According to research the majority of patients with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS and have digestive symptoms, the most common of which is IBS. Research has identified a type of digestive problem that is commonly seen in patients called ‘Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth’–SIBO, a problem characterized by nausea, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, pain, fatigue, and weakness.
SIBO is an overabundance of bacteria in the small intestines, and this results in chronic inflammation caused by the by-products of the bacteria, which damage the lining of the intestines. The result is an ulcerated digestive system that cannot absorb nutrients properly–you become nutritionally deficient even though you may be getting a great diet and may be taking supplements. Perhaps more important to Fibromyalgia and ME patients, the damage of the lining between your digestive system and your circulatory system wreaks havoc, as bacterial toxins and even bacteria are absorbed directly into your blood. This is called ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and it makes you feel horrible!
SIBO causes malabsorption of nutrients–you can get a great diet and can even be taking nutritional supplements, but there’s a good chance you simply aren’t absorbing many nutrients that your body needs. And it may also be the cause of ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’, called IBS.
Our research at ProHealth indicates that consumption of grains and certain starches are the number one problem when it comes to causing SIBO–even the healthiest, organic whole grains and certain vegetables. They’re all like pouring gasoline on a fire; because they provide the exact food that the bacteria love the most–disaccharides and polysaccharides.
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Elaine Gottschall discovered that the most effective treatment for SIBO is a specialized diet that avoids all grains. She discusses it in detail in her classic book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet, which is a wonderful book that has garnered over 400 five star reviews on Amazon and is available for about $22. HIGHLY recommended.
You’ll love this powerhouse book if you have problems with digestion, and I think you would find that her health tips will help you treat your SIBO. Getting rid of SIBO will improve your overall health considerably, and your Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS symptoms will likely improve as well. I am confident that it will, because it has with me and many other Fibromyalgia and ME patients who have tried it.
- “Fermentation in the gut and ME/CFS” by Dr. Sarah Myhill
- “Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)—An Easily Treatable Cause of Spastic Colon and Bowel Symptoms in CFS and Fibromyalgia” by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum.
- “Gold Standard Evidence that Bacterial Overgrowth is at the Heart of IBS“
- Interesting video on IBS: “Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO, dysbiosis) causes Fibromyalgia“
- “Natural Remedies for Bacterial Overgrowth” by Cathy Wong
- Interview with IBS Specialist Dr. Stephen Wangen
Top image courtesy of dream designs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.