SIBO: Symptoms, Diet Tips, And 9 Natural Remedies

Written by , MSc Shaheen Naser MSc Experience: 3 years

Around 6-15% of healthy and asymptomatic individuals could be suffering from SIBO, according to studies. And about 80% of individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome may also have SIBO.

SIBO, also known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is a serious infection of the small intestine. While a variety of factors could be held responsible for this slowly advancing condition, doctors are yet to pinpoint its exact cause. Would you like to know how to fight this infectious condition naturally? Read on to find out.

What Is SIBO?

SIBO is an abbreviation for a medical condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. This is a serious disease and, as its name suggests, it affects the small intestine.

You must be aware that there are bacteria growing in different parts of your gut. However, when these bacteria end up growing in the small intestine, it results in SIBO.

This condition often announces its arrival by exhibiting the following signs and symptoms.

Symptoms Of SIBO

The symptoms associated with SIBO mainly manifest themselves in the gut. They include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Cramps
  • Bloating or gas
  • A feeling of fullness
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss

Although the cause of SIBO is not yet completely understood, the following factors and conditions are most often associated with it.

Causes Of And Risk Factors For SIBO

SIBO may occur when:

  • Your small bowel suffers from abnormalities.
  • The pH of your stomach changes.
  • Your immunity is weak.
  • There are malfunctions in the muscular activity of your small intestine that do not allow food and bacteria to be removed.

Your risk of developing SIBO may increase with if you:

  • Are suffering from conditions like hypothyroidism, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease or Crohn’s disease
  • Are taking medications that slow down the gut like narcotics
  • Have nerve damage
  • Have undergone gastric bypass procedures
  • Have undergone surgeries that cause adhesions

If your symptoms point toward SIBO, it is best to get yourself medically tested for it.

Diagnosis Of SIBO

The tests usually used for diagnosing SIBO are:

  • Analysis of your symptoms and medical history
  • Breath test – The presence of excess bacteria in the small intestine can release gases like hydrogen and methane.
  • The sampling of fluid from your small intestine
  • Blood test

If any of these tests confirm SIBO, you must start preparing to eliminate this infection from your body. And what could prepare you better than monitoring your diet? Listed below are some foods that can help you fight SIBO – all naturally.

Best Diet For SIBO

It includes low FODMAP, nutrient-rich foods like:

  • Fish like tuna and salmon
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Eggs and poultry
  • Cheese
  • Quinoa
  • Pineapples
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Carrots
  • Grapes

You also need to avoid certain foods like:

  • Fructose-containing foods like some fruits, juices, honey, and processed foods
  • Lactose-containing foods like dairy products
  • Galactan-rich foods like cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and soy
  • Fructan-containing foods like onion, wheat, and asparagus
  • Polyol-containing food items like sugar-free gums, mints, and certain medications

Sticking to the above diet will ensure that you enjoy a speedy recovery from SIBO. You can also treat SIBO naturally with the help of ingredients found right in your home. Scroll down to find out what they are.

Natural Remedies To Treat SIBO

1. Essential Oils

a. Caraway Oil

You Will Need
  • 1 drop of caraway essential oil
  • 1 glass of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a drop of caraway oil to a glass of water.
  2. Mix well and drink daily.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily.

Why This Works

Caraway oil helps treat intestinal dysbiosis that surfaces as a result of SIBO (1).

b. Lavender Oil

Lavender Oil
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 1 drop of lavender oil
  • 1 glass of water

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix a drop of lavender oil in a glass of water.
  2. Consume this mixture.

How Often You Should Do This

You must drink this once daily.

Why This Works

Like caraway oil, lavender oil helps in restoring your gut flora to normal by treating intestinal dysbiosis and SIBO.

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar
Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 glass of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well and drink it immediately.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this on a daily basis.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar can restore your stomach’s pH. Its antimicrobial activities help in fighting the infectious gut flora by leaching through the biofilm of the microbes (2).

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3. Vitamins

SIBO often leads to vitamin deficiencies, thereby making your recovery slow (3). Consuming foods rich in vitamin B-complex or taking supplements for the same after consulting your doctor makes up for the vitamin deficiency.

