SIBO, Reflux, IBS and More

Change your diet and behaviors for your digestive health

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By Karl Lawrence on Wednesday, April 20, 2016
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In this week’s episode of Your Best Life, Karl  interviews Dr. Norman Robillard, who is the founder of Digestive Health Institute, author of The Fast Track Digestion book series, and creator of the science-based, non-drug and antibiotic therapy Fast Tract Diet. During the show, Karl and Norman discuss digestion in the small intestine, bacteria, top 5 challenging carbohydrates, the fermentation potential formula, what triggers SIBO, and pre-fermented foods.

Main Questions Asked:

  • What triggers or exacerbates SIBO and dysbiosis?
  • Do pre-fermented foods have similar attributes when it comes to active fermentation of foods?
  • Are there non-invasive objective tests where people can get an idea of what is going on in their system?
  • Is there a common gut reset protocol, or do we need to figure out where an individual is?
  • CAn having dysbiosis have a dramatic impact on immune health?

Key Lessons Learned:

  • Most bacteria derive the bulk of energy from carbohydrates.
  • Most bacteria produce gas.
  • Excess dietary carbohydrates, if not digested and absorbed efficiently, could promote a gut dysbiosis with too many gas-producing strains. This is possibly related to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
  • The idea is that acid reflux occurs not as a result of a relaxation of the muscles on top of the stomach but rather gas building up in the small intestine due to eating too many hard to digest carbs.
  • The gas pressure in your stomach finally pushes food and stomach contents into the esophagus.
  • The new lens and information fit this theory much better than the theory about the lower esophagus relaxation sphincter.
  • We evolved with bacteria so it could help break down our food. It’s a joint effort.

Limit Bacterial Growth

  • Low carb diet.
  • Antibiotics
  • Take a prebiotic (complex carb our own body doesn't digest).


  • Affects more than 100 million people, as it is a factor in acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • SIBO is prevalent in asthma, rosacea, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and cystic fibrosis.
  • If you don’t have enough digestive enzymes, you are more susceptible to SIBO.

What Triggers or Exacerbates SIBO?

  • When food doesn’t move properly through a digestive tract, it can get stopped up, and bacteria has more of an opportunity to feed on undigested carbs and overgrow.
  • Keep your motility in order.
  • Keep your body hydrated, otherwise it will take water from the bowel, which will lead to constipation.


  • Having some fermentable carbohydrates in the small and large intestine is normal.
  • Poeple from different regions of the world, depending on how much starch they consume, have a different number of gene copy numbers for the amylase enzyme.

Top 5 Challenging Carbohydrates

  • The most challenging carbohydrates for people with digestive health issues are:
    1. Lactose
    2. Fructose
    3. Resistant starches
    4. Fiber
    5. Sugar Alcohols

FP Formula

  • This is the fermentation potential formula.
  • The FP formula is one of the three pillars of the Fast Track Digestion books.


  • People who take a lot of antibiotics have a microbiome that becomes less diverse and tend to end up with less species variation but higher numbers.
  • GI infections can upset the bowel and gut microbes and throw you into a dysbiosis state.
  • Antibiotics are still a shotgun approach. Some of the bacteria might be keystone species, but may not be in high enough numbers.
  • There are so many unknowns, as people feel better initially but it comes back and needs to be treated again.
  • We don’t want to squander our antibiotic arsenal for run-of-the-mill IBS symptoms.


  • People are consuming more fermentable, hard to digest carbohydrates than their body is able to process.

Pre-Fermented Foods

  • The types of bacteria that normally reside in our small intestine tend to be the more aerobic microbes.
  • When you do fermentation, you are mixing in vegetables with a high salt content (3% or more salt) and are cutting off the air.
  • You end up with a nice probiotic mix of healthy bacteria that is good for your small intestine.
  • They produce a lot of short-chain fatty acids that are gut healthy and acidify the small intestine.
  • Our body can use the fats, as they are fuel, gut healthy, and acidic.
  • Because the fermentation is taking place outside the body, you will notice that by the time you eat them many of the carbohydrates have already been fermented, so they are lower carb than prior to fermentation.

Getting Tested

  • Testing for specific gut microbes is challenging.
  • Stool testing will look at the types of bacteria in your bowels and stool. These bacteria will reflect what is in your large intestine and not the small.
  • Stool testing will indicate if you have a fungal overgrowth or parasite infection.
  • A lactulose hydrogen methane breath test is an at-home, non-invasive test that measures if gases are being formed in the small intestine.
  • Excess hydrogen levels in your gut are linked to a tendency to have chronic diarrhea. Excess methane levels are linked to constipation.

The Fast Track Diet

  • It's like the Weight Watchers approach for gut issues as all you are doing is monitoring your FP points every day. The app does this for you.


Thank you for listening!


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Links to Resources Mentioned

Digestive Health Institute
Fast Track Digestion (book)
Fast Track Diet (app)
The Textbook of Primary and Acute Care Medicine


2 click to tweet links! (Thanks for helping spread the word!)


Tweet: What is the fermentation potential formula and how can it help reflux? @DrNRobillard @wellnessgroup

Tweet: What is SIBO and how is it affecting you? Find out w/ @DrNRobillard @wellnessgroup

From Your Best Life Podcast with Karl Lawrence

Weight Loss Leaky Gut Dr. Norm Robillard Gut health
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About Karl Lawrence

Karl Lawrence is the host of Your Best Life on the Radio Network. Check out his work at Read More