Everything You Need to Know About Garlic & SIBO

Judging by posts in the SIBO SOS® Facebook Community, many of us who struggle with Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth  are VERY confused about garlic!

Here are some screenshots of posts we’ve had in the group:

Let me start by saying – I totally understand the confusion! I used to be confused myself.

You may have heard that you shouldn’t eat garlic if you have SIBO… but that garlic is also a popular treatment…. How can that be? 

But it’s actually simple once someone explains it to you. I was lucky enough to have Dr. Allison Siebecker explain the difference to me, and today I want to pass that knowledge on to you!

Is Garlic a “Forbidden Food” For SIBO Patients?

This is where all the confusion begins! 

Garlic is a high-FODMAP food. FODMAP stands for fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are short chain carbohydrates and for people with issues like SIBO or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), foods that are high in FODMAPs can increase symptoms like bloating and discomfort. 

Many diets for SIBO and IBS recommend limiting high-FODMAP foods and sticking to a low-FODMAP diet. 

But defining what foods are “high” and “low” in FODMAPs is a little tricky. There’s no universal standard for high and low, and quantity matters a lot, as well. Even a food that is very high in FODMAPs might be well-tolerated by people with IBS and SIBO in smaller quantities. 

To make it even MORE confusing, not all people with SIBO or IBS react to all high-FODMAP foods. Some people might only struggle with oligosaccharides and be fine with polyols, for example. And some people might be able to tolerate one food that is high in monosaccharides but not another.

That means that there is no such thing as forbidden foods for SIBO and IBS. The best diets for SIBO and IBS are “frameworks” for finding the foods that work for you – not black and white guidelines. 

The only way to know what foods you can and can’t tolerate it to test them! (To learn more about this, I recommend Dr. Siebecker’s Diet Masterclass).

Garlic is a high-FODMAP food  that contains fructo-oligosaccharides that some people with SIBO don’t tolerate – but for others, it is just fine (or maybe only tolerated in small quantities). 

What About Garlic Infused Foods?

Some people who develop symptoms after eating whole garlic (like a clove of garlic in tomato sauce) are able to tolerate garlic infused foods (like olive oil). 

That’s simply because the short chain carbohydrates that can cause a problem are in the fiber of the garlic. 

That being said, some people say that even low-FODMAP garlic infused items cause symptoms for them.

But remember: for all foods, the “dose makes the poison” when it comes to FODMAPs. You might be fine with a hint of garlic but can’t handle a lot. Or perhaps you’re very sensitive to garlic and have to temporarily avoid it altogether. 

Or maybe you don’t react to garlic at all… but find you can’t tolerate apples or oatmeal or some other food. We’re all unique and there’s no one-size-fits-all protocol.

But one last thing: just because a food is high-FODMAP or causes symptoms for you doesn’t mean that the food is bad, unhealthy, or has to be avoided for life.

Comparison isn’t helpful in SIBO – just because one person can tolerate garlic and you can’t doesn’t mean you’ll never eat Italian again or are doing something wrong! 

Using Garlic To Treat SIBO

Garlic isn’t just a sometimes-problematic food… it’s also one of the most effective natural treatment options for SIBO.

But if many people with SIBO don’t tolerate garlic, how can that be? 

According to Dr. Siebecker, garlic is one of the 4 main herbs used to treat SIBO – but it’s not just regular garlic cloves you can buy at the grocery store. 

Instead, it’s an extract of garlic called allicin.

“The four main herbs that we use typically to treat SIBO are berberine containing herbs, which are things like goldenseal root, Oregon grape, barberry Coptis. Neem is a traditional ayurvedic and a microbial. We use oregano, like the kitchen herb spice, oregano oil. And then lastly is an extract that comes from garlic called allicin, like my name but it’s spelled different. 

And in that one we like to use stabilized allicin extract because garlic is a very fermentable food and triggers a lot of people’s SIBO symptoms. We don’t want to use whole garlic per se like the actual clove taking it down, unless somebody did tolerate that, but it’s pretty common for SIBO people not to. And we don’t want to use like garlic crushed or garlic oil. We prefer the antibacterial extract allicin that’s been extracted out.”

Even if you can’t tolerate garlic whatsoever, you will likely be able to tolerate allicin extract as part of a SIBO treatment because it doesn’t contain the problematic fructo-oligosaccharides. 

Why Garlic Is A Key Player In Treating SIBO

There are three main types of SIBO: hydrogen dominant, methane dominant, and hydrogen sulfide.

(Although as research continues to advance, more types and more specifications within each type are likely to be discovered!)

According to Dr. Siebecker, “The special thing about allicin is that this is what treats the methane, methanogenic archaea (which, for ease, we’ll just say bacteria). They are tough to kill. And they need different antimicrobials to kill them. And the extract from garlic does it, allicin. It works against them. We see it clinically. We see it with our before and after breath tests. It’s for real.”

If you have methane, garlic is a must-have for herbal antibiotic treatments. 

The Garlic Dr. Siebecker Recommends 

If you’re considering taking garlic as part of an herbal protocol for SIBO, here’s what Dr. Siebecker has shared with me in the past:

“Berberine and Allimed is my go-to combination. I think of berberine kind of like Rifaximin, and Allimed like the neomycin or metronidazole, because this is what works on the methane, this is what works on the hydrogen—and you need to do them both.”

Here’s why a two-part treatment is so important:

“The reason you need to do them both is because methane archaea turn hydrogen into methane. So there are already bacteria making hydrogen there, and then there are other bacteria that are turning that hydrogen into methane. You have both there, so you need to address them both.”

And what about choosing the right allicin supplement?

