Paleo food based antibiotics, SIBO and gut health

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and leaky gut(LG) and insulin resistance(IR) are all hot topics these days.

Robb Wolf brilliantly connected SIBO/LG to IR. http://robbwolf.com/2012/03/09/paleo-diet-inflammation-metformin/

It is also well known that the antibiotic metronidazole reduces leaky gut, thus showing that SIBO and LG overlap/ interact/feed each other. It’s also clear to me that these issues get a life of their own and gradually deteriorate.

I’ve long been aware of the potent antimicrobial effects and broad spectrum of spices (esp cinnamon, cassia and cloves), and of citrus peel extracts (both pith and the essential oils). (NB citrus and spice essential oils may have some toxicity, just saying). Good references for spice antibiotic effects below, and also see enteric coated peppermint oil . And then there are the peels and skins of fruits and vegetables, and these are all full of antimicrobials. This google search shows they are potent broad spectrum antimicrobials. Don’t forget that birds and animals can’t or don’t peel their fruit and vegetables. I found this paper interesting. Abstract pasted below .

Our forebears (and wild primates) used to eat loads of fruit and vegetable peels and skins, and local spices and barks etc. So they used to eat a bunch of natural antibiotics every day, sweeping their small intestines clear of bacteria. So they did not need neomycin or rifaximin or metronidazole or other pharmacological antibiotics. They naturally suppressed the SIBO to keep the small intestine near sterile. The foods in question are then digested and break down somewhat, before appearing in the large intestine where their breakdown products interact with the microbiome there in an ancient cycle. This is in contrast to the pharmacological antibiotics which continue unchanged through the gut (rifaximin and neomycin which are not absorbed nor broken down) or go through the entire body (metronidazole) and destroy large intestinal bacteria en masse.

Even a cursory look at the antimicrobial spectrum of herbs spices peels and skins shows that they are potent antibiotics, with a broad spectrum. There can be no doubt that they must impact the level and type of bacteria in the small intestine, and there is an obvious possibility that they might alter the composition of the large intestinal microbiome.

Allison Seibecker lists a range of antibiotic herbs, on her SIBOinfo website, but I’m just wondering if it might be as simple as not peeling your carrots and citrus, and choosing some herbs and spices etc. Conversely current high levels of SIBO might relate to low dietary levels of these natural antibiotics. So wash 4 oranges then put them through your juicer, throw out the juice and eat the pith!

Abstract (NB streptomycin is a potent antibiotic with a similar antibiotic spectrum to Neomycin): Extracts of ripe, unripe and leaves of guava (psidium guajava); ripe, unripe and leaves of starfruit (Averrhoa carambola); ripe and unripe banana (Musa sapientum variety Montel); ripe and unripe papaya (Carica papaya); passionfruit (passiflora edulis F. Flavicarpa) peel; two varieties of Lansium domesticum peel (langsat and duku); rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) peel and rambai (Baccaurea motleyana) peel were evaluated for antimicrobial activity against gram positive bacteria, gram negative bacteria, yeast and fungi (Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus; E. coli, Proteus vulgaricus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonelli typhi; Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida lypolytica; Rhizopus spp., Aspergillus niger, and Chlamydomucor spp). The antimicrobial activities were tested using both the filter paper disc diffusion and tube dilution assays. Extracts from ripe starfruit, guava leaves and rambai peel showed strong activity against all the bacteria tested, in most cases with activity stronger than 50ug streptomycin. Passion fruit peel, ripe and unripe guava showed activity against all the bacteria tested except E. coli. Rambutan peel too showed activity against all the bacteria tested except towards Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Most of the fruit wastes showed some activity towards bacteria but poor activity against yeast or fungi. Extracts from bananas, papayas, passion fruit peel, Lansium domesticum peels and rambutan peels showed activity against Candida lypolytica while extracts from guava showed strong activity against Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Other than guava, ripe starfruit, rambai peel and rambutan peel showed potential for use against bacteria.

Disclaimer: do not implement changes in your diet based on the above information without firstly taking the advice of your officially registered healthcare professional.

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