If you’re considering taking Garlic for SIBO, I have something exciting to share with you. While SIBO only became recognized in 1939, Garlic has a long history in the field of health care. Due to its antibacterial properties, Garlic seems to be beneficial for SIBO. However, some individuals consider Garlic for SIBO to be a no-no. As a self-proclaimed Garlic-lover, I’m here to defend the position of Garlic for SIBO and explain why you should consider Garlic for your SIBO management plan.
What Is SIBO?
SIBO is an acronym for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth – but, because that’s a mouthful, the condition is commonly called SIBO and pronounced like see-boh. It is characterized by an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the small intestine. When bacteria is out of balance in the gut, it can cause gastrointestinal upset, including pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, and even fatigue (1). These are also the indicators of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and these two conditions are often co-occurrent (2). However, they differ in that SIBO applies to unique types of bacteria that are not present in the rest of the gut.
SIBO can be hydrogen-producing and methane-producing. Hydrogen-producing SIBO is caused by the bacteria feeding on undigested food in the small intestine. The hydrogen then becomes a food source for other bacteria that produce methane. High hydrogen levels are considered a cause of diarrhea while high levels of methane are considered a cause of constipation. Whether hydrogen or methane is present in excess, the buildup of gas can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
What Are The Benefits Of Garlic?
Garlic is a flavorful food that is packed with beneficial nutrients. It is full of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Manganese, and Selenium, as well as antioxidants and allicin (3). Garlic’s properties are helpful for reducing inflammation, decreasing uric acid, improving heart health, fighting off infections, and more (4, 5). Additionally, Garlic targets bacteria, which makes it beneficial for SIBO (6).
How Is Garlic Good For SIBO?
With over 350 published research papers on Garlic’s antibacterial properties, this herb is surely one to consider if you are dealing with a bacterial issue. Garlic contains organosulfur compounds that have antibacterial effects and are responsible for many of the health benefits of Garlic (6). These compounds include ajoenes, allyl sulfides, and, most famously, allicin.
Allicin’s antibacterial properties have been extensively studied. One particularly relevant finding is that allicin was observed as effective against the Enterococci species of bacteria (6), which is one of the species present in SIBO (7). However, this is not the full extent of Garlic’s antibacterial effects and it can help with killing off other strains of bacteria present in SIBO.
Additionally, Garlic supports immune system function (8). In doing so, Garlic can help the body’s natural defenses against bacterial overgrowth.
How To Take Garlic For SIBO?
Garlic is high in FODMAPS. This means it may cause irritation for some, though each person with SIBO responds differently to different foods. Therefore, some people with SIBO may not find that Garlic upsets their gastrointestinal tract, while others will prefer to avoid Garlic in their diet. Fortunately, for those who love the taste of Garlic, Garlic-infused oil is consider to be a low FODMAP food.
When Garlic and your gut don’t seem to get along, you shouldn’t start adding it into all of your dishes (as I’m sometimes accused of doing). Instead, consider a supplement that contains Garlic and is standardized to at least 0.2% allicin. There are supplements available that provide allicin alone, but those do not contain the other beneficial compounds that Garlic provides. Therefore, there really is no replacement for Garlic extract as a powerful SIBO fighter.
If you want to use Garlic to fight SIBO, you should consult with your medical advisor. When it comes to major dietary changes or introducing a supplement into your life, it’s important that you do so under the guidance of someone who knows your unique health condition and understands how it can be affected by the change.
Other Herbs For Combating SIBO
Other than Garlic, there are several herbs known for combating SIBO. They are:
Oregano – This herb is regarded as having antibacterial benefits that can help with SIBO. Oregano has shown itself to be effective at killing the Escherichia coli bacteria, which is one of the main bacteria involved in SIBO (9). Its main beneficial compounds for fighting bacteria are called carvacrol and thymol. What makes Oregano doubly beneficial for SIBO is that it also targets fungus (9). (SIBO and Candida infections sometimes occur at the same time.)
Barberry – This herb contains Berberine which has a wide range of health benefits. It is highly antibacterial and antifungal. Berberine works against bacteria by destroying the bacteria’s cell walls and inhibiting them from latching onto the walls of the intestine (10). Berberine is especially recommended for SIBO because it targets all of the major bacteria found in SIBO. Nevertheless, it is most effective when combined with other antimicrobial compounds.
Your Take Away
Taking Garlic for SIBO may be controversial but there are many reasons to include Garlic in your SIBO plan. Individuals who find that they don’t tolerate eating Garlic may be able to handle the amount used in a supplement. As the expression goes, “the dose makes the poison.” To minimize reliance on a intolerably large dose of Garlic, it’s better to use a combination of herbs to target SIBO.
Approved Science® used this philosophy when formulating Siboprin™ (see-boh-prin). Rather than forcing Garlic to bear the burden of fighting SIBO alone, Siboprin™ relies on the combined effects of Garlic, Oregano, Barberry, Caprylic Acid, and BioPerine® to boost results. As discussed above, the Garlic, Oregano, and Barberry fight bacterial and fungal overgrowth. While Caprylic Acid is a plant extract and not a herb, it also contributes antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects to Siboprin™. Lastly, BioPerine® is a black pepper extract that helps boost nutrient absorption to improve the efficacy of the supplement. All together, Approved Science® has put together a powerful combination to combat SIBO.