Healing IBS and SIBO with the Low FODMAP Diet

Healing IBS and SIBO with the Low FODMAP Diet - AdobeStock 202770924 WEB FODMAP food diet L

If you’re struggling with gut related conditions such as IBS or SIBO, you are not alone. Millions of Americans are having issues finding solutions to their bloating and gas. The low FODMAP diet is showing promising results for people with IBS and SIBO, and it could be a good option for you.

Healing IBS and SIBO with the Low FODMAP Diet

Millions of Americans suffer from gut health issues, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). IBS and SIBO are not well understood, and it’s become a major role of functional medicine to try and figure out how to help those suffering from both conditions.

Currently, we know IBS and SIBO have a lot of overlap in both their symptoms and underlying causes. Additionally, there’s a good chance that if you have one of these conditions, you have the other. One study found as many as 78 percent of IBS patients also had SIBO Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source.

Unfortunately, both IBS and SIBO can be debilitating – overlapping symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

Beyond these painful symptoms, if either of these conditions are left untreated it can lead to further health complications. One of my primary concerns of untreated gut issues is that they can lead to malnutrition.

When your gut is impaired, it cannot absorb nutrients as it should, which can lead to unwanted weight loss, chronic fatigue, and damage to other systems in your body.

These absorption complications are part of the reason why gut health is so important to your overall health.

A recent study revealed how a low FODMAP diet can help heal and repair the intestines by increasing serotonin levels in the gut.

Now, you might be wondering, what is serotonin doing in my gut?

The role of serotonin in your gut

Though many people associate serotonin with brain chemistry, most of the serotonin in your body is actually created in your gut – an estimated 90 percent. And here’s what serotonin does for your gut.

  • Helps with nociceptive pain – this is pain caused by damage to stomach lining, which could be the abdominal pain or bloating discomfort that accompanies IBS and SIBO.
  • Improves motility of food – your gut needs serotonin to move food throughout the digestive tract.

Interestingly, medications used to prevent SIBO from coming back once it’s been cleared can help to facilitate the release and function of serotonin in the gut. This means through paying closer attention to serotonin levels in the gut we might have better success at treating IBS and SIBO.

Back to the low FODMAP diet and how it regulates helpful serotonin.

What is a low FODMAP diet?

The low FODMAP diet restricts different forms of carbohydrates. The acronym FODMAP stands for these different carbohydrates.

  • Fermentable
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Disaccharides
  • Monosaccharides
  • And
  • Polyols

Some FODMAP foods are considered healthy, such as broccoli and asparagus, so it can be surprising to find out that some of these foods can feed problematic bacteria in the gut. These bacteria are particularly troublesome for people with IBS and SIBO.

This study revealed how a low FODMAP diet can increase serotonin, which appears to help heal the gut and improve symptoms of IBS and SIBO.

Should you go on a low FODMAP diet?

I always encourage you to try different techniques and see what works best for you, because no one person is the same. There are numerous studies on the low FODMAP diet that find it to be effective in treating different gut issues.

Some criticize the low FODMAP diet for decreasing overall bacteria in the gut. While I’m open to this criticism, I still believe there are some people who would benefit from an overall reduction in bacteria, even if it’s temporary. Perhaps some individuals need an overall reduction in bacteria to allow the gut to “recalibrate.”

Bottom line is, the low FODMAP diet is safe, healthy, and definitely worth investigating if you are struggling with IBS or SIBO.

You can find a helpful low FODMAP guide here.

I hope this helps you on your journey to a healthier, happier life!

Need help or would like to learn more?
View Dr. Ruscio’s additional resources

Get Help


I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!