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Healing small intestine bacterial overgrowth with Zero carb

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 02, 2010 at 1:15 AM

I would like to know if anybody has been doing ZC for quite a long time to heal bacterial overgrowth (probably candida) in the small intestine, I would like to know your results. I'm trying it kind of as a last resort, but my dilemma is that I figure that good bacteria introduced by means of probiotics would also benefit from some sugars. I have the same dilema with iron. Candida and other non-desired bacteria thrives on iron and I can attest that because everytime I had more iron it became worse, but would good bacteria also need iron to thrive?

My problem seem to stabilize a bit when I go zero carb, but even then the good bacteria seems to have trouble getting a grip, but then if I only eat a couple of carrots it starts getting worse no matter the quantity of good bacteria I introduce at the same time (and I take VSL#3, which has 450 Billion CFUs per dose, so no kidding here.)

FOS and Inulin are out of the question for me and there is no question as to whether or not it can also feed the bad guys because my problem got much worse just by introducing jerusalem artichokes.

Candida and other related problems are a good breeding ground for snake oil salesmen so it's almost impossible to get real information online without testing for myself, but I trying my luck to see if anybody went throught something similar.

So I guess in summary I would like to know if some people have been able to replenish and change the gut environment while eating zero carb as well as low iron.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on October 20, 2011
at 05:33 PM

How are you doing? Did ZC work for SIBO?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 26, 2011
at 09:16 PM

I would at least temporarily only eat boiled/steamed standard potatoes with sufficient quantities of fat.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:31 PM

Care to elaborate?

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on January 26, 2011
at 07:33 PM

so no yams as it contains fructose?

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on January 26, 2011
at 10:20 AM

Thanks Peter, I've made progress in my findings about my health in the last few months and I've arrived at conclusions similar to yours. I also love the Perfect Health Diet blog and learned a lot from there.

5f2b8e0a671b7eaae8a6bd97f0ded166

(120)

on September 20, 2010
at 05:17 AM

Gibson one is about inulin. The link for low carb one is - http://www.news-medical.net/news/2007/06/20/26643.aspx "Scientists at Aberdeen's Rowett Research Institute have shown that a very low carbohydrate weight-loss diet results in a four-fold reduction in the numbers of certain types of bacteria in the gut of obese men." They did not mention the name of the good bacteria but it seems like these are bifidobacteria, since this bacteria makes butyrate from inulin.-- Rashed

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on September 19, 2010
at 12:06 PM

Linkage ? Google hates me (unless you mean the Selective stimulation of bifidobacteria in the human colon by oligofructose and inulin, 1995, Gibson)

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on September 19, 2010
at 11:53 AM

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on September 18, 2010
at 07:10 AM

What symptoms do you have - and which worsen?

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on August 02, 2010
at 10:19 AM

@melissa Yeah I've heard of fecal transplants, and I've also read that they seem to work for a lot of people, at least temporarily. I was never bad enough for the docs (or me) to consider one. Usually they like to give you pills first and only start considering gut flora after you're nice and medicated.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on August 02, 2010
at 03:01 AM

Thanks Eva. Even though everyone has a different situation like you said, I tried so much things and made so many observations over the years with my health and how I react to this and that that I feel I'd be able to help almost anybody that has a problem in the same range as me. To small insights like problems with egg whites to bigger ones like more iron being harmful and anti-fungal being counterproductive and even dangerous when the problem is advanced. If only I could go back and tell myself to take a probiotic and cut grains, dairy and veg. oils, but I guess the beauty is in the learning

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 02, 2010
at 02:03 AM

Have you heard of fecal transplants? the success rate seems pretty high...

F80819fa564f4f7aeb6a8256479c63e9

(40)

on August 02, 2010
at 01:40 AM

@pfw - what tests do you suggest to get?

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9 Answers

5
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 02, 2010
at 01:40 AM

My understanding is that intestinal health is about balance. We all have candida. It's only a prob if its population gets out of balance. The goal is to foster an environment that does not give unwanted bacteria the advantage such that they overpopulate and push out other more beneficial bacteria. From everything I have seen, the way that seems to really work to do that is to eat low carb, cut out grains, cut out wheat, etc. I don't think we really know exactly why it works. I think there are lot of theories about why it may or may not work, and some of those theories sound really logical and may be correct. Or they may not. Not every logical theory turns out to be true. Or there may be many factors we currently have no clue about.

One problem is that if something makes you feel sick, it's hard to say exactly way. Did it cause candida breeding? Are you allergic to it? Do you have problems digesting it in your weakened state? Obviously, if it makes you feel sick, stop eating it. But understanding what exactly is going on is often difficult and may considering our current state of knowledge be well nigh impossible right now.

I think right now, we can use all the logic in the world (and believe me, I love logic), but the end question of everything has to be does it work? Is it working? Does it work for a lot of people? etc. For you, I would say is it working? If so, keep with it and see what else it can do for you. It may take quite a while for the intestines to really heal from all that damage.

