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Which Prebiotics Are Best for SIBO?

So, What Are Prebiotics?

So what are Prebiotics and why are they important when you have SIBO or SIFO? Many people have heard of antibiotics, which are designed to kill bacteria in the body — both good and bad bacteria. You’ve likely also heard of probiotics, which are live microorganisms that many of us know as good bacteria. Probiotics are live microorganisms that’ve been isolated from human intestines and are shown to have beneficial effects when they’re consumed in adequate amounts. Probiotics are often found in dietary supplements and fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, pickled foods, yogurt or tempeh. But what are Prebiotics? prebiotics is selectively fermented nutrients that allow for changes in the activity and composition of the GI microflora. In order to be considered a prebiotic, they must resist digestion, be fermentable by intestinal bacteria, and stimulate the activity and growth of bacteria. Think of Prebiotics as Food for your gut bacteria. With that said, most people fail to incorporate prebiotics into their SIBO/IBS treatment program.

What Are The Benefits of Prebiotics?

Prebiotics help more than just your digestion. A healthy gut is a happy gut and a happy gut is happy body! Research has shown that prebiotics help.

  • Improve digestion and metabolism
  • Help regulate bowel movements
  • Improve calcium absorption and increase bone density
  • Regulate blood sugar and insulin resistance
  • Stimulate the production of hormones that aid in appetite suppression
  • Lower inflammation in the body
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Help balance and maintain hormone levels
  • Reduce risk of allergy
  • Lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Regulate moods and reduce stress hormone levels
  • Lower cholesterol level
  • Reduce risk of colon cancer

Keep in mind that while these are all great prebiotics, these can exacerbate bacterial overgrowth in many individuals.

Prebiotics Can Also Cause Problems for People with SIBO and SIFO (Yeast Overgrowth)

SIBO, also known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, is characterized by an abnormal amount of bacteria in the small intestine. This is generally caused when the passage of food and waste products in the digestive tract slows down, creating a feeding ground for bacteria. Unlike the large intestine, the small intestine normally has very little bacteria located inside due to the rapid flow of food and the presence of bile. When the small intestine has excess bacteria, they eventually produce toxins and interfere with the GI tract’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Some of the symptoms and warning signs of SIBO include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, feeling full after eating, weight loss, malnutrition, and gas. Learn more about Stages of SIBO here.

Think you might have SIBO? Before purchasing any testing, take my SIBO assessment questionnaire to assesss your Risk. 


What Are Some Good Prebiotic Foods?

Remember Prebiotics are food for your gut bacteria. Sometimes we want to feed our gut bacteria but there are some instances when we want to avoid Prebiotics. This can be especially true in the beginning stages of treating yeast and bacterial overgrowth. If you have been treated by a Functional Medicine Practitioner and your Gut symptoms have improved by 90%, this is good time to reintroduce prebiotic foods and prebiotics supplements for SIBO.  So, where do we find prebiotics foods? Think Vegetables, nuts, beans, fruits.  Foods that are good sources of prebiotics include:

  • Legumes, beans, and peas
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Dandelion greens
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Chicory root
  • Barley
  • Apples
  • Konjac root
  • Cocoa
  • Burdock root
  • Flaxseeds
  • Jicama
  • Wheat bran
  • Seaweed

Prebiotics & Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Now that we understand what SIBO is and what prebiotics are, you’re likely wondering what the two have to do with one another. The truth is prebiotics can improve SIBO symptoms in several ways, but only if they’re used properly and carefully. Even then, they won’t help everyone.

One of the main things prebiotics do is help the body produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as Butyrate. Acting as a fuel source for epithelial cells that make up the gut lining, SCFAs maintain the integrity of the intestinal lining, prevent inflammation, and prevent leaky gut.

They do this by producing mucus, which serves as a habitat and food source of bacteria. When your mucus layer is thin, bacteria and toxins come in contact with the epithelial lining, which ignites a response from the immune system. Without fiber or mucus, the bacteria feed on your gut lining.