Foods rich in vitamin B-complex include legumes, dried beans, milk, eggs, red meat, poultry, orange juice, and cheese.

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4. Yogurt

Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need

A bowl of plain probiotic yogurt

What You Have To Do

Consume a bowl of plain yogurt.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

Why This Works

Yogurt is a rich source of probiotics. Probiotics don’t just help restore the pH of your stomach but also balance your gut flora, thereby helping in the treatment of SIBO (4).

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5. Cinnamon

Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1 glass of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well and drink immediately.
  3. You can also add some honey to enhance the taste.
How Often You Should Do This

Consume this mixture once daily.

Why This Works

Cinnamon helps in killing many disease-causing intestinal pathogens like the ones responsible for food poisoning within 24 hours (5).

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6. Ginger

Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1-2 inches of ginger
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add an inch or two of ginger to a cup of water.
  2. Bring this to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Simmer and strain.
  4. Let the tea cool a bit before drinking.
  5. You can also add a little honey for better flavor.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink this at least twice daily.

Why This Works

Ginger possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities, both of which help in treating SIBO and its symptoms like abdominal pain and inflammation (6).

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7. Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit Seed Extract
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 5-10 drops of grapefruit seed extract
  • 1 glass of watt
What You Have To Do
  1. Add 5 to 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract to a glass of water.
  2. Mix well and drink it up.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink this solution thrice daily.

Why This Works

Grapefruit seed can prevent harmful bacteria from growing in the gut without affecting the gut’s natural flora. This is mainly due to its natural antibacterial effects (7).

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8. Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need

1-2 teaspoons of raw manuka honey

What You Have To Do

Consume a teaspoon or two of raw manuka honey.

How Often You Should Do This

Have manuka honey daily.

Why This Works

Manuka honey possesses strong antimicrobial activities that can fight infectious microbes in the gut (8). It is also rich in enzymes and nutrients that are needed for treating issues like SIBO.

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9. Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera Juice
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need

1 cup of freshly extracted aloe vera juice

What You Have To Do
  1. Extract some fresh juice from aloe vera by blending its gel.
  2. Consume a glass of this juice.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink a glass of aloe vera juice daily.

Why This Works

Aloe vera can help in soothing an irritated gut with its anti-inflammatory activities (9). It can also fight the pathogenic bacteria in your gut that cause SIBO (10).

Even after you recover from SIBO, there is always a chance for it to recur, especially if you are suffering from an underlying health condition. Incorporate the following tips into your lifestyle to stop the recurrence of SIBO.

Prevention Tips

  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Consume probiotic-rich foods to bring the gut flora back to normal.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • If you are on contraceptive pills, stop taking them.
  • Do not take medications like antidepressants and NSAIDs.
  • Practice yoga to control any underlying disease that may be causing SIBO.

These tips can be used in combination with the above remedies to fight SIBO and its symptoms successfully. Also, since your lifestyle choices have a great deal to do with the recurrence of SIBO, make sure that you are living a healthy and stress-free life. Did this post address all your issues? Share your concerns with us in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can SIBO be detected by endoscopy?

Yes, an endoscopy can help in detecting SIBO. However, it is invasive and expensive and can only analyze the proximal small intestine.

Can SIBO give you bad breath?

If there are symptoms of gas, bloating, or burping that accompany a bad breath, SIBO could be blamed for the foul odor. The microbes responsible for causing SIBO also cause foul breath.

Can SIBO make you gain weight?

SIBO often slows down metabolism and affects your insulin and leptin resistance. This may result in weight gain in the affected individual.

Do probiotics help with bacterial infections?

Probiotics help in restoring the lost pH of your stomach and the normal level of gut flora. Both these actions can help in fighting SIBO and other bacterial infections of the stomach.

Are probiotics good for SIBO?

Yes, probiotics help a great deal in treating bacterial infections like SIBO by restoring the gut flora and pH.

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Shaheen Naser

Shaheen NaserHealth & Wellness Writer


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