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Recently, a fan of the Body Ecology Facebook page, Tiffany L., asked us about coconut water kefir.
Coconut water kefir is made from the water of young coconuts, which is naturally sweet.
You can ferment this sweet, mineral-rich water with a kefir starter culture and create a delicious and refreshing beverage—one that is good for you and your inner ecology.
“Does Donna Gates-The Body Ecology Diet recommend consuming coconut kefir if someone has SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)?”
The best way to correct small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is by improving motility in the small intestine. This can ease common yet unpleasant SIBO symptoms, like cramping, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition marked by an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, where the body continues to digest food after it exits the stomach.
The small intestine should be relatively free of any long-term housing for bacteria—even the good kind, the ones you find in probiotic foods. Your residential bacteria and yeast mostly live in the colon, or large intestine.
SIBO occurs when food and microbes stagnate—or do not move—through the small intestine.
Signs of SIBO range from heartburn and cramping in the upper gastrointestinal tract to constipation and diarrhea. SIBO makes the small intestine leaky. Over the long term, this affects the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. An inflamed and leaky small intestine can lead to anemia from iron deficiency or from vitamin B12 deficiency. Other long-term affects of SIBO may include fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. (1)
The most common way to diagnose SIBO is with a breath test—but even this is not always a reliable diagnosis.
According to Dr. LuPont at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, “Studies suggest that breath testing measures variations in small bowel transit time occurring in patients with IBS, rather than the presence of SIBO.”
Dr. LuPont explains that SIBO may occur in a portion of patients that actually have IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. This tells us that SIBO can affect the entire length of the gut—not just the small intestine. It also tells us that the repercussions of SIBO can be systemic, with cloudy thinking or depressed mood being the some of the key symptoms.
In 2008, researchers at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland and Hohenheim University in Stuttgart, Germany, investigated the effect of probiotic foods in a group of elderly patients with SIBO. (2) They found that probiotic foods supported the immune system and reduced markers for chronic, low-grade inflammation.
In other words, probiotic foods may reverse leaky gut and reduce lab markers for SIBO. Even though coconut water kefir is fermented and contains probiotic bacteria, these bacteria will not make bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine worse. In fact, just the opposite is true.
Coconut water kefir can assist with the digestion of food and recovery from SIBO.
This is because the active, living probiotics in coconut water kefir do a lot of good. (3)(4)(5)(6) Such as:
This is especially true when coconut water kefir is used in conjunction with the other principles of the Body Ecology Diet—namely the Principle of Food Combining and the Principle of 80/20.
Remember, SIBO occurs when food and microbes stop moving through the small intestine!
When food or microbes stagnate, bacteria begin to grow out of control and infect the small intestine. In order to reverse SIBO, you want to increase motility in the small intestine. This motility sweeps microbes along with food through the small intestine, moving it to the colon.
Following the principles of the Body Ecology Diet, we recommend that you:
SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. This triggers the body to continue to digest food after it has exited the stomach. Ideally, the small intestine should be free of most bacteria, even beneficial bacteria found in probiotics. Gut bacteria and yeast belong in the colon, or large intestine.
When food and microbes stagnate and do not move effectively through the small intestine, SIBO occurs. Some of the most common symptoms include heartburn, cramping, poor nutrient absorption, and anemia, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue over the long-term.
Cultured foods like coconut water kefir, dairy kefir, and cultured vegetables offer hope to heal digestion. You can use three helpful tips to increase motility in the small intestine and reverse the effects of SIBO: