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We started Week 2: SIBO Testing and Treatment with information about how to get tested for SIBO and the treatments available.

Now, we’re going to focus on one of the more challenging treatment options for SIBO, The Elemental Diet.

Like what I mentioned in your Day 2 guide, the Elemental Diet replaces meals with a pre-digested liquid diet. It seeks to starve the bacteria while providing you with amino acids, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals, which are absorbed in the upper digestive tract. The Elemental Diet can be made at home or purchased in pre-made formulations. In studies, it has been shown to have a high success rate in the treatment of SIBO.

Why choose the Elemental Diet?

This type of treatment is fast and effective. Studies have shown the Elemental Diet can achieve the greatest reduction of SIBO over the shortest period of time. So if you’re going to hit the bacteria hard and faster, this is the way to do it.

Preparations

Doing something as drastic as the Elemental Diet shouldn’t be taken lightly. You need to physically and mentally prepare for it. To get ready, I did the following:

  • Added in some extra 24-hour fasts so I was used to not eating
  • Had a strategy session with my consulting doctor so I was fully aware of what I might experience
  • Met with my psychologist to mentally prepare for not eating food and to develop some coping strategies on how to manage any food cravings
  • Booked it in at a time when I wasn’t travelling or had major events on. I told my friends what I was doing and that I would be in hibernation for a few weeks
  • Wrote down the reasons why I want to do it, so I could remind myself on the hard days
  • Reduced my food intake in the final few days so my stomach began to shrink
  • Allowed 6+ weeks after the Elemental Diet to slowly reintroduce foods to allow the best chances of success

I have done a lot of treatments over the past 5 years. The thought of not eating for 2-3 weeks scared me, but after doing the Elemental Diet my gut felt calmer, I had so much energy and my brain felt clear. It was hard work, but for such a short period of time, I had fantastic results in managing my SIBO symptoms. 

Want to know more about the Elemental Diet? You can listen to the following The Healthy Gut Podcast episodes or watch my YouTube vlogs.