Why do I get bloated? Could it be SIBO?

If you have been suffering from bloating and gassiness and don’t seem to be able to figure out why, the answer may be SIBO. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition in which large numbers of bacteria that are supposed to be found in the colon are present in the small causes-of-ibs-sibo-hero-800x798intestine. This overgrowth wreaks havoc on the digestive system. Given that one of the main functions of the small intestine is to digest and absorb food, any interruption in this process will affect absorption of nutrients and potentially lead to numerous nutrient deficiencies.

SIBO is often an overlooked condition as its symptoms do overlap with other conditions. For instance, many patients with IBS test positive for SIBO which may be the underlying cause for their symptoms and often these symptoms are eliminated with proper SIBO Treatment. Some of the symptoms of SIBO include bloating and distention, excessive gassiness, indigestion, abdominal pain/cramps, and diarrhea/constipation.

What are some of the conditions associated with SIBO (as cause, effect, or coexisting):

  • Acne
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hypochlorydria (low stomach acid)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rosacea

How do I get tested for SIBO?

SIBO Breath Test measures the levels of hydrogen and methane, which are two gases, produced by bacteria in response to glucose or lactulose (sugars). Humans do not produce these gases. These gases are a result of fermentation of these sugars by bacteria. If the levels of these gases increase to an abnormal level, then SIBO is diagnosed. Complications from untreated chronic SIBO can range from mild vitamin and mineral deficiencies to severe malabsorption and consequently major nutritional deficiencies and even weight loss.

For further information on SIBO testing, contact Wellness Naturopathic Centre 604.987.4660

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC


The information on this website is for education purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.



How Does Weight Affect Fertility? Looking at Both Sides of the Scale

A healthy body weight plays an important role in fertility. Being overweight or underweight can make achieving pregnancy more difficult mainly because of its effect on ovulation.

Excess weight can lead to anovulation (absence of ovulation) which often manifests as irregular menstruation. The good news is that losing weight can restore regular menstruation and bring about healthy ovulation whereby increasing the likelihood of pregnancy.

The same goes for those who are underweight. In this case, either anovulation or irregular ovulation can be an issue. With irregular ovulation, the uterine lining may not become thick enough for the fertilized egg to sufficiently implant and grow and even if it does implant, sustaining the pregnancy under such circumstances is difficult, making miscarriage a likely occurrence. In a study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, women whose body mass indexes were below 18.5 were 72% more likely to miscarry in their first trimester.

The bottom line is that too much or too little body fat will disturb the normal hormonal balance and subsequently affect menstruation and ovulation. Reaching a healthy weight can help reverse these issues and create a healthy environment for conception to occur.

With a proper daily diet plan and lifestyle modifications, both these issues can be resolved. To lose the excess weight, following a tailored weight loss dietary plan with a focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods and regular exercise can make a big difference. A 5 to 10 % weight loss can greatly impact ovulation. For those individuals who continue to have a difficult time losing weight despite all efforts, further investigation is warranted as other conditions may be involved such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which may be the cause of infertility and the difficulty behind losing the excess weight.

For those who are underweight, a healthy nutrient rich weight gain program will help bring about a healthier weight that supports fertility. Making healthy fats such as nuts and seeds, olive oil, and flaxseed oil part of every meal is an important part of this process.

Although weight is only one of the factors affecting fertility, it is an important one which should not be overlooked. Aside from optimizing the chances of pregnancy, having a healthy weight will also mean an advantage in all facets of overall wellbeing: more energy, better mood and less likelihood of pregnancy-related complications such as gestational diabetes, miscarriage as well as low birth weight.

The Most Important Meal of the Day

“Eat breakfast like a king lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. There’s good reason for this saying. Many of my patients admit to skipping breakfast or even worse replace it with a cup of coffee instead so we always have a discussion around this topic. Breakfast allows your body to refuel for the day ahead; in essence you are “breaking your fast”. Some of the effects of skipping breakfast include fatigue, irritability, weight gain, low mood, and midmorning cravings for carbohydrates and sugar-your body has not been replenished with the fuels it needs to keep your blood sugar stable hence the cravings. Focus and concentration are also affected by skipping breakfast. This is especially seen in kids and students. Studies show that school children who eat breakfast are more alert, attentive and creative than those who don’t eat breakfast.

And for those who skip breakfast as an attempt to cut down on calories and help with their weight loss, not such a good idea. Eating breakfast actually kickstarts your metabolism for the day and skipping it makes losing weight more difficult.

If you are short on time to cook a big breakfast, simplify and plan ahead. Have a couple of boiled eggs, make a protein smoothie or prepare some oatmeal the night before, warm it up in the morning, sprinkle with some nuts and berries and that makes for a healthy quick breakfast. Having some form of protein in your breakfast is vital as this will ensure your blood sugar levels remain stable, you stay satiated for a longer period of time and you are less likely to be cave in to that midmorning cookie temptation!

