The best and most drastic, way to starve gut bugs is to go on an elemental diet, a diet that comprises of specially formulated meal replacement shakes. No real food is allowed on an elemental diet.
The elemental diet shakes are made of predigested nutrients that are absorbed entirely at the beginning of the small intestine. This completely starves all the bugs that live further down the intestines. Furthermore, the nutrients don’t require any digestion, i.e. they are in elemental form. So there’s nothing for bacteria to ferment.
A 2004 study published in the Digestive Diseases and Sciences journal put 94 people with confirmed SIBO on an elemental diet. After 14 days, SIBO was wiped out in 80% of the cases. Further seven days eliminated SIBO in additional 5% of the cases, bringing the success rate to 85%. There was a parallel improvement in bowel habits and gut-related complaints.
In other words, elemental diet is much, much more effective than antibiotics.
And the cons? It’s expensive. Ready-made formulas cost about $50 a day. So a 2-week course sets you back anywhere from $700 to $1000. Not only are these formulations expensive, but they also taste vile.
Ready-made options include:
Take 5 to 7 packets a day, depending on your caloric needs.
Dr. Allison Siebacker also has a DIY-version of the elemental diet. Here’s the recipe:https://www.siboinfo.com/uploads/5/4/8/4/5484269/homemade_elemental_diet_options.pdf
I haven’t done the cost calculations for the DIY version. However, bloggers who have done this say it costs $300 to $400 for two weeks.
Given the extreme nature of elemental diets, I would try them only if the other options discussed in this section have failed.