Taking berberine for SIBO has been shown to be as effective as rifaximin, one of the most common antibiotics used to treat SIBO. Berberine has many health benefits, including antimicrobial properties that reduce SIBO and candida.
Candida overgrowth occurs alongside SIBO and is a problematic yeast for many people. Using berberine for SIBO and candida is an excellent way to combat two significant gut issues that cause a host of symptoms with one phenomenal supplement.
But the benefits of berberine extend far beyond its antimicrobial properties for small intestine bacterial overgrowth and candida for optimal gut health.
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Berberine is also an effective supplement for reversing insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar levels, promoting weight loss, and improving lipid metabolism and gut health.
My experience and reason for taking berberine for SIBO, candida, and gut health
When a past client emailed me and shared with me her success in losing belly fat, reducing cholesterol levels, bloating, and a fungal toe infection resolved, I knew I had to do some research on berberine and try the supplement myself.
While I knew berberine was an effective antimicrobial for hydrogen-dominant SIBO and had used it with clients in Candibactin AR and BR, berberine’s ability to combat candida, reduce bloating and promote weight loss intrigued me.
These are my primary past symptoms and what I write about to help people, yet I hadn’t taken berberine. Berberine is one of the top natural supplements used for diabetes and insulin resistance which I have struggled with in the past as I recently had mild gestational diabetes.
On my viome gut test, I also had a below-average metabolic fitness score due to active microbial organisms and functions associated with blood sugar, insulin resistance, and weight control.
I knew berberine was a supplement that would be great for me due to my history and that the primary benefits of berberine are for SIBO, gut health, insulin resistance, and weight loss. Plus, my candida levels had crept back up on my last food sensitivity test. Ugg.
Mostly, I feel great and no longer have symptoms such as acid reflux and bloating as I used to, although I did have one niggling symptom that I did not expect berberine to improve.
I decided to take one capsule of berberine daily to help rebalance my microbiome, improve my metabolic fitness score and predisposition to insulin resistance, and knock back the candida that had overgrown again in my gut. (Is it always a battle with candida?)
Within one week of taking berberine, I noticed that I could breathe better out of my left nostril. For years I haven’t been able to easily breathe through my left nostril as it felt blocked by the airway narrowing.
Dairy products seemed to make it worse, and some days it felt less clogged, but recently there were days when it almost felt blocked at the back of my nose.
Since taking berberine, it feels like I can breathe easily again through both nostrils due to decreased inflammation or a chronic infection that has been reduced. I don’t know what the problem was, but it helped to clear something out of the back of my nose/ sinuses.
If you have a success story from using berberine, please share it with me in the comments. It’s always nice to hear success stories to share with others that may benefit.
Berberine for SIBO and IBS
Berberine is one of the top antimicrobials for hydrogen-dominant SIBO. Conventional SIBO treatment is limited to oral antibiotics and has variable success. Many people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth are looking for alternative therapies, such as herbal antibiotics, to eliminate their SIBO symptoms and bacterial infections.
A study was designed to test the remission rate of SIBO using either the traditional antibiotic rifaximin or herbal antimicrobials. SIBO is diagnosed using a lactulose breath test; thus, a follow-up lactulose breath test determined the success of rifaximin versus herbal therapy.
One hundred and four people that tested positive for SIBO were offered either 1200 mg of rifaximin or herbal antimicrobial therapy for four weeks. In this study, herbal antimicrobials were just as effective as rifaximin, as 46% of patients who received herbs had a negative lactulose breath. Only 34 % of rifaximin patients had a negative lactulose breath test after antibiotics.
Side effects in this study associated with rifaximin includes:
1 case of analphylaxis
2 cases of hives
2 cases of diarrhea
Only 1 case of diarrhea was reported in the group that received herbal therapies.
The two herbal therapies used in this study were two capsules twice daily of Dysbiocide and FC Cidal by Biotics Research Laboratories or Candibactin AR and Candibactin BR by Metagenics.
Candibactin BR contains 400 mg of berberine, among other antimicrobials for bacterial overgrowth.
Another study concluded that 400 mg of berberine administered twice daily reduced irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, including the reduction of diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Berberine for gut health
Berberine is beneficial for gut health due to berberine enriching the population of butyrate-producing gut bacteria, a short-chain fatty acid that has profound effects throughout the body. Increased butyrate levels have been shown to prevent obesity, insulin resistance, and liver fat accumulation.
