, for more information or his Facebook page called Fasting With A Purpose) as in previous water fasts I had experienced significant improvements in my gut health and being able to add foods back into my diet. [NOTE: Do not dive into a strict 5-day water fast protocol without assistance from a healthcare provider or nutritional consultant.] As I expected, I once again felt great digestively after completing my fast and gradually reintroducing food over the following couple of days.
After I had returned to eating “real” food, I started the carnivore diet level 2 (all meats, all fats and salt) but moved quickly into level 3, so I could include eggs (more specifically duck eggs as chicken eggs and I don’t play well together). I stumbled around finding my way and fell into a rhythm that continues to work well for me.
Digestively, my bloating, burping and distention basically disappeared. I wake in the morning with a flat abdomen — this is my first sign that the SIBO bugs aren’t producing methane or hydrogen gases. I lost some of the inflammation too. Beyond the SIBO protocol supplements, I haven’t needed many supplements, if any. Initially I did add digestive enzymes and some betaine HCl to help digest the protein. However, I soon didn’t need to add anything. My body was producing what it needed and I felt great.
With my Oura ring, I have been tracking my sleep closely this month. I’ve seen my nightly heart rate lower, my REM and deep sleep percentages greatly increase, and I am waking ready to tackle the new day. And my deep sleep in the first part of my sleep cycles instead of just before waking like it was. What a change from a month ago!
- Improved digestion — check
- Improved sleep — check
- Improved memory recall and overall mind clarity — bonus and check
- Improving energy, especially as I’ve become keto-adapted — check
Right now, the successes offset the challenges I had in the initial days of this protocol. I am very excited to see where things go from here. I am continuing into Step 2 of this SIBO protocol, which adds in “spore” forms of probiotics.
Onward to Step 2 (in this case, Month 2)…