“My go-to is Allimed. And we use the “-med” because it just gives the strongest potency in the least amount of pills. And the dose on this is six a day. And usually, when you’re taking a bunch of pills, we split that into three doses. You can do it as two, three times a day, or you can do it as three, two times a day.”

Help! I’ve Already Tried Allimed (Without Results)

Remember that SIBO is a tricky condition to treat – and typically requires trial and error (if you’re one of the lucky ones who’s very first treatment eradicate SIBO – good for you!).

Dr. Siebecker recommend trying Allimed paired with another herb – if you tried Allimed and berberine, for instance, try Allimed and neem next.

How often can you keep repeating this? 

“Keep going until we don’t think it’s working anymore or we see on the test it’s not working anymore,” said Dr. Siebecker. 

My Allimed Experience

As a person with methane SIBO, I’ve used Allimed several times. 

I have a very fond feeling toward it, as it definitely made a huge improvement in my symptoms!

My pro tip? Keep it in the fridge or freezer. It does have a noticeable “garlic-y” and keeping it frozen helps reduce the odor!

Want to try it yourself?

I know how expensive trying different treatments can be – so I’m excited to be able to share a special discount with you today!

Use code “LOVEMYBODY” for 20% off your order from Allimed!

Have you tried Allimed? Are you going to? Leave a comment and let us know!

16 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Garlic & SIBO”

  1. As usual, you have helped greatly with the confusion about garlic .
    Thanks again for all you do and for caring about this many leveled
    Issue that destroys our health.

  2. Can a person successfully use the Allimed liquid in place of the capsules and if so, what would the dosage be? Taking too many herbal pills to treat my SIBO has made me really sick to my stomach in the past. Thanks.

    1. Hi Margot – the team at Allimed let us know that 8 drops of the liquid is equivalent to 1 capsule and they can be used interchangeably!

  3. Thanks for such helpful info. What brand do you use for Berberine and Neem? What is the dosage for them? Also what do you think of the Dysbiocide and A.D.P. Combo for keeping SIBO in remission after one has done treatment with antibiotics or Elemental diet?

  4. I was put on the Allimed (allicin) and Berberine and iberogast protocal 3 years ago for about 6 months…it helped somewhat with gas, digestion and motility, settling my gut, but it did not improve my ability to eat anything but very low FODMAP foods. I was diagnosed with high methane SIBO. I also learned I’m actually allergic to garlic. I developed very problematic acne, (I’m 67 yr.s old) and once the allimed was discontinued, it completely cleared up. It was then I realized that all my break-out skin issues from the time I was a teenager was exasperated by garlic, and probably onions as well. Garlic infused oil has the same effect. There are likely more foods, but those two in particular were very easy to discover. Since then I have been taking Atrantil (has proven helpful) and continued with Iberogast. I have also found the Fast Tract Diet helpful in allowing me a few more food choices, but I am still very limited, and my motility is very, very slow, even when I take magnesium (CALM) at night. Question…1. is there an alternative to allimed that has proven to be effective? Question 2. I’ve learned that short chain fatty acids are extremely important for the health of the gut microbiome…..foods I can’t digest. Is there a way to bring those into my diet without producing the very painful methane symptoms? Thanks so much, Shivan, for all your time and hard work for us all. Liz

  5. Hi!! I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Melanie Keller via Skype a few years back. She recommended this protocol. I couldn’t tolerate that high of doses, but I did really well on smaller doses of allicin. I self-created and got major improvement. Because I live in New York State there are laws in regards to doing these home testing lists and that was an unfortunate hindrance because it can be a lot of jumping through hoops to get the proper testing in New York state, unless you are working with a practitioner that is easy to travel to. Hopefully, the laws will or maybe already have changed!! I also was dealing with histamine issues, salicylate issues and oxylate issues and lectin issues. Everything in moderation seems to help, and low FODMAP helps too!! Omega3’s and mi erals (mostly liquid magnesium) were, and still are, life-savers for me. Just Thrive spore based probiotics helped too!

  6. hi. i considered allimed but it contains maltodextrine which is corn and i am glutn intolerant cross reactive to all grains especially corn. ur thoughts plz. thx

    1. Hi Merrianne! We reached out to the team at Allimed and they said that to their knowledge, the maltodextrin hasn’t caused issues – but they also let us know that the liquid version is maltodextrin free and 8 drops is equivalent to one capsule. Hope that helps!

  7. Thank you for your help Shivan. I didn’t realise garlic and Berberine could be used together.
    I tried ADP but couldn’t take it but Berberine I’m fine with.

  8. Hi, Shivan. I just want to THANK you and your staff for sharing so much wonderful information. My head is spinning with all the info but I am doing my best. One thing that hasn’t been discussed, I don’t think, is taking all these herbs, supplements, etc. when we are on quite a number of prescription pills for other things. I have some major heart issues and much of my medicine must not have “other things” taken 2 hrs before or 2 hrs after the meds. Thus I have a small window for taking a lot of other helpful things. When I try to discuss this with a doctor, unfortunately they think I’m trying to tell they their job or that I’m just crazy. I have checked and my insurance does not list ANY naturopaths or alternative/complimentary doctors. If it were not for you and the information you so graciously post on line it would be impossible for me to get any kind of help at all. I just turned 80 and have had stomach issues since in my 20s (fortunately not nearly as badly as many people), but am excited about the prospect of getting better and better. I am being very dedicated about this as much as I am able and just want to say very sincerely: THANK YOU!

    1. Hi Judy, thanks so much for reaching out with your kind words! I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling and I know it is very frustrating to have doctors give you “that look!” You might see if your insurance covers any DOs (doctor of Osteopathic medicine) or any MDs who specialize in internal medicine as they might have more knowledge about supplementing. Try talking with your pharmacist, as well – he might have some good suggestions for you.

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