top of page

Why killing a bacterial overgrowth is not the answer

I hear lots of talk of people 'killing' bacteria when they have gut problems, especially with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). It's a limited, over-simplified approach that can potentially cause you more problems later.

Here I want to talk about how to build gut health - restore and heal - rather than launch a campaign of search and destroy.

How you get sick

This is a brief summary of basically what can go wrong in the gut:

In the small intestine, only small amounts of bacteria should reside. It's when they start to proliferate (overgrown) that things go awry.

In the large intestine (the bowel), there are great communities of bacteria and other micro-organisms that perform a multitude of functions, including:

Controlling motility

Regulating immunity

Keeping the gut lining healthy

Discouraging growth of unwanted bacteria, parasites, yeasts and other micro-organisms

Making vitamins

And a whole host of other things, both discovered and yet to be discovered.

However, certain changes in your gut environment can disrupt the fine balance. For example, a case of gastro can trigger SIBO, stress can reduce your ability to kill parasites and reduce numbers of beneficial bacteria.

This is when overgrowths occur.

What's wrong with killing things off?

Yes, you do need to get numbers of bacteria down to normal levels and yes, you do want to reduce levels of pathogenic organisms. Herbs and antibiotics do help and I do prescribe herbal antimicrobials, such as oregano capsules, or berberine (has to be prescribed by me). But the thinking these days is to be gentle and judicial with these treatments as overuse of even natural products can cause bacterial resistance and can decimate your good bacterial populations.

So what is the answer?

Firstly, you need to build yourself up so that your body can deal with the aftermath of dead and dying bacteria. You need a healthy gut lining, you need good ability to detoxify nasty by-products from these bacteria and you need to be able to eliminate dead micro-organisms and toxins from youyour body via faeces and urine.

You need to strengthen liver function using products such as:

Milk thistle



B vitamins


You need to build a healthy gut lining using natural supplements including:


Vitamin A


Vitamin D


And you need to make sure you have healthy bowel movements to rid yourself of that which you are killing. Easier said than done for some. If constipation is a problem for you, you need to consider products such as PHGG, Biogaia Protectis, magnesium oxide, high doses of vitamin C, or natural laxatives such as cascara if necessary.

You need plenty of water and fibre. If you have trouble tolerating fibre from grains, focus on getting fibre from whatever vegetables you can manage, plus nuts and seeds.

Get plenty of exercise to support motility.

If constipation is less of a problem for you, or you predominantly suffer diahrroea, try using products, such as BioPractica Toxaprevent, which binds to toxins and helps you eliminate them. This is a practitioner-only product so book an appointment with me if you need help with this.


Once you've got your gut flora back into balance you have to do some restoration work. This is crucial for getting you back to full health and also to prevent any relapse in your gut condition.

The best restoration protocol should include the use of a good probiotic. Most people need to build up the two main families of bacteria, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and I recommend a good broad-spectrum such as Orthoplex Multiflora (a practitioner-only product) or Herbs of Gold 55 billion.

You should also continue with gut healing work.

What's the cause?

The difference between a mediocre practitioner and a really great one is that the latter will always look at the root cause of your health issues. If you know what triggered your problems and what prevented you from getting better, then you can address that and greatly reduce your risks of getting sick again.

This is something I work on with all my patients. If you would like to book an appointment with me book online here. I would love to help you.

99 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page