In This Article
What are Candida and SIBO?
There are two common kinds of intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
The first, and most common, is when candida—a yeast, or fungus, that naturally occurs in the intestines—decides to overtake populations of beneficial bacteria.
The second most common type of overgrowth is called Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO. This is when bacteria from the large intestine migrate up into the small intestine and disturb the natural balance of beneficial microbes in the small intestine.
Both of these conditions can wreak havoc on mood, energy, digestion, brain power, joint health, and much more.
How to Treat Candida and SIBO and Maintain a Healthy Microbiome
In 1984, when I first went into practice, candida had become the condition that made headline news. The treatment plan was (and still is to some extent) to kill off the candida overgrowth, and then flood the gut with probiotics, which, yes, were popular even 30 years ago!
The problem with that plan is that most of the candida-killing agents, whether antifungal medications or natural anti-microbial agents like wormwood, grapefruit seed extracts, or the antibiotic Rifaximin, always left the intestinal tract more irritated and raw.
Once the therapies were stopped, opportunistic and now-resistant bacteria and candida would re-populate in a hurry in the damaged intestinal theater It turns out that many antibiotics and antifungals are indiscriminate and kill the beneficial microbes as well, which leaves the door open for the re-population of bad bugs.
Unfortunately, science did not know how delicate the intestinal microbes were, and after years of eating indigestible processed foods and enduring heavy-handed therapies and medications, most Westerners have a gut microbiome that lacks diversity and functional intelligence.1,4 which has left us vulnerable to the proliferation of numerous intestinal imbalances.
Listen to my podcast on this topic: Troubleshoot Your Intestinal Bacteria, Candida and SIBO.
5 Major Causes of Intestinal Overgrowth, SIBO, and Candida
Here are the most common dietary and health habits that lead to candida and SIBO vulnerability.
- Overuse of medications
Antibiotics and antacids have been shown to alter intestinal bacteria. Alternatives like Saccharomyces boulardii support healthy flora as they fight SIBO and candida.3
- Weak stomach acid production
When there is a lack of stomach acid, foods can linger in the stomach and cause more gas and bloating. Without adequate stomach acid to initiate the digestive process, bile is not flowing and intestinal enzymes are not producing, which allows undesirable bacteria to proliferate and enter the small intestine.2
- Years of untreated elimination and gastrointestinal issues
Your intestinal skin is like the three little bears—it shouldn’t be too dry or too wet, it has to be just right for the proper bugs to thrive.2 Years of untreated constipation, gas, bloating, and more can result in intestinal imbalances that prevent good gut bugs from taking hold.
- A lifetime of processed and sweetened foods
Processed and packaged foods feed undesirable microbes and disturb a healthy microbiome.1,4
In Ayurveda, stress causes a reverse flow of digestion called udvarta, in which there is upward, instead of downward, intestinal pressure. This can damage the ileocecal valve (ICV) and allow large intestinal microbes to migrate into the small intestine. Today, this is called SIBO. Thirty years ago, we called it an “open ileocecal valve.”2
We Recommend SIBO: Elimination Matters
The Ayurvedic Solution: Change Your Gut Environment, Change your Gut Bacteria
Ayurveda maintains that the key to healthy digestion is using kind and gentle therapies to restore an environment conducive for a healthy microbiome.
This was the original Ayurvedic strategy when addressing bacteria gone wild! Thousands of years ago, krimi, or bacterial imbalances, were described, and the treatments were not to “kill anything,” but to change the environment.5-7
Addressing all of the issues mentioned above are critical in this process, but changing the intestinal environment is the always the first step. I call it starting from scratch inside the digestive tract.
There are two LifeSpa Formulas that can help: Slippery Elm Prebiotic Tea and Gut Revival probiotic. I often recommend taking these together for just one month. The goal here is to restore balance and not create a dependency on herbs, pills, or powders. The Slippery Elm Prebiotic Tea contains chopped slippery elm, marshmallow root, and licorice root. This formula is boiled from 2 quarts of water to a ½ quart to make a thick, viscous, soluble fiber slime that is taken in tablespoon dosages throughout the day to coat the intestinal lining from top to bottom with a natural prebiotic soluble fiber slime.
These cooling herbs protect, soothe, soften, and lubricate the entire intestinal tract while laying down microbial superfood for a new stable of microbes.9
As soluble fiber is a no-no in cases of SIBO or candida, it is critical to do this only with the addition of the ingredients in Gut Revival. Gut Revival is a probiotic containing microbes that are antagonistic to the growth of candida and undesirable microbes who may want to take advantage of the soluble fiber just laid down. It also contains colonizing probiotics that adhere to the intestinal wall and support the proliferation of new and more diverse beneficial bacteria.8
This one-two punch is the kickstart you need to shift your gut microbiome back into balance.