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Is SIBO A Risk Factor For Parkinson’s Disease?

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  • Are SIBO Patients At Higher Risk of Parkinson's Disease?

Is SIBO A Risk Factor For Parkinson’s Disease?


In a recent article, I talked about new research linking alterations in our gut microbiota to Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Since then, I was approached by one of the members in the Fast Tract Diet Discussion Group on Facebook asking “my dad has PD. What I don’t understand from the article is: are people with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) at higher risk of PD or do people with PD get SIBO?”

Although the exact cause and effect relationship between SIBO and PD is still being worked out, here’s what we know:

  1. Gastrointestinal issues including constipation often precede the onset of PD
  2. Several studies have found that people with PD are much more likely to test positive for SIBO
  3. Treating SIBO appears to improve PD symptoms

SIBO in Parkinson’s Disease

A study titled “The role of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in Parkinson’s disease” led by one of the top celiac researchers, Dr. Alfonso Fasano found that SIBO was significantly higher in patients (54.5%) than in controls (20.0%). Eradicating SIBO resulted in an improvement in motor fluctuations.

Another study titled “Prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in Chinese patients with Parkinson’s disease” also found a significantly higher SIBO positive rate in patients with PD (30.2%) compared to healthy controls (9.5 %). SIBO positive PD patients suffered worse gastrointestinal symptoms and worse motor function.

A third study in 2014 titled “Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in Parkinson’s disease” found that 25% of PD patients were SIBO positive. In this case, SIBO was not associated with worse gastrointestinal symptoms, but was associated with worse motor function.

In summary, these studies found that between 25 and 50% of PD patients tested positive for SIBO. This is significantly higher than healthy controls in every case. And this connection is strong enough for the University of Cincinnati to launch a clinical study called “Treating Bacterial Overgrowth in Parkinson’s Disease (SIBO-PD)” to determine if treating SIBO will improve motor function in SIBO-positive PD patients.

Fast Tract Diet for SIBO and Parkinson’s Disease

Caltech researchers (refer to my last article) proposed that imbalances in short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by gut bacteria contribute to the motor dysfunction in the mouse model of Parkinson’s Diseases (PD) and potentially in people with PD. And I suggested in my last article that SCFAs including butyrate may be healthy in moderation. But we may be getting too much of a good thing, and the Fast Tract Diet that limits all types of fermentable dietary carbohydrates may turn out to be preventative for PD.

The SIBO studies presented in this article provide definitive evidence that SIBO is common in PD patients. Therefore, a strategy to limit all types of fermentable carbohydrates in the small intestine makes perfect sense not only for people with SIBO but also for people with PD or people at risk for this disorder.


By | 2017-01-22T10:32:22+00:00 December 20th, 2016|Diet and Digestive Health, Fast Tract Diet, SIBO|5 Comments

About the Author:

Norman Robillard, Ph.D., is a microbiologist and researcher who spent 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry before founding the Digestive Health Institute. His goal is to develop holistic treatments for digestive illnesses based on a clear understanding of the underlying causes of disease. Norm was the first to recognize a connection between bacteria in our intestines, nutritional malabsorption and the symptoms of acid reflux. Based on his extensive research, he created the clinically proven Fast Tract Diet, a safe and effective alternative to proton pump inhibitor (PPI) and H2 blocking drugs. Fast Tract Digestion books are now available for Heartburn and IBS on the books page. Bacterial overgrowth fueled by nutritional malabsorption is a factor in several other digestive health conditions. Research in this area is the main focus of the DHI. Additional versions of Fast Tract Digestion are in the works for a number of these conditions. Norm received his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and completed post-doctoral training at Tufts University.


  1. Regina December 21, 2016 at 10:34 am

    How to eliminate overgrowth of ARCHEA when Xifaxan, Fast Track Diet, low FODMAPS diet, Allimed, Berberine, Oregano, et al have not worked?????

    • Elle December 21, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      What are your symptoms? Are you constipated? If so, try a low sulfur/thiol diet for a week to 10 days! I can share more if you are interested:)

    • Miranda December 22, 2016 at 3:02 am

      Look at the probiotic route – SBO (prescript assist, megaspore), probiotics, fermented foods. You may want to look at the SIBO approach recommended by Dr BG. Coupled with gut support and healing protocols

  2. Chris January 1, 2017 at 7:36 am


    In case you have not read this;

    Although, maybe you have, considering the cal tech reference.
    Anyway, I’ve reversed several symptoms of my mothers PD with zero carb, then switching to a low fermentable diet. Fodmap/ftd. Keeping starches down around 100 grams. With a combination of therapeutic fat soluble vitamins and lots of probiotics.
    The results have been very good. My mother would most likely be dead, otherwise. If not treated this way, she quickly deteriorates into something resembling a non functioning, end stage Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s patient.

    Her trouble began decades ago with poorly treated diverticulitis, which, eventually led to two bowel resections. Definitely years of undiagnosed sibo.



    • Norm Robillard January 1, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Very encouraging Chris. Are you using FTD-recommended low FP starches and pro-digestion techniques outlined in the books?

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