Also consider that there are probably no treatments that work for every single person. We don't know why that one guy had problems. He may have had more than one thing going on at one time. He may have still been ingesting some foods that his particular system could not handle. That does not mean that you will suddenly have problems later. It just means we don't have the answer yet for that guy. -Eva

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on August 02, 2010
at 03:01 AM

Thanks Eva. Even though everyone has a different situation like you said, I tried so much things and made so many observations over the years with my health and how I react to this and that that I feel I'd be able to help almost anybody that has a problem in the same range as me. To small insights like problems with egg whites to bigger ones like more iron being harmful and anti-fungal being counterproductive and even dangerous when the problem is advanced. If only I could go back and tell myself to take a probiotic and cut grains, dairy and veg. oils, but I guess the beauty is in the learning

4
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on August 03, 2010
at 06:42 PM

I don't have an answer to solving your problems, not having any personal experience, but I thought the following would be interesting.

From this study.

The mucus is secreted by your body to protect the surface of the gut and lubricate the passage of digested food.

The majority of intestinal bacteria require a fermentable carbohydrate for growth, and fermentation is assumed to be the mode of metabolism used by most species (8). Most carbohydrate in the colon is in the form of mucosal polysaccharides, which are degraded by a few anaerobes that dominate the intestinal biota (9-11). The monosaccharides released from mucin and other mucosal glycoproteins support the growth of many intestinal bacteria such as E. coli, which does not make polysaccharide-degrading enzymes (10). Because the population of individual species is proportional to the concentration of its preferred nutrient(s), the relatively low population of E. coli in the intestine indicates that the concentration of its preferred nutrient(s) is low.

A large and growing body of evidence indicates that commensal E. coli grows in the intestine on nutrients acquired from mucus.

This means that the microbes in your gut are fed by the mucus produced by your own body. This is an explanation as to why a zero carb diet will not kill off all the yeast or bacteria in your gut. Microbes like Candida or Klebsiella are normal gut microbes and so will probably be fed by the mucus secreted by your own cells even without consuming any carbohydrates. It also means the gut bacteria are fed during periods of fasting.

After a period eating zero carb the same gut bacteria and yeast are likely to be there as before, just at lower levels. You are really converting protein into sugar and then feeding it back to your gut bacteria. If you eat some types of fibre there will be a lot of extra food for certain kinds of bacteria to feed on.

The microbial ecosystem in your gut is very diverse and quite resisiant to change, unfortunatly. Even the best probiotic will do little good if the bacteria do not stick to gut wall and form new colonies. The bugs that are there work hard to prevent this. I have heard probiotics likened to trying to plant a field of wheat on the floor of a rain forest.

4
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on August 02, 2010
at 01:27 AM

I did this for the past year. My last colonoscopy (July 30,2010) came back with no disease activity (Crohn's) and if I'm following the right theory that means that I successfully attacked a particular bacteria with a low-starch diet. See: http://crohnscarnivore.blogspot.com/2010/06/hypothesis.html for details on my approach/logic.

That said - this is not so simple as "zc == dead bacteria". ZC/LC will almost certainly provide less growth medium for bacteria, but that does not mean it will prevent overgrowth of ALL bacteria or even kill ALL bacteria. Candida might find some way to flourish in a ZC environment, for example. I know of one poster on the PaNu forum who, despite being ZC for months and paleo for years claimed to have all sorts of bloating and bacterial overgrowth/yeast issues. So it's not always so simple.

I highly recommend putting the time and effort into getting a test to establish what, if any, bacterial imbalances might exist. Barring that, find a credible, well researched and well supported (buy the papers if you have to) line of attack based on a clinical diagnosis of symptoms. For me, it was easy - I have Crohn's, which carries a specific list of symptoms and which has a body of research behind it. If all you're going on is "I think I might have candida overgrowth", you're not working with a solid foundation of knowledge and need to get some actual medical evidence to work with. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up for doing the wrong thing without realizing it. Doctors have their uses and this is one of them.

Good luck with your symptoms and I hope you get it under control.

edit: In response to "what tests" in the comments - there exist fecal bacterial tests which my gastroenterologist ordered once. Basically you crap on a piece of plastic, collect a sample, and they send it to a lab. There are a bunch of different variations on this, but any decent gastro will be able to order one for you. If you have a genuine overgrowth problem, it should show up in the test, which gives you the information you need to look for alternative treatements, and which should prod the gastro into conventional action if you want to take that route.

Also, I wouldn't limit myself to this particular test. Do some research on bacterial overgrowth and see what papers and case studies say. There could be other tests out there which are effective at establishing a diagnosis for you to attack.

The key is to find a target. Launching arrows into the darkness can be very frustrating. My first foray (years ago) into controlling Crohn's with diet was like this. I had no target and thus only a vague idea of what I should do, and of course I failed.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 02, 2010
at 02:03 AM

Have you heard of fecal transplants? the success rate seems pretty high...

F80819fa564f4f7aeb6a8256479c63e9

(40)

on August 02, 2010
at 01:40 AM

@pfw - what tests do you suggest to get?

