This post is about how I healed my SIBO naturally and discovered the root cause of SIBO that many people don’t know about. My journey through healing SIBO naturally was not a straight-forward path. Back when my SIBO symptoms of acid reflux and bloating were at their worst, I didn’t even know what SIBO was.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is frequently associated with irritable bowel syndrome and various digestive issues. I didn’t know anything about the low fodmap diet or that an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine was the underlying cause of my digestive symptoms, which still had additional root causes that needed to be fixed.
All I knew was that I was becoming Perma bloated no matter what I ate. I also experienced annoying acid reflux if I ate my trigger foods, such as bread. I had mild rosacea and inflammation in my skin as well.
These were my primary SIBO symptoms, yet I still had additional symptoms of poor fat digestion.
I have always been a nutrition and health fanatic with a huge passion for learning about the body. But I was also curious about gut health and nutrition due to my symptoms.
The drive to find answers to my problems led me down the rabbit hole of gut health, genetics, nutrition, liver and gallbladder cleansing, parasite cleansing, etc. I also got certified as a Nutritional Therapy Consultant.
Some of my most profound health changes resulted from my own research through reading books and endless hours of listening to podcasts. The upside of my cleaning job is I had plenty of time to listen to podcasts and learn how to cure SIBO..
My perspective became very broad as I listened and questioned everything I knew. I learned how to heal my SIBO naturally over many years.
My story is not a straight-forward path of the classic take a SIBO test, implement the SIBO diet, take antimicrobials, and you’re done. By the way, is it ever really that easy to heal small intestine bacterial overgrowth? In my personal experience, it has never been that simple.
To fully cure SIBO, poor digestive health must be optimized as well, including correcting low stomach acid, taking digestive enzymes, and optimizing bile flow. When someone comes to me, one or all three of these steps have been missed.
Most often, a standard treatment plan that many people are put on includes taking a SIBO breath test to confirm SIBO, then a low fodmap diet is recommended with antibiotic treatment or herbal antimicrobials, which also kills beneficial bacteria in the colon.
The healing process of SIBO is much more complex and involves optimizing the terrain of the digestive system so that gut bacteria from the large intestine do not overgrow in the small intestine.
I was able to heal SIBO naturally and maintain my results because I slowly improved my health bit by bit and addressed the root cause of my SIBO, which was a struggling liver and gallbladder. Sometimes I made dietary changes, but I never implemented an extremely restrictive diet such as the low-fodmap or SIBO diet.
A healthy microbiome in the colon requires fermentable carbohydrates to produce butyrate which helps to heal leaky gut syndrome. It can all be a bit overwhelming but the good news is that when you learn how to cure SIBO by healing the root cause of SIBO you should be able to come off the low fodmap diet without experiencing common symptoms of SIBO such as habitual burping, bloating, abdominal pain and acid reflux.
Over many years, I improved my gut and overall health as I continued learning. I was able to make small yet significant changes and maintain my results.
On the odd occasion, I might experience mild bloating or acid reflux, but 99% of the time, I don’t get bloated or have acid reflux. I can even eat what used to be my trigger foods in small amounts without getting acid reflux or bloating. To me, that is true healing and the ultimate SIBO success story.
Eating a diverse diet full of fiber and plant-based foods is crucial for optimal gut health. Following such restrictive diets long term to keep symptoms at bay is unnecessary when true SIBO recovery occurs.
I also did not traditionally attack SIBO with antibiotics. Over many years I improved my health and healed from SIBO. My gauge was any improvement in feeling better and tolerating what used to be trigger foods. Any improvement in SIBO symptoms is a sign that SIBO is healing.
I feel as though many people expect to overcome SIBO easily and quickly, but it can take time. A round of antimicrobials or antibiotics doesn’t always do the trick.
Many people implement antimicrobials and the low fodmap diet or SIBO diet for far too long and significantly mess up the microbiome. It is crucial to address the root causes of SIBO alongside a SIBO protocol to prevent relapse.
The start of my journey through healing SIBO naturally
First, I would like to clarify that I never got tested for SIBO through the breath test and received a SIBO diagnosis. I self-diagnosed SIBO as the cause of my bloating and acid reflux as these are some of the most common SIBO symptoms.
Taking a hydrogen breath test is important to diagnose SIBO and then again after a treatment protocol to make sure that you have cured SIBO. But more important than the test is to ask if your gastrointestinal symptoms have disappeared.
My SIBO symptoms started to improve a couple of months after doing a food sensitivity test and candida test through bio-resonance testing. Small intestinal fungal overgrowth frequently occurs along with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
I decided to book in for a food sensitivity test as I was permanently bloated even after eating only a salad. At that time, I didn’t even know about the SIBO diet or low fodmap diet or even what SIBO was.
I wanted to make dietary changes specific to me, so I went to find out what food sensitivities I had.
The foods were rated on a scale of 0-3, with 3 representing the highest sensitivity.
Here is a list of foods that came back as 2’s and 3’s on my food sensitivity test.
- cheese (cow cheese, I was good with goats cheese)
- msg (soy sauce)
- refined sugar
- kefir grains
I also tested for candida, where my results were a 4/6. The practitioner informed me that high candida levels could be why I was feeling bloated.
Getting the food sensitivity test was clarifying and helped me pay attention to how I felt if I ate the foods on my food sensitivity list.
The bio-resonance food sensitivity was accurate in identifying my problematic foods.
My trigger foods that worsened my SIBO symptoms
When my acid reflux was at its worst, wheat, such as bread, was almost always a guaranteed trigger for acid reflux.
MSG in soy sauce made my hands, eyes, and face puffy. I have found out that I don’t metabolize soy sauce and soy products very well through genetic testing.
Lactose is a high FODMAP milk sugar that causes bloating when fermented in the small intestine.
I didn’t notice that cheese was very problematic, but it is high in fat, and I had poor fat digestion.
Fermented beverages from kefir grains made me extremely bloated, even after only drinking ¼ cup. Not all probiotics are beneficial when bacteria have overgrown in the small intestine and can aggravate symptoms.
Following the food sensitivity and candida testing, I decided to eliminate my food sensitivities and ditched the sugar to get rid of candida.
I avoided my food sensitivities for one month, eliminated processed sugar, and took a probiotic for candida with caprylic acid. Within a month, I reduced my candida levels to a 3/6 instead of a 4/6, but I was still feeling bloated and had a long way to go.
At this point, I got tested for parasites using the bio-resonance machine. The results came back positive for five types of parasites. I had a travel history to Central and South America.
Supplements I used for candida, parasites and to treat SIBO naturally.
I did a 6-week parasite cleanse using Paratrex from Global Healing Center, which contains:
- black walnut
- diatomaceous earth
- clove bud
- fulvic acid
I took the recommended capsules for two weeks with a four-day break every 14 days for six weeks. Taking the herbal parasite capsules for a minimum of six weeks is essential to kill parasites throughout each lifecycle stage.
I also intermittently took oil of oregano, which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Oregano oil is also one of the best natural antimicrobials to kill SIBO.
The paratrex parasite cleanses, and the oregano oil helped kill both the parasites and candida.
While I did not know that I had SIBO at the time as I had never heard of it, I’m sure these natural herbs worked to knock down my SIBO.
Neem, clove, and oil of oregano are antimicrobials that are effective for SIBO as well.
When I went back to get my candida levels checked after doing the parasite cleanse, candida diet, and avoidance of food sensitivities, my candida levels had dropped down to 1/6. I was feeling less bloated and was happy with my results.
The liver and gallbladder flush for healing SIBO, bloating, and acid reflux.
Another critical part of my healing journey that improved my gut health and acid reflux was doing the liver and gallbladder flush by Andreas Moritz.
I did four liver and gallbladder flushes in total over a year, and at the same time, I was working on reducing my candida.
