Whether you call it methane-dominant Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or a “Methane Bloom” – one thing is for sure:
There, I said it!
And the truth is that methane-dominant SIBO and hydrogen-dominant SIBO are very different – and treating them like the same condition can hold you back in healing… and make you feel like you’re going crazy!
Today I put together 5 facts you might not know about methane – these are compiled from some of my past interview with Dr. Mark Pimentel, M.D.
Dr. Pimentel is one of the leading experts in the world on IBS, SIBO, and methane. He’s the executive Director of MAST, a research program created exclusively to study the causes treatments treatments for SIBO, IBS, and microbiome linked diseases Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. If anyone is close to finding a cure for IBS and SIBO, it’s this guy!
I always appreciate the opportunity to learn from him.
So here they are… 5 things you may not know about methane-dominant SIBO:
#1 Methane Causes Constipation
According to Dr. Pimentel, research has consistently shown that people with IBS-C and chronic constipation consistently score higher for methane gas on SIBO breath tests than those with mixed IBS symptoms (constipation and diarrhea) or diarrhea. High levels of methane cause constipation.
#2 Methane Is Associated With Obesity
According to Dr. Pimentel, those who test positive for methane on a breath test have been shown in the data to have higher body mass index numbers (BMI).
Dr. Pimentel explain that there are two reason why methane is associated with obesity:
- Methane slows down gut motility. The longer food stays in your gut, the more nutrients (and therefore, calories) can be extracted from it.
- Methanogens consume hydrogen gas in the gut. Without the presence of hydrogen gas to tell them to “stop!” hydrogen-producing bacteria continue digesting food – leading to more calories being extracted.
#3 Methane SIBO Gets More Common As You Age
According to Dr. Pimentel, the likelihood of all types of SIBO increases with age. But the risk of methane-dominant SIBO especially increases: “In the 90 plus group, that’s the highest methane rates we see in all of our population as a whole.”
#4 Methane Contributes To Brain Fog
Though not formally published, Dr. Pimentel says that in his experience, methane-dominant SIBO patients have more brain fog than do hydrogen-dominant SIBO patients.
#5 Methane SIBO Is Tougher To Treat
“Methane is a tougher beast,” according to Dr. Pimentel.
In his research, methane-dominant SIBO responded to neomycin and Rifaximin treatment. The problem? 4 weeks after the trial, most patients had relapsed.
“Antibiotics don’t seem to have a long-lasting effect on methane as it does for Rifaximin treating the hydrogen,” Dr. Pimentel said.
Have Methane SIBO?
I know firsthand how frustrating it can be!
The good news is that there are experts like Dr. Pimentel who are doing the research we need to find a long-term solution RIGHT now!
We hope to see you there!
P.S. Were any of these facts new to you? Surprising? Leave a comment and let me know!