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on August 02, 2010
at 10:19 AM

@melissa Yeah I've heard of fecal transplants, and I've also read that they seem to work for a lot of people, at least temporarily. I was never bad enough for the docs (or me) to consider one. Usually they like to give you pills first and only start considering gut flora after you're nice and medicated.

3
Aacfefcd5c42954ec77a98de0c1ae543

on January 26, 2011
at 02:23 AM

Hi Paleo Seb,

Your experience sounds familiar.

It seems that once a certain level of damage occurs in the gut, it is self-sustaining. This damage causes so many problems, including lack of important vitamins (normally produced by a "healthy" bacterial population), lack of certain digestive enzymes (caused by villi damage) and immune system dysfunction (caused by bacterial imbalance and leaky gut).

With severe gut illness, consuming probiotics or having fecal enemas will often have no lasting effect, because the terrain defines what will grow. For a start, the mucus membrane (as mentioned by Matthew) must be healthy.

As well as taking quality vitamins and continuing to eat a non-toxic diet, steps must be taken to eliminate any chronic infection -- which in my opinion is the most likely cause (or effect?) of chronic gut illness.

Check out cpnhelp.org and rheumatic.org to get a feel for what is required to heal chronic infections. Another great resource is perfecthealthdiet.com

Cheers.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on January 26, 2011
at 10:20 AM

Thanks Peter, I've made progress in my findings about my health in the last few months and I've arrived at conclusions similar to yours. I also love the Perfect Health Diet blog and learned a lot from there.

3
5f2b8e0a671b7eaae8a6bd97f0ded166

(120)

on September 18, 2010
at 04:05 AM

Few days ago i read a scientific article on the influence of low carb on gut flora. You can do a google search and find that article. Their conclusion was that low carb diet lowers the numbers of good bacteria. They recommended that if one eats low carb they need to increase the amount of inulin to boost the number of good bacteria, namely bifidobacteria. This group of bacteria also decreases number of bad bacteria in the gut. A dose of 15 gm of inulin in 2 weeks can double the number of this good bacteria. From my personal experience i believe this approach is way more helpful than those so called anti candida diet. Its all about the type of carbohydrate.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on September 19, 2010
at 11:53 AM

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on September 19, 2010
at 12:06 PM

Linkage ? Google hates me (unless you mean the Selective stimulation of bifidobacteria in the human colon by oligofructose and inulin, 1995, Gibson)

5f2b8e0a671b7eaae8a6bd97f0ded166

(120)

on September 20, 2010
at 05:17 AM

Gibson one is about inulin. The link for low carb one is - http://www.news-medical.net/news/2007/06/20/26643.aspx "Scientists at Aberdeen's Rowett Research Institute have shown that a very low carbohydrate weight-loss diet results in a four-fold reduction in the numbers of certain types of bacteria in the gut of obese men." They did not mention the name of the good bacteria but it seems like these are bifidobacteria, since this bacteria makes butyrate from inulin.-- Rashed

1
Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on January 26, 2011
at 07:30 PM

Zero carb is not a good idea for gut flora issues. With SIBO, a weed and seed approach is probably best. A modest course of antibiotics could be necessary but other things should be checked like Vitamin D level, stomach acid (very important). Cutting out carbs will only make things worse in the long run.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on January 26, 2011
at 08:31 PM

Care to elaborate?

1
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 02, 2010
at 02:51 PM

There were some struggling with this on zeroinginonhealth.com, and if I understood correctly, some people have had candida for so long that even if they get it out of their guts, it reinfects them from the bloodstream whenever carbs are reintroduced. They call this "overgrowth." When this happens then you have to also take antifungals or coconut oil in addition to removing all carbs. It can be a long process.

0
6ce72662ca1556df5aa2a1cc8095e358

(0)

on November 08, 2012
at 06:39 PM

I had a fecal transplant done in Sept 2012 for a recurring case of SIBO. Prior to the fecal transplant I took Rifaximin on/off for two years quite successfully.
I took antibiotics for a dental procedure in May 2012, shortly after these antibiotics SIBO returned full force and I developed resistance to Rifaximin. 1.) transplant did nothing for SIBO/IBS symptoms. It was only one treatment and I got the transplant through my small bowel and colon.
2.) my poop changed in color/smell. So it could indicate that my old bacteria is out and new is in which could be important simply because rifaximin could now work again. I will take rifaximin here soon and will post any results.

0
Medium avatar

on January 26, 2011
at 06:51 PM

Were I you, I would cut out 100% of fructose and try reasonable amounts of potatoes for carbs. Supposedly, because fructose can't be used by your cells, but can be by various pathogens, consuming any amount gives the pathogens an advantage. Glucose from the potatoes can be readily accepted as fuel by all of your cells, and is thus less of a danger.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on January 26, 2011
at 09:16 PM

I would at least temporarily only eat boiled/steamed standard potatoes with sufficient quantities of fat.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on January 26, 2011
at 07:33 PM

so no yams as it contains fructose?

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