Taking activated charcoal for SIBO and IBS is essential to reduce die-off reactions and bind endotoxins such as LPS released by dying bacteria. Activated charcoal also helps to reduce IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating.
Many people with SIBO experience die-off and healing reactions where symptoms flare or worsen when antimicrobials are taken or nutrients to optimize bile flow from the gallbladder. The missing ingredient in this scenario is using activated charcoal for SIBO, a binder that works by absorbing toxins to prevent recirculation and die-off reactions.
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Die-off reactions frequently occur when someone supports the underlying cause of their SIBO, such as a sluggish gallbladder, or when antimicrobials are taken to kill the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.
When someone supports their sluggish gallbladder and improves antimicrobial bile flow, die-off reactions can occur due to the natural antimicrobial effect of bile killing bacteria overgrowing in the small intestine.
Dying bacteria release endotoxins such as LPS which are highly inflammatory and cause die-off symptoms. Taking activated charcoal in this situation is crucial for binding the endotoxins released by dying bacteria.
Supporting the gallbladder by promoting bile flow also opens up phase 3 liver detoxification, where toxins from the liver are released into the small intestine via the bile. Using a binder such as activated charcoal is essential to ensure the toxins are escorted out of the body and not reabsorbed.
Die-off reactions also occur during the kill phase of a SIBO protocol, where antimicrobials are used to kill the bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. As the antimicrobials effectively kill bacteria concurrently, the dying bacteria release endotoxins. Again taking activated charcoal for SIBO is crucial when antimicrobials are causing die-off reactions.
In Amy Myer’s SIBO breakthrough program, she uses activated charcoal to absorb the toxic by-products released by dying bacteria to reduce die-off symptoms.
Benefits of activated charcoal for SIBO, LPS and reducing IBS symptoms
Another study highlights the ability of activated charcoal to detoxify LPS and bacterial toxins produced by gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria that have overgrown in the small intestine release an excess of endotoxins when dying, including the inflammatory LPS endotoxin that causes die-off reactions and inflammation.
A highly potent activated charcoal preparation used in a study with IBS patients was well tolerated and reduced pain and bloating in diarrhea-predominant and alternating IBS. The activated charcoal preparation also reduced uremic toxins produced by bacteria in the gut.
On the SIBO Doctor podcast, Dr. Nirala Jacobi interviews Dr. Chistopher Shade in episode 17, SIBO and detoxification. Dr. Chistopher Shade speaks specifically about using activated charcoal for detoxification and the LPS endotoxin, which many people with SIBO suffer from.
I can’t rate the SIBO and detoxification episode high enough as it is a must to listen to if you have SIBO, detoxification issues, or die-off reactions.
How to take activated charcoal for IBS and SIBO
Taking activated charcoal away from supplements and food is best due to its powerful absorptive properties. You can take charcoal in a capsule or powder form mixed with water.
To reduce die-off reactions associated with SIBO, you can take activated charcoal one hour after taking supplements to improve bile flow and thus phase 3 detoxification or after taking antimicrobials for SIBO.
The activated charcoal comes in after those supplements to mop up any endotoxins caused by dying bacteria and also ensures that substances detoxed by the liver are bound and escorted out of the body via the stool.
You can also make this activated charcoal smoothie with gut-healing papaya to help detox and bind endotoxins!