8

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Can regular alcohol consumption actually treat/improve SIBO?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 24, 2012 at 11:15 PM

It's pretty commonsense knowledge that alcohol kills bacteria. Pretty much all bacteria, hence why it's sometimes used to disinfect cuts. It's also well known that alcohol in moderation, red wine in particular, is beneficial for HDL and cardiovascular health.

Food travels from 1 Mouth -> 2 Esophagus -> 3 Stomach -> |3.5 Pyloric Sphincter | -> 4 Small Intestine -> 5 Large Intestine -> 6 Rectum -> 7 Toilet, hopefully

I NEVER drink. I make an earnest effort to abstain from alcohol for the sake of my slow liver. However, during Halloween and my birthday (late October,) I decided to celebrate with a fancy bottle of dry red wine. That morning I took a liver supplement (Milk thistle + L-Cysteine) to mitigate some of the liver damage. I didn't have much, a small glass worth. However, I noticed that my SIBO (undiagnosed, but I'm about 99.9% sure I have it. I had all the classic symptoms including rosacea, which has since gone away after improving my diet) symptoms were not bothering me after I drank. Generally after eating, I'll get the burps (I don't know anyone who can burp louder than me) or some very mild hiccups. I was eating a bunch of hard to digest crappy carb-laden food (birthday cake, brownies and dried banana chips) maybe an hour before drinking.

We just got done having Christmas dinner, which was served with white wine, and I felt the same mild improvement in my SIBO/SIBO-like symptoms.

As far as I know, alcohol is only absorbed once its in the small intestine. This is why you don't get drunk IMMEDIATELY after you drink alcohol, whereas smoking marijuana is pretty much immediate because it enters your bloodstream as soon as it enters your lungs. If alcohol works much like an antibiotic in the sense that it kills bacteria without discrimination, couldn't it explain some of the research-backed health benefits? The consensus among doctors and people-who-drink-alcohol-but-aren't-alcoholics is pretty much that a glass of red wine a day has more benefit than it does negatives.

Digestifs (alcoholic beverages drank with a meal) are commonly drank as a digestive aid post-meal. One other "benefit" of alcohol is its ability to break down proteins, kind of like Betaine HCl and Pepsin do. http://www.wisegeek....-a-digestif.htm

If alcohol remains unchanged until it reaches the SI, it's logical to assume that it kills off whatever bacteria is in there. Unless I'm missing something here? Do you think this theory makes sense? Could alcohol be used to relieve or possibly even treat SIBO symptoms instead of antibiotics? Could 100% abstinence from alcohol actually be a BAD thing for some people? One benefit of using red wine instead of antibiotic is that I'm pretty sure the bacteria don't build up a tolerance/resistance to alcohol, unlike antibiotic resistance.

Where does Candida Albicans fit into this picture? Does Candida reside in the Small Intestine or the Large Intestine or both? One of the byproducts of yeast metabolism is commonly alcohol (that's how we make beer and wine.) Does this mean fungi/yeasts like Candida are not killed off by alcohol?

SIBO + alcohol + small intestine = small intestine - SIBO + alcohol?

7b20db75b09540914bd0c852e868a9d6

(454)

on January 11, 2013
at 10:13 PM

interesting! i also am undiagnosed but believe i have sibo

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on December 25, 2012
at 06:34 PM

Much as I sympathize with frustration on studies that seem to think humans and rodents are exactly alike - sometimes it is the best we can do. There's a lot of studies that we need to do on animals before we do them on humans, and it's rather silly to completely dismiss results just because they aren't human studies at this point. We can't very well get a whole bunch of humans with SIBO and load them up with vodka. Perhaps not ever, but certainly not without trying it on mice first.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on December 25, 2012
at 04:25 PM

Too bad rats and mice aren't humans. I doubt they would understand me.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on December 25, 2012
at 05:30 AM

Yeah, well tell that to rats and mice: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19645728 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21254165

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on December 25, 2012
at 05:28 AM

Yeah, well tell that to rats: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19645728 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21254165

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on December 25, 2012
at 02:37 AM

Alcohol is absorbed in the SI. There aren't even supposed to be any bacteria in your SI except for a small number of a few lactobacillus species. Your large intestine is where the bacteria is supposed to be primarily. I wouldn't worry much about alcohol harming good bacteria. Certainly no more than processed food harms good bacteria.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on December 25, 2012
at 02:36 AM

Alcohol is alcohol, but it turns into ketones. Alcohol = 7 calories per gram. Carbohydrate = 4 calories per gram. Fat = 9 calories per gram. Protein = 4 calories per gram. I already take magnesium and consume spinach regularly, so I don't think chlorophyll is going to provide any benefit I'm not already experiencing.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

(649)

on December 25, 2012
at 02:31 AM

alcohol is not sugar. it is alcohol. more like a fat if anything.

Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on December 24, 2012
at 11:36 PM

i would like to know too! +1

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6 Answers

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0
C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

on December 25, 2012
at 02:24 AM

Alcohol is sugar. Sugar feeds yeast, mold, fungus, parasites in the body. Keeping as much sugar out of the body in every form will do more for your health. I have combined using the website and book, "The Ph Miracle" by Dr. Robert Young, available at www.phmiracleliving.com and Amazon, and a paleo diet. The supplements he suggests have helped so much. I do the purify drops and chlorophyll drops (5 drops purify and 1 dropperful of chlorophyll to one liter distilled water or other alkaline water) and also use his phour salts (one scoop in one liter bottle of distilled water or other alkaline water). The chlorophyll feeds the blood cells, the purify kills mold, yeast and parasites, the phour salts soothe the tummy and keep the body alkaline. I was told to wait a 1/2 hour between the two types of waters. I juice GREEN veggies, cucumber, celery, kale, parsley, cilantro, etc with a lemon and drink lots of that. Carrots and beets have too much sugar and also feed bacteria in the gut. I was drinking over a gallon of it a day on the cleanse part. Once I started feeling better, I went paleo. I did juice as suggested by him for a month before going paleo, adding avocados, making shakes with avocados and other yummy ingredients.. I feel so much better. My skin is healing and a lot of my other symptoms are gone. I am still juicing but eat meats, lots of fats, and lots of veggies. Some days I just drink a gallon of juice and about 3 liters each of the above waters for a total of about a gallon and a half of water. I don't know what will work for you, but I do know that feeding alcohol to your body will just help your bacteria grow. The book is amazing. Check it out.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on December 25, 2012
at 02:36 AM

Alcohol is alcohol, but it turns into ketones. Alcohol = 7 calories per gram. Carbohydrate = 4 calories per gram. Fat = 9 calories per gram. Protein = 4 calories per gram. I already take magnesium and consume spinach regularly, so I don't think chlorophyll is going to provide any benefit I'm not already experiencing.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

(649)

on December 25, 2012
at 02:31 AM

alcohol is not sugar. it is alcohol. more like a fat if anything.

3
F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on December 25, 2012
at 06:11 PM

I don't know about SIBO, but I've found that regular alcohol consumption has definitely improved my outlook on life.

2
A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

on December 25, 2012
at 12:43 AM

Yea It kills the bacteria, but you have to think of all of the other effects of drinking alcohol like lowering your immune system to fight off bad bacteria, I'm sure there are a dozen other effects. You can't just look at alcohols effects on bacteria

1
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on March 04, 2013
at 02:28 AM

No,

1) Alcohol doesn't kill all bacteria. There's some that love it. This is how vinegar is made for example. Sugar to alcohol, alcohol to vinegar.

2) You need decently high concentrations of alcohol to kill susceptible bugs. Hand sanitizers run at around 60% concentration as a comparison. Not perfect, but a good reference point. Beer runs around 4%. Wine 10-12%. Whiskey 40%. Everclear 95%.

3) You dilute what you eat and drink with stomach acid, bile, saliva, etc. So your 10-12% wine with the meal is nowhere near 10-12% when it hits the bugs

4) Wine's sugars are known to feed bacteria fairly well.

5) So ditch the wine and go for Everclear (illegal in a lot of areas). Asides from frying what's left of your liver. Higher concentrations of alcohol is known to make your gut wall permeable, and passes through endotoxins from the bacteria. So great, you kill the bugs, and also yourself with it. Probably not the outcome you want. :)

So, anectdotally, did you feel better after drinking wine? Yes. Was it caused by the alcohol killing bugs? No. Could be something else with the wine, could be you don't have SIBO, could be placebo, etc. No way to know for sure.

1
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on December 25, 2012
at 12:27 AM

It seems possible, but I think it could backfire. I haven't seen much clinical research done, but here's what I think some possibilities are:

Depending on the concentration of alcohol when it reaches your SI, it's not from unheard of for bacteria to develop resiliency against ethanol (e. coli, a common species present with SIBO, seems to). And if the concentration of alcohol is low enough, certain bacteria (e.g. steptococcal, another common SIBO species) can eat alcohol as food, not good.

So just to look at the worst case scenario it's very possible you could hurt the good bugs in your gut and do little to the bad bugs you're trying to target.

Drinking alcohol, for the logical reasons you outlines, might help you achieve your SIBO treating goals, or it might not. And it probably comes with the same risks taking antibiotics does, perhaps without some risks (e.g. antibiotic resistance) but also carrying some others the traditional drugs don't.

So I think it might help, but it might hurt, and YMMV. Proceed with caution.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on December 25, 2012
at 02:37 AM

Alcohol is absorbed in the SI. There aren't even supposed to be any bacteria in your SI except for a small number of a few lactobacillus species. Your large intestine is where the bacteria is supposed to be primarily. I wouldn't worry much about alcohol harming good bacteria. Certainly no more than processed food harms good bacteria.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on December 25, 2012
at 04:25 PM

Too bad rats and mice aren't humans. I doubt they would understand me.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on December 25, 2012
at 05:28 AM

Yeah, well tell that to rats: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19645728 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21254165

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on December 25, 2012
at 05:30 AM

Yeah, well tell that to rats and mice: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19645728 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21254165

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on December 25, 2012
at 06:34 PM

Much as I sympathize with frustration on studies that seem to think humans and rodents are exactly alike - sometimes it is the best we can do. There's a lot of studies that we need to do on animals before we do them on humans, and it's rather silly to completely dismiss results just because they aren't human studies at this point. We can't very well get a whole bunch of humans with SIBO and load them up with vodka. Perhaps not ever, but certainly not without trying it on mice first.

0
F6a3c668a0cae92df0cb7af18b4dd047

on March 04, 2013
at 01:16 AM

Small intestinal bacteria feed off of starches and grains, therefore beer might backfire. other sources of alcohol I am not sure of. Methyl alcohol may kill bacteria, but are you sure about the effectiveness of ethyl alcohol?

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