As you can see, berberine’s effect on the gut microbiome and butyrate production has positive ripple effects throughout the body. This is one of the reasons why it is so crucial to optimize gut health by using berberine to promote the growth and beneficial butyrate-producing bacteria while inhibiting the growth of pathogenic organisms that produce endotoxins that causes liver damage and inflammation.
Berberine has also been shown to reduce and decrease inflammation in the gut lining. It is used to treat dysbiosis in the gut, which is an imbalance in the type, quantity, and quality of bacteria in the gut. Changes in the microbiome due to dysbiosis can negatively influence the body in many ways and lead to various diseases such as diabetes, inflammation, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
The positive and rebalancing effects of berberine on the microbiome is why berberine has so many interrelated health benefits. Research shows that the production of short-chain fatty acids benefits the host by protecting the gut lining from damage caused by pathogens and providing nutrients for the colon cells while reducing inflammation.
By modulating the gut microbiota, berberine reduces lipids and glucose levels in the blood. Butyrate enters the bloodstream and lowers blood glucose and lipids. Promoting the growth of good bacteria while reducing hydrogen-producing bacteria that have overgrown in the small intestine is vital for a comprehensive treatment of SIBO.
The antimicrobial properties of berberine and its ability to reduce bacterial overgrowth is why berberine is one of the top antimicrobials for SIBO. Berberine’s ability to combat fungal overgrowth, harmful bacteria, and dysbiosis while lowering insulin resistance and fatty liver are profound.
The body is interconnected in many ways, but a standard set of problems that coincide together that I have experienced and see in others I have worked with is fatty liver, SIBO, insulin resistance, and difficulty losing weight. Amazingly, berberine has benefited all these conditions via several mechanisms. You cannot often find a herb that helps with these significant health challenges many people struggle with today.
If you have SIBO, insulin resistance, fatty liver or stubborn weight that won’t budge, berberine may be the perfect supplement for you to take your health to the next level!
Other underlying causes of SIBO
While berberine is one of the best herbal remedies to reduce the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, it is best to use it alongside a low fodmap diet or SIBO diet after addressing the underlying causes of SIBO.
Herbal supplements for SIBO should be used during phase 2 of the SIBO diet after first implementing the SIBO diet and optimizing the terrain and upper digestive function. Protective factors that protect against the development of SIBO include:
- gastric acid
- bile acids
- pancreatic enzymes
A poor digestive function in the primary digestive organs (stomach, liver/gallbladder, and pancreas) is an underlying root cause of SIBO that needs to be optimized to reduce harmful bacteria from residing in the upper digestive system.
The first step to clearing SIBO from a digestive function perspective is to support the body with digestive enzymes, HCL capsules, or ACV with meals and nutrients to optimize bile production and flow. Optimize digestive function while implementing phase 1 of the SIBO diet.
During phase 2 of the SIBO diet, antimicrobial herbs such as berberine are used to clear SIBO. A comprehensive treatment plan involving dietary changes such as the SIBO or low fodmap diet combined with herbal treatments after supporting the primary organs indigestion involved is the best way to get rid of symptoms of SIBO for good and prevent relapse.
How much berberine for SIBO
According to the SIBO dispensary guide the optimal berberine dose for SIBO is 500 mg of berberine 3 times daily. When starting any new supplement, starting with one capsule and working up is a good idea.
Some people with a high concentration of bacteria in the small intestine may experience die-off reactions or feel worse from taking antimicrobial herbs such as berberine. When this happens, it is best to stop treatment or reduce the dose of berberine and number of capsules you take. You can also take activated charcoal for SIBO and die-off reactions.
Be sure to check out my SIBO resource page for essential tips for overcoming SIBO!
If you are struggling with SIBO Dr Nirala Jacobi from the SIBO Doctor has a very informative patient SIBO success course to beat SIBO for good. This course covers
- additional underlying causes of SIBO
- testing for SIBO
- Symptoms of SIBO
- types of SIBO
- biphasic SIBO diet
- antimicrobials for SIBO
and much more!
Dr. Nirala Jacobi has been my go-to resource for information on SIBO. There is so much to know about SIBO, and the SIBO success plan covers all the essentials that you need to know about SIBO to beat SIBO for good.