This can get technical but you start to understand why some people do not get better by just using anti-bacterial or anti-viral treatments. I’ve had to learn and then convince many patients that a variety of supplements might be needed to get over these infections or for total health. Like my mother in law says: people have to understand if they want to get better they often have to spend some money because insurance companies do not cover everything.
Since many people with SIBO and SIVO often have a lot of symptoms besides small bowel problems, more than a simple infection can be going on. Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged, we’ll deal with these only if we need to. Also, remember it takes a long time for doctors to learn new concepts and many of these problems have only been discovered in the last 20 years. Drugs have not been developed for these problems and that is where supplements come are used.
SIBO bacteria produce cytolethal distending toxins (CDTs) that were first discovered in 1987 and are produced by proteobacteria, such as:
CDT means cyto means cells, lethal means it kill cells, distending means bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, spasms or cramps and toxins are toxins produced by these bacteria. These slow down or damage DNA, leading to bowel and other problems. These can be part of the problem and part of a healing reaction or toxic die off we may need to manage with treating infections.
CDT toxins directly damage DNA in cells. These include lymphocytes (white blood cells which are needed to fight infections, heal cells and control inflammation), fibroblasts in connective tissues, mucosal cells (sinuses, eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, digestive, urinary and genital tracts), blood vessels and skin cells. This explains why many people with bacterial infections have such wide spread problems. We may need to use supplements or treatments to help the white blood cells, connective tissues, clear up other mucosal cells, improve circulation and help with skin problems.
We may need to use specific supplements to flush out toxins, absorb toxins or to help prevent these infections from binding (sticking) to other cells and shifting around from system to system. We may need supplements to preserve, improve or protect DNA so cells function better.
Researchers think these DNA damaging toxins work via cholesterol, lectins, galectins, glycans and glycosphingolipids. This makes sense to me because I’ve seen and treating all these very technical issues. We are constantly learning about technical issues and add new treatments as we find them. In fact, high cholesterol is just a marker for immune problems (and increased risk for circulation problems) and I’ve seen patients who only normalized cholesterol after we got infections under control. Ask for my articles and treatments for selectins and galectins.
There are 3 types of glycans and they are linked to immune problems, inflammation, nervous system problems and hormonal problems. They are related to specific amino acids, such as mannose, asparagine, threonine and tryptophan and I’ve had to use supplements to support or improve immune, nervous system, neurotransmitters and hormonal problems. Do not use plain tryptophan supplements because it will lead to problems. In general, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs and hormones are not going to solve the problem, but they may help with symptoms and we commonly use supplements to help out.
Glycosphingolipids have 3 types:
All of this is not meant to scare or overwhelm you. It helps to explain why some people with infections have such widespread symptoms and problems and to educate you we have treatments for total wellness.
David Overton, PA-C owns Natural Medicines & Family Practice where he combines conventional and natural approaches.
Note: none of these statements are approved by the FDA but express my own opinion from medical research and clinical experience.