The liver and gallbladder flush was the most satisfying cleanse I have done as you get to see gallbladder stones come out in your stool if you have them. My first liver and gallbladder flush yielded the most stones. By my 4th flush, I no longer had any gallbladder stones.
After doing my fourth liver and gallbladder flush, I remember noticing that I hardly ever got acid reflux. I wondered if a sluggish gallbladder and liver were somehow connected to my acid reflux. Now I know it was.
I also noticed increased energy levels, less bloating, very regular healthy bowel movements, and better fat digestion.
My stools would usually float and be loose, but right after doing my last liver and gallbladder flush, I noticed that my stools were well-formed and sinking due to better fat digestion. I remember thinking, damn, my digestion and bowel movements are on point!
When I look back now, I can see why the liver and gallbladder flush worked to reduce my bloating and acid reflux while improving my bowel movements and fat digestion.
A sluggish liver and gallbladder was the root cause of my SIBO and acid reflux. Although I still had not connected all the dots and made the connection.
At this point in my SIBO story, I felt good and had seen some significant improvements in my health.
But this was still just the beginning. I had so much more to learn as I did not know anything about SIBO yet. I still had to learn about the connection between genetics, a sluggish gallbladder, and SIBO. Although, I was starting to connect all the dots.
How I healed my SIBO for good by addressing my root cause
A few years after doing my food sensitivity test, I noticed that corn chips and bananas triggered mild acid reflux.
In one podcast I was listening to, the speaker mentioned that fiber could cause acid reflux if SIBO were present due to fermentation in the small intestine.
This caught my attention and was how I was able to pinpoint SIBO as the cause of my acid reflux. I also got very interested in SIBO as I was sure this was part of why I used to get so bloated.
Bananas, corn chips, and potatoes are all high in resistant starches, which bacteria ferment. Fiber and resistant starch is excellent for the colon’s microbiome, but not in my case, where I still had too much bacteria in the small intestine.
After this aha moment, I came across Dr. Ben Lynch and his information on genetics through another podcast. He mentioned the connection between SNPs in the PEMT gene, a sluggish gallbladder, and SIBO.
In short, someone with a dirty PEMT gene or SNPs in the PEMT gene can have a sluggish gallbladder and thus, poor bile flow. A fundamental property of bile that no one is talking about is that bile is antimicrobial and helps prevent SIBO.
I just knew this was related to me, so I bought Sunflower lecithin to support my PEMT gene and sluggish gallbladder. The phosphatidylcholine found in sunflower lecithin worked like magic.
Overnight my loose stools became well-formed and turned almost black for a few days. It was like my liver and gallbladder were finally able to rid themselves of built-up toxins once the bile was able to flow better from my gallbladder.
I continued to take sunflower lecithin for one month and was feeling good. My mild acid reflux was almost gone when I ate my trigger foods but not quite.
In another video, Dr. Ben Lynch mentioned that taking ox bile on an empty stomach was like dropping a bomb on SIBO due to bile’s antimicrobial properties.
Since I had done antimicrobial herbs in the past, I decided to try the ox bile to see if it worked to kick the last bit of my SIBO symptom of acid reflux. Lo, and behold, in 1 month, I was able to eat potato, banana, and corn chips again without getting acid reflux.
Using ox bile and sunflower lecithin found in Optimal PC is how I healed SIBO naturally by supporting the antimicrobial terrain that bile provides.
While I never tested for SIBO through the breath test, I did go to another bio-resonance practitioner and asked her to use the bio-resonance machine to test if SIBO was an issue.
The machine noted that SIBO was present, and when the practitioner connected my pads to the device on the top of my abdomen for a session, my stomach started making growling bubbly noises. I forgot to mention that ever since I was a young girl, my stomach would always make grumbling noises after eating.