Celiac Disease and Naturopathic Treatment Support

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged due to reaction to consumption of gluten. Because of this damage, absorption becomes compromised. Gluten is the protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, spelt and rye. There are many different signs and symptoms of varying intensities associated with celiac disease. These include fatigue, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, weight loss, diarrhea, delayed growth, skin rash, depression and more. Many of these signs and symptoms can also be seen in other disorders, which can make celiac disease go undiagnosed in many cases including some cases of unexplained infertility. There are tests that can be done to diagnose this condition. In fact, in Italy where celiac disease is common, all children under 6 are screened for this condition as early detection is vital.

How common is celiac disease?

According to Celiac Association of Canada, it is estimated that 1 in 133 Canadians are affected by celiac disease.

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

Blood tests such as anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody, anti-endomysial antibody, IgA and IgG anti-gliadin antibody are some of the tests that are recommended.

The definitive diagnosis is a biopsy of the small bowel. It is only after a definitive diagnosis through this procedure has been made, that a strict gluten-free diet is initiated.

What are some possible complications associated with celiac disease?

Osteoporosis, anemia, neurological problems, depression, greater  likelihood of miscarriage, difficulty with fertility, stunted growth in children and lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance has to do with inability to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. The enzyme lactase is needed for digestion of dairy. Since in celiac, the lining of the small intestine is damaged, the brush border enzymes which include lactases are reduced, hence some celiac patients experience lactose intolerance.

Most of these complications are resolved or improve over time once celiac disease has been diagnosed, a strict gluten-free diet is followed, the body is replenished with the needed nutrients, the gut has healed and malabsorption has been resolved.

What are the treatments?

The treatment is following a strict gluten-free diet. This means reading ingredient labels and eliminating any foods/products that contain gluten, even trace amounts of gluten.

Being on a good naturopathic nutritional plan is paramount in celiac disease for three main reasons.

Reason One

Often in an attempt to avoid gluten, many patients resort to one or two alternatives to gluten such as rice or potato. Eating the same foods repeatedly has a couple of downfalls. One is that variety in diet is needed in order for us to get the different nutrients required by our bodies. The other problem is that eating the same foods repeatedly can trigger food sensitivities to those foods in the long run so you could end up for example with a sensitivity to rice if that has become your food staple.

Reason Two

This has to do with absorption. There are some foods that are more easily digestible hence making their absorption easier. There are also specific foods that are healing to the gut and help repair some of the damage in the intestines. Healing of the gut is essential component of a treatment approach to celiac disease. The gut must be healed in order for the absorption issues to be resolved. As long malabsorption (poor absorption) persists, there will be problems on a systemic level because essential nutrients are not being extracted from the foods eaten and as a result the organs are not being properly nourished.

Reason Three

The body needs to be replenished with the proper nutrients, this is both through diet, supplements and/or intravenous vitamin and mineral therapy. In my practice, I frequently use intravenous vitamin and mineral therapy for my celiac patients. Since this therapy gets the nutrients directly into the blood circulation (not having to go through the digestive system), I know for sure the nutrients are being taken up by the different body systems. This therapy also allows me to introduce higher doses of nutrients into the body that would otherwise not be possible orally. The result is that patients get quickly replenished with important nutrients, positively impacting their energy, mood and overall wellbeing.

If you suspect you may have celiac disease especially if you have a family member that has this condition, don’t delay, see your healthcare provider and get the appropriate tests for a proper diagnosis.

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.

Five Simple Steps to a Healthier Weight

Any change in life comes about by making small adjustments everyday and staying focused on your goal; losing weight is no different. Today is a new day. You can set your ideal weight goal and start making some simple changes to your daily routines which are guaranteed to give you results in the long run.

  • Cut out processed foods and empty carbohydrates. These include candies, pop, refined breads and pasta, processed cheeses, meats, canned foods, frozen dinners and so on.
  • Eat lots of fiber and vegetables to fill you up and reduce cravings.
  • Read the labels on the foods you buy. That “healthy” granola bar you snack on everyday may have more sugar and additives in it than you think. Stay away from foods that have added sugar which may be labeled as corn syrup or glucose-fructose. And just because a product is organic does not mean it has no added sugar, organic cane sugar is still sugar.
  • Be sure to include some healthy fats in your diet. These include nuts, seeds, fatty fish like salmon, avocados, and flaxseed oil. Healthy fats help stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce cravings and keep you satiated for longer periods of time.
  • Make it a habit to engage in at least one type of exercise daily. If you are not one to hit the gym every day then just do some other form of activity-run up and down the stairs 10 times or do 50 jumping jacks or go for a brisk 15 minute walk. The most important thing is setting a goal that’s realistic for you and sticking to it!

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.