SIBO And The Role Frequency Therapies May Play In Resolving GI Issues
SIBO is an acronym that stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. While gastroenterologists and family medical doctors alike once considered SIBO to be rare, new research shows that the condition is far more common than previously assumed (Source: PubMed). The normal standard of care for SIBO treatment centers around antibiotics such as Rifaximin or Erythromycin. While these antibiotics can kill off the offending bacterial infection, they don’t resolve the underlying health conditions that led to the occurrence of unwanted bacterial growth in the first place. Another drawback to antibiotics is that they can kill off beneficial gut bacteria along with the bad. Without this healthy gut flora in place, the patient may be vulnerable to reinfection and may have other digestive issues. While there may be times when SIBO treatment necessitates antibiotics, it’s a good idea to also incorporate natural treatments to rebuild gut flora and modify food/lifestyle to support proper recovery.Top of Form
One aspect of SIBO that is vital to address is MMC (migrating motor complex). This occurs because of the ICV (ileocecal valve) dysfunction and neurological shutdown. This must be addressed for optimal results. We are different from many clinics because we have the capacity to apply specific treatments through FSM (frequency specific microcurrent) and LLLT (low level laser therapy). This helps to reset the ICV and a component of the nervous system called the Vagus Nerve that is necessary for treating the MMC.
Our bodies store every encounter, piece of information, emotion, thought and generational imprint inside its cells, DNA, organs and tissues. Standardized approaches are boxes and general, but take no consideration into the recipe that created the environment for SIBO in the 1st place. IT was always a recipe that activated our illness, therefore it is a recipe for health unique to each of us that can resolve it.
If we remember the 3 step process to any condition chronic or acute, it equips us to approach our condition(s) more effectively. The process being:
- Trigger – this can be a traumatic experience, chronic recurrent stress, living a standard American Lifestyle over time (high stress, overworking, disconnect between emotions and body, SAD diet, etc), a build up of toxicity or stressors unique to each of us.
- Inflammatory and Histamine Response – these responses keep us ALIVE in times of peril, the problem is we have adapted to live in a perpetual and chronic state of inflammation and histamine responses in our body.
- Paralysis – in this meaning it means paralysis of the healing process. Basically our body, cell, brain, tissues, patterns etc get locked into a feedback loop that we can’t get out of. This is where frequency therapies stand heads and tails above other lifestyle modifications as they break these feedback loops allowing our body to move out of paralysis and begin it’s journey back into homeostasis.
These 3 phases are present in every condition, the key is find each person’s unique triggers and feedback loops in order to resolve them. This is a process of moving the systems, organs, cells, glands etc our of dis-ease and dissonance back into resonance where healing and regeneration can occur.
At our clinic, we don’t treat a diagnosis, we use a holistic approach that combines different frequency therapies, herbal treatments with lifestyle changes including food, daily activity, stress management and resonant harmonization of the entire body and cellular function for endocrine balance for thyroid hormones, estrogen etc as our bodies are not isolated, everything is literally intertwined.
By treating the body holistically, we are then able to begin unravel the underlying conditions that increased the chances of getting SIBO in the first place. At times, SIBO can contribute to Hashimoto’s flare up and other autoimmune and endocrine conditions. Because many of these conditions are related, we support the entire body and being, as True Healing never occurs through isolated approaches.
Resetting the Migrating Motor Complex
One of the contributing factors to excess bacteria in the small intestine is slowed passage of food through the small intestine. The passage of food through the body is done via peristalsis, which is the smooth muscle contractions that squeeze food along the GI tract. Swallowing food is a common example of peristalsis. The body’s unconscious control of peristalsis in the intestines is known as the Migrating Motor Complex.
A healthy Migrating Motor Complex keeps partially digested food traveling in the right direction. This healthy movement discourages unwanted bacteria from the colon from moving upstream into the small intestine (See: Kresser Institute). One of the things that’s often missing in the normal Standard of Care for SIBO is supporting treatment to help prevent reinfection. Unless we reset the Migrating Motor Complex so that digesting food flows through fast enough, reinfection will be a common occurrence. The process of supporting healthy Migrating Motor Complex involves supporting vagus nerve, which is associated with the “Rest & Digest” process in the body. Chronic stress, inflammation and other health conditions tend to move our bodies from “Rest & Digest” into “Fight or Flight” mode. Because of this, we work with our patients to reduce systemic inflammation and use modalities such as Biofeedback for histamine Intolerance and Sensitvity Elimination, Neurofeedback, LLLT (low level laser therapy), EVOX Biofeedback for emotional underlying causes and stagnant emotions and/or trauma, FSM (Frequency Specific Microcurrent for GI, Vagus Nerve, Brain and numerous other applciaitons) and lifestyle modification for stress reduction and helping to release emotions tied to past trauma.
