SIBO Specific Diet

What is SIBO

SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. It is a condition resulting from an abnormal amount of commensal bacterial present in the small intestine. These bacteria interfere with the body’s ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients, all while giving off hydrogen, which forms to make hydrogen sulfide or methane gas through the fermentation process of carbohydrates. The more carbohydrates consumed, the more gas that is produced. This is why common symptoms include:

  • Bloating/abdominal gas
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal pain, discomfort or cramps
  • Constipation/diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Malabsorption
  • Systemic problems (headache, fatigue, joint/muscle pain, various dermatology conditions)

Associated Diseases

SIBO is associated with diseases such as hypothyroidism, lactose intolerance, gallstones, Chron’s disease, systemic sclerosis, celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, diverticulitis, diabetes with autonomic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, chronic regional pain syndrome, hepatic encephalopathy, non-alcoholic steatohepatis, interstitial cystitis, restless leg syndrome, acne rosacea, and erosive esophagitis.


SIBO is diagnosed by a licensed medical professional, via a hydrogen or methane breath test. Studies have shown stool analysis is ineffective for the detection of SIBO.


Diet can reduce bacterial overgrowth by starving the bacteria but feeding the host. This is done through the elimination of grains, starch vegetables, lactose and sweeteners other than honey. The Elemental Diet is meant as a short term treatment, to reduce overgrowth and consists of protein powders, free-form amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals. SIBO Specific diet is for long-term maintenance.

Other courses of treatment are antibiotics. Either herbal or prescription. While an effective treatment, overtime certain antibiotics can result in bacterial resistance and yeast overgrowth.

SIBO Specific Diet

Grains, starchy vegetables, lactose and sweeteners other than honey are avoided completely. Initially, legumes are also avoided. SIBO specific diet is used in conjunction with low-FODMAP, which is an elimination of fermentable carbohydrates.


Sandberg-Lewis, Steven, ND DHANP and Siebecker, Allison, ND, MSOM. SIBO: Dysbiosis Has a New Name. Best of Naturopathic Medicine-Townsend Letter. Feb/March 2015. pg 67-75

Previous Post

Next Post

1 comment

  • pili

    September 5, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Love Digestible Wisdom! I already printed most of the recipes!

Thoughts? Questions? We want to hear from you!!