I did my bio-resonance session when I had just started taking the sunflower lecithin. This session confirmed that I was on track and that I did have some small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
To this day, I have maintained my results without having to continue to restrict my diet or take antimicrobials. If anything, I feel my best and can eat a more diverse diet than when I initially started my health journey years ago.
I genuinely believe that addressing my liver and gallbladder as the root cause of my SIBO was the silver lining for my ultimate success in healing SIBO.
The number one email I receive from people trying to heal from SIBO is I have had my gallbladder removed, and now I have SIBO. I also commonly hear I don’t digest my fats well, I have a sluggish gallbladder, experience constipation, and have been diagnosed with SIBO. Optimizing antimicrobial bile flow is a crucial component of healing SIBO naturally.
The number one improvement I see when clients support a sluggish gallbladder is improved bowel movements. Improvements in bowel movements indicate that bile is stimulating peristalsis. Symptoms of poor fat digestion and a reduction in bloating also improve when the gallbladder is supported.
Resources for healing SIBO
In some way, I hope that my story of how I healed my SIBO helps you along your SIBO journey. I know SIBO can be tough to overcome, especially when the root cause is not addressed. Here are some SIBO resources to help you along the way.
As you can see, my journey took a while and is not the healing SIBO story one might expect, but it is also why I know what I know now. I would not take my healing SIBO journey back as I have learned so much profound and life-changing information along the way.
While it took me years to learn everything about how to heal SIBO naturally, I now have the tools to keep myself as healthy as possible and free of the annoying SIBO symptoms.
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 healing SIBO, and the SIBO success plan covers all the essentials that you need to know about SIBO so you can cure SIBO for good.
Hi! I found you through searching for gallbladder and sibo. I’ve been watching some Ben lynch videos lately and piecing things together. I appreciated reading your experience!
I had gallbladder issues in pregnancy, carry mthfr, and lately have been having so much trouble after eating with bloating, gas, and painful stomach. I took antibiotics for 14 months and am thinking I’ve got a gut issue going on. I had awful gut issues years ago and now am afraid to eat again! The trouble is, I deal with pretty serious histamine issues, with a very restricted diet to begin with. It is hard to cut out oats or green apples, like I’ve read to do to treat sibo. Did you have histamine issues with the sibo? I am breastfeeding and also feel a bit unsure on what I can take or not. Currently doing oregano oil, digestive enzymes with ox bile and betaine hcl, it’s helped a bit but seems to wax and wane a bit. Anyway, I’m glad to find your site and have requested to follow! 🙂
I actually developed histamine issues in terms of itchy skin after taking the active methylated B vitamins. It took me a while to figure this out and even a low dose of the active B’s was backfiring and causing itching skin. I assume this is because they blocked my methylation pathway instead of supporting it like I thought they would. I stopped all active B vitamins and my itching skin went away. Another histamine symptom I noticed is puffy eyes from smoked fish, soy sauce or if I ever ate luncheon meats I would get puffy eyes. This correlates with another SNP I have in the histamine pathway. For the most part now I tolerate high histamine foods fine although I did take probiota Histamin X for some time 🙂 I am breastfeeding too and keep my supplements to a minimum with what I know is safe but you can also do lots with your diet in the meantime 🙂
Hi amber, I have just now seen your reply and I am very grateful for you sharing your experience! I remember reading that B vitamins can cause histamine flares in some people. Food for thought for me 🙂 I am enjoying your blog and I wondered if the chia and flax pudding you posted would be safe for a SIBO diet. It looks delicious and nutritious! Congratulations on your nursling 🙂
Thanks and have a great day!
Amber, thanks so much for sharing your story! I’ve been battling SIBO & constipation for years and just now reading about the bile (or lack of) correlation. I just started bile acids a couple days ago and WOW, bloat is way down. How is this information not main-stream in all the SIBO books and expensive programs?! I have lost so much weight due to malabsorption and no doctor ever brought this to my attention. GB looked fine on CT, so no one questioned it. THANK YOU!!
Thanks for sharing your story too! I am so glad you have found success as well 🙂