Diet and intestinal bacterial overgrowth: Is there evidence?

World J Clin Cases. 2022 May 26;10(15):4713-4716. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v10.i15.4713.


The intestinal microbiota and its role in health and disease processes have been the subject of several studies. It is known that changes in the intestinal microbiota occur due to several factors, such as the use of medication, age, lifestyle and diseases, which can modify intestinal homeostasis and lead to excessive growth of bacteria in the small intestine, triggering a clinical condition called small bowel bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Individuals with SIBO may present gastrointestinal symptoms ranging from nausea, diarrhea and/or constipation, and flatulence to distension and abdominal pain, resulting from poor absorption of nutrients or changes in intestinal permeability. The gold-standard treatment is based on the use of antibiotics to eradicate bacterial overgrowth. Some studies have evaluated diets in the treatment of SIBO; however, the studies are of low methodological quality, making extrapolation of the results to clinical practice unfeasible. Thus, there is still not enough scientific evidence to support a specific type of diet for the treatment of SIBO.

Keywords: Diet; Nutrition; Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Editorial