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Fasting can help relieve Sibo (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Fasting- a promising strategy to help treat Sibo

As a Naturopathic practitioner specializing in digestive health, I have encountered numerous patients struggling with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO is a condition characterized by an abnormal increase in the number and/or type of bacteria in the small intestine, which can lead to various digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and malabsorption of nutrients. While there are several treatment approaches for treating SIBO, one emerging complementary strategy that has shown promise is the implementation of intermittent fasting between meals. The recommendation is to fast for 3-4 hours between meals, and incorporate a 12-13 hour overnight fast. Fasting can help relieve Sibo. By providing the digestive system with periods of rest, fasting may offer relief from SIBO symptoms and contribute to a healthier and more balanced digestive system.

In this article, I will explore the potential benefits of fasting for relieving SIBO and promoting overall digestive wellness.

How can fasting help relieve Sibo?

Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, and it has gained attention for its potential health benefits beyond weight management. Fasting can help relieve Sibo. When it comes to SIBO, the concept of fasting between meals holds promise due to its impact on the gut microbiota and the digestive environment. Here are several ways in which intermittent fasting can help relieve SIBO symptoms and improve digestive health:

1. Rest and reset for the digestive system: Giving the digestive system a break between meals allows it to rest and reset, which can help reduce the overall bacterial load in the small intestine. By creating longer intervals between meals, the small intestine has the opportunity to clear out excessive bacteria and prevent their overgrowth, potentially alleviating SIBO symptoms.

2. Enhance motility: Intermittent fasting has been shown to promote healthy gastrointestinal motility, which is essential for moving food, waste, and bacteria through the digestive tract. It can promote the migrating motor complex (MMC), a series of coordinated contractions in the small intestine that serves to sweep residual foos particles and bacteria from the gut. Motilin is the main hormone involved in the MMC and the regulation of the digestive motility patterns. Motilin levels peak cyclically about 3 hours after a meal, and only during a fasted state. Dysfunctions with motilin secretion or motilin receptors can impair the MMC pattern, leading to bacterial overgrowth and digestive issues. Fasting between meals is important and can help relive Sibo by to maintaining normal motilin signaling and a well-functioning MMC. Improved motility and a well-functioning MMC can prevent the stagnation of food and bacteria in the small intestine, thus reducing the likelihood of SIBO development or recurrence.

3. Gut microbiome balance: Fasting between meals can help relieve Sibo by by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and limiting the proliferation of harmful bacteria in the small intestine. Rebalancing of the microbiome can support digestive function and reduce the risk of SIBO-related symptoms.

4. Promotes "autophagy" of gut cells: Fasting can help relieve Sibo because it triggers a phenomenon called autophagy, where intestinal cells recycle waste material and dysfunctional structures. This self-cleaning process helps damaged cells renew. Autophagy stimulation gives the gut a chance to "reset."

5. Regulation of inflammation: Chronic inflammation in the gut is a common feature of SIBO, and intermittent fasting has been associated with anti-inflammatory effects. By reducing inflammation, fasting can help relieve SIBO symptoms and promote healing of the intestinal lining.

6. Improved nutrient absorption: SIBO can impair the absorption of essential nutrients, leading to deficiencies. Intermittent fasting may support nutrient absorption by enhancing the overall health of the digestive system and reducing the competition for nutrients between the host and an overabundance of bacteria in the small intestine.

Fasting can help relieve Sibo but it is just one component of a multifaceted protocol of Sibo natural treatment

As a Naturopath focusing on digestive health, I have found intermittent fasting often very helpful in alleviating the symptoms of Sibo and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Whilst fasting can help relieve Sibo, it is not sufficient for comprehensive SIBO treatment, because it does not directly address many other underlying causes of SIBO, such as: hypochlorhydria - low stomach acid, dysbiosis - imbalances in the types of bacteria in the gut, structural issues - intestinal obstructions, diverticuli etc, low bile and enzymes' production, stress and more. Fasting can help relieve Sibo by accelerating our gut reset when combined with other interventions like nutritional support, anti-microbial and pro-kinetic (motility enhancing) herbs, repopulating the gut with probiotics and pre-biotics and of caurse identifying and removing triggers that may have initially impaired small intestinal motility.

Fasting can help relieve Sibo, but should be done with caution

While intermittent fasting shows promise for relieving SIBO and improving digestive health, it is essential to approach fasting with caution and individualization. Not all individuals may benefit from fasting, and some may require personalized modifications based on their unique health conditions, nutritional needs, and lifestyle factors. Therefore, consulting with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a Naturopathic practitioner like myself, is crucial for developing a safe and effective fasting plan tailored to individual needs.

Fasting can help relieve Sibo


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