I was diagnosed with SIBO in late 2020, but believe I’ve been living with this condition for at least a decade and a half.
Over the past year I’ve done everything I can to learn about the condition. I’ve also used antimicrobials, adopted a restrictive diet, kept a food journal, tried dynamic neural retraining, and have tested a few different probiotics.
Today I tried Visbiome.
Probiotics and SIBO
I look at having these varied conditions not as separate, random issues, but as all connected through a common foundation of gut dysbiosis, that’s to say, not having enough of some types of gut bacteria, perhaps too much of others, and certainly not in the right place.
To address the foundational problem of dysbiosis, I am trying to give my gut microbiome material to help restore itself. That means probiotics – and, eventually – prebiotics.
Probiotics are extremely controversial and challenging when it comes to SIBO.
Yes, probiotics can help your gut, but if they are fermenting too early (in the small intestine), it seems they can just add to your SIBO symptoms.
But all probiotics are not the same! I’m going to be testing different strains and brands to see which, if any, will work for me.
I eat a very limited diet at the moment because of multiple food chemical intolerances, so it’s fairly easy to know if I’m reacting to my routine food or something new I just introduced.
Rather than keeping these insights to myself, I thought, why not share them here so that others with the same or similar conditions might benefit from my trials and errors?
Trialing Visbiome Unflavored
Visbiome is a really pricey probiotic but it’s supposed to do wonders, so I thought it was worth a try.
Right before I discovered I was sensitive to salicylates, I bought a bottle of their capsules.
Then I realized I was reacting to salicylates and after a round of experimentation, I found I was also reacting to the cellulose in most of my supplements (apparently because of its salicylate content).
Yes – the Visbiome capsules contain cellulose, not only in the capsule, but also inside the capsule as a filler. So Visbiome capsules were no longer a possibility for me.
Because of this I decided to try out Visbiome’s powdered version, which they confusingly call “Unflavored.” (This is confusing because their regular capsules are not flavored either. Someone from the company probably needs to do a marketing assessment there…)
The powdered version of their product contains corn starch, and while I do have a sensitivity to corn I tend to tolerate corn starch – at least I did in the past. (It has been a few years since I tried eating anything containing cornstarch.) I figured the amount of corn starch in the probiotic packet would be small, and that it was worth a try.
I tried this out on a good day, I’d had no reactions from my breakfast, had a snack shortly before lunch which also left me no reactions, and then sat down to my lunch and a half dose of Visbiome.
I finished my meal feeling fine, but within about an hour or less, I started feeling bloated. Shortly after I noticed the bloating, I started to get brain fog. Not cool!
Just so you know the nature of my test, I ate food and had supplements that I eat on a regular basis that don’t give me bloating or brain fog.
Probiotics and Nature
What do probiotics have to do with nature?
Our natural gut eco-systems are damaged from antibiotics, environmental toxins, and who knows what else. Many of us need help getting our guts into a more natural state of health.
For more on the sorry state of our gut microbiomes, I hightly recommend Martin J. Blaser’s book, Missing Microbes.
Is Visbiome in My Future?
As for Visbiome Unflavored, I will be returning it for a refund.
I still have the first bottle of Visbiome I bought – the one that has cellulose in it. If, at some point my salicylate sensitivity improves, I will give that one another try.
It is possible after all, that I am just reacting to the cornstarch. However, based on my symptoms, I’m guessing that my bloating came from the bacteria and not the cornstarch, so it may be futile to retest.
I don’t give up easily though. I’m pretty stubborn, and willing to test again. At least, I’m willing to test things that don’t give me frightening health reactions. I can handle a little bloating and brain fog.
However, testing it once is one thing, taking it on a regular basis is something else. I certainly don’t need more bloating in my life, and as for brain fog – no thanks, been there, done that, had enough of it already.
Have You Tried it?
If you have SIBO and have tried this probiotic supplement too and want to let the world know how you reacted to it, please leave a comment here. It’s all in the name of citizen science research!
Thanks for reading, and if you have SIBO too or suspect you do, my best wishes for your healing journey.
More Articles and Resources about Supplements
This article does not intend to diagnose any health conditions or offer treatment advice. Please consult with your health practitioner before trying any supplements or making any dietary changes.
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