Posted on Tue, 27 Jan 15
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can cause digestive problems such as chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) like symptoms. For the first time, a study suggests a pre and probiotic combination may help eliminate SIBO.
SIBO is an overgrowth of bacteria from the large bowel, where they normally reside in abundance, up into the small intestine, which normally harbors much less bacteria. This overgrowth can cause malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies and damage to your gut as well as serious digestive symptoms.
There is already some evidence to show that herbal therapy, probiotics and specific antibiotics can help eradicate SIBO, but more research is needed in this area.
Welcome news comes from a new study that tested a regime of antibiotics with or without a prebiotic and probiotic combination of Lactobacillus sporogenes & fructo-oligosaccharides. Such a combination is known as a Synbtiotic..
Compared to antibiotic alone, treatment with the Synbiotic resulted in better resolution of SIBO (a negative hydrogen breath test in 93.3% vs. 66.7%). And in those taking the Synbiotic abdominal pain disappeared completely while other symptoms including flatulence, belching and diarrhea significantly improved compared to antibiotics alone.
This is an important study because it suggests a prebiotic and probiotic combination may keep SIBO at bay. And it was also a 6-month long study, meaning the benefits were seen in the long-term.
However, an important question remains; would the Synbiotic have done just fine without the antibiotics at all? It seems likely, but this remains to be tested.
- Khalighi AR, Khalighi MR, Behdani R, et al. Evaluating the efficacy of probiotic on treatment in patients with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) - A pilot study. Indian J Med Res. 2014 Nov;140(5):604-8
- Chen WC, Quigley EM. Probiotics, prebiotics & synbiotics in small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: Opening up a new therapeutic horizon! Indian J Med Res. 2014 Nov;140(5):582-4.