For example, Butyrate is one SCFA that acts as a fuel source for epithelial cells in the gut lining. SCFAs also maintain the acidity in the colon. With a lower pH level in the gut, beneficial bacteria can grow freely and effectively. This provides the perfect environment for all your good bacteria — including MMC-strengthening bacteria such as bifidobacterium and lactobacillus species (especially Lactobacillus acidophilus).

Since SCFAs, like Butyrate, are water-soluble, they also find their way into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, they travel to your brain and improve the function of the brain-gut axis. This helps improve cognitive function and alleviate memory loss, brain fog, and loss of focus.

With a healthy brain and a healthy large intestine, the small intestine is set up for success. This eventually helps to rebalance your gut microflora, reduce inflammation in the gut, and ultimately alleviate SIBO symptoms. That’s why prebiotics, along with probiotics, are very important.



Which Prebiotics Are Best for SIBO?

Best prebiotic For SIBOSIBO is an increasingly common condition where there is a microbial imbalance in the small intestine typically characterized by a high concentration of bacteria in the small intestine, which could be due to an overgrowth of naturally occurring bacteria in the small bowel or translocation of bacteria from the large intestine. Gas and bloating are common gastrointestinal symptoms for individuals with SIBO due to the imbalance and/or overabundance of bacteria in the small intestine, creating uncomfortable abdominal distress. Although providing essential fuel for the epithelial cells, traditional fiber-based prebiotics is not the ideal choice because of the gas they produce during the fermentation process, exacerbating the symptoms of individuals with SIBO. As a solution, polyphenol-based, non-fiber prebiotics can provide essential nutrients to the gut lining without producing bloating as a side effect, helping to reestablish a healthy mucosal barrier and to restore the gut terrain in individuals with SIBO.

Unlike most prebiotics on the market and recommended by Functional medicine doctors, PhyotPre is very different. It’s safe to take in any stage of treatment for SIBO and SIFO. What makes PhytoPre different is that it is a citrus-based prebiotic formula. Within PhytoPre there are flavonoid-rich polyphenols which have been shown to promote a healthy gut microbiota composition while protecting the gut mucosal barrier and enhancing gut immunity. The non-fiber formula feeds the gut bacteria, which subsequently nurtures gut epithelial cells while producing little fermentation, providing a safe option for individuals with small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO). Pomegranate extract is also a biofilm disruptor(A) which means it breaks down the sticky matrix produced by bacteria.

Pomegranate Fruit Extract

Pomegranate fruit extract contains polyphenols, ellagic acid, and punicalagins A and B, which are not only known to have antioxidant properties and help maintain normal inflammatory balance but have been shown in preclinical and clinical studies to promote the proliferation of beneficial gut microbes. These polyphenols are not absorbed intact in the small intestine and, consequently, the unabsorbed polyphenols can be metabolized by microbes in the small intestine to produce secondary metabolites such as urolithins.

Citrus Fruit Extract Effects on Gut Microbiota & Health Parameters

The gut microbiota is known to interact with food components such as fiber and secondary plant compounds like polyphenols. The relationship between the gut microbiota and polyphenols is considered bidirectional — not only do the intestinal microbes possess the ability to metabolize polyphenols, but it is also now understood that polyphenols exerts changes to intestinal microbes. For example, in vitro evidence suggests that 500 mg of citrus fruit extract administered in between meals over a three-week period significantly increased butyrate and total SCFAs levels by influencing the growth of bacterial groups known to produce butyrate. In addition, a 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study demonstrated in vivo that 500 mg of a citrus fruit extract lead to beneficial shifts in SCFA profiles. Additionally, it was reported to lower calprotectin levels, suggesting it helps maintain normal inflammatory balance in the GI tract.

Contact Dr. Hagmeyer to Learn More

Need help with the treatment of SIBO? Tired of trying to figure this out on your own. Need expert direction and guidance? Our SIBO Treatment Program is place to start. Contact my office to schedule Free 15 minute phone consult and see if you are a good fit for our program.

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