What is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth?
Excessive bacteria in the stomach and small intestines, a condition known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), is due to changes in one’s health condition, like sickness, malnutrition, or an immune deficiency. This situation can lead to problems with absorbing food, like vitamin B12, damage to the small intestine lining, or worse, coma, neurological deficit, and acidosis-induced shock. SIBO can also cause irritable bowel syndrome, diagnosed by hydrogen breath test (HBT).
Can Probiotics help in the treatment of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth?
Probiotics help prevent diseases like antibiotic-associated diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease. Studies have shown that probiotics help treat gastrointestinal disorders, vaginal infections, and high cholesterol. Probiotics also improve your digestion and immune system.
This pilot study was aimed to assess the efficacy of lactol probiotic (consisting of Bacillus coagulan spores and Fructo-oligosaccharides) in the treatment of SIBO or, at the least, reduce its complications.
The Study Method on Lactol Probiotics for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
In this study, 30 patients with chronic abdominal pain or diarrhea and positive HBT result, chosen randomly in a double-blind manner, were divided equally into two groups: Probiotic and Control. After their gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms were noted, both groups underwent a 3-week aggressive therapy with broad-spectrum antibiotics. After which, a monthly maintenance and therapeutic regimen was administered to all patients. The Probiotic group received 100 mg minocycline antibiotic, twice a day, for the first 15 days, and the probiotic lactol, twice a day after meals, for the next 15 days. The Control group had only minocycline during the first 15 days and received no other drug during the rest of the month. After six months, they retook the HBT, and their GI symptoms were again recorded.
The probiotic Lactol seems to help people with GI problems. 93.3% of people who took lactol had a negative hydrogen breath test, and their abdominal pain went away. Other GI problems also improved in the study group who took lactol.
However, these results need confirmation in a study with larger sample size.
Based on the results of this pilot study, it seems that adding lactol probiotic to the antibiotic therapy will be beneficial in the treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and prevent its complications.