There are also a number of herbs, supplements and lifestyle modifications known to help support the vagus nerve, which may help promote healthy Migrating Motor Complex. Here are a few ideas:
Supporting the Vagus Nerve
Deep, slow breathing:
Deep breathing, Box Breathing or meditation signal the body that you are in a safe place and that it’s okay to let your guard down for a minute. The practice of deep breathing daily has a number of positive health benefits, one of which is that you’ll reduce Fight or Flight stress and promote the vagus nerve through a Rest & Digest state.
Acute exposure to cold causes many physiological changes in the body, one of which is stress reduction by taking the body out of a Fight or Flight response (see: A Cold Splash). Talk with your doctor to find out if cold plunges are safe for you.
Singing changes the way your brain functions and is useful for reducing stress. This stress reduction helps promote healthy Migrating Motor Complex (See: Singing Changes Your Brain).
A regular exercise routine improves one’s health in a number of ways, one of which is by reducing stress and improving digestion. See our article on How to lose weight with Hashimoto’s for more details. Also, be sure to discuss exercise with your doctor before beginning/changing a fitness routine.
What’s Wrong With Standard SIBO Treatment?
The standard method for treating SIBO is to kill off the bacteria with antibiotics, with repeated rounds of antibiotics given if the infection comes back, as it does often. This reinfection after treatment with antibiotics may be due to the fact that these medications don’t dismantle the risk factors that led to the infection to begin with. Researchers note that almost half of those treated with antibiotics have the infection come back in less than a year. As a clarification, there may be times when an antibiotic becomes necessary and it is important to follow your doctors’ instructions. That said, the medical community needs more open communication about the side effects and limitations of treating SIBO with antibiotics as well as exploring the benefits of lifestyle modification and natural treatment.
Taking antibiotics to treat intestinal bacteria without resolving underlying factors is problematic because 43% of patients had their SIBO return within 9 months or less in a recent medical study. This means that almost half of patients would need to undergo multiple rounds of antibiotics in the course of treatment. This is problematic because the antibiotics used to combat SIBO may also kill off the healthy bacteria that we need for proper digestion. Furthermore, some healthcare professionals cite multiple rounds of antibiotics as a SIBO risk factor. This may be because these medications kill off good and bad bacteria alike; which may leave the gut more susceptible to infection by bad bacteria because there are no healthy bacteria in place.
I’ll use an analogy to explain. Suppose you have weeds in your lawn and kill them using a general herbicide that kills everything. Weeds gone, end of story, right? Well, not so much. The herbicide also killed the grass, so now there’s a desolate wasteland devoid of weeds and healthy grass alike. Then what happens? With no healthy grass in place, weeds don’t have to compete with healthy grass and take over the entire yard. And guess what, weeds tend to grow faster and repopulate bare dirt faster than the healthy lawn that we want. So, now instead of having healthy grass with some weeds in it, you have a desolate wasteland with nothing but weeds.
In the above example: the dirt is your gut, the lawn is healthy gut bacteria, weeds are bad bacteria and antibiotics are herbicide. Antibiotics will solve the problem of bad gut bacteria but will not ensure that beneficial gut flora come back.
Also worth noting is the fact that new medical research shows that herbal treatment was effective for treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This shows that the medical Standard of Care is evolving, albeit slowly (PubMed: Herbal Therapy Is Equivalent to Rifaximin for the Treatment of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). In our clinical experience, we’ve found that natural treatment and/or herbal remedies do work, but there may still be times when an antibiotic is called for. When we do prescribe antibiotics, its important to continue treatment with us afterwards so that we can work to rebuild gut health over time.
Natural SIBO treatment including herbal supplements, lifestyle changes and dietary modification have come a long way in helping to alleviate this uncomfortable and painful health condition. There are pros and cons to antibiotics vs natural treatment, so consider speaking with a doctor experienced in gut health, functional and natural medicine to get the whole picture. Antibiotics without supporting treatment frequently results in a reinfection. As such, consider moving from considering natural treatment versus antibiotics as an either/or scenario and use herbal supplements, lifestyle and supportive care to help make your SIBO recovery more permanent.
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