Join me as a guest on The SIBO Survivor Show, as I discuss with Josh Sabourin the various ways to use an elemental or semi-elemental diet with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)!

What is an elemental diet? An elemental diet is made of the essential nutrients – protein (predigested; di-peptide bond or free form aminos), carbohydrates (monosaccharide or maltodextrin only), and fat (ie. cold-pressed flax oil). If you have Crohn’s or Colitis, most people using an elemental diet are generally doing so to give their bowels a rest. Usually this is due to active ulceration, bleeding, hemorrhaging, etc., because if the bowel is given rest it will heal faster. Those with SIBO & IBS, however, use an elemental diet for different reasons

Elemental diets are more useful for SIBO & IBS as a food clearance mechanism. Many things can irritate the gut, some of which we are completely unaware of, and the process of dealing with food elimination and food allergen testing is both labor intensive and time consuming. People can use an elemental diet for a short period of time (example 2-3 weeks) to clear out whatever is irritating the gut, while still providing the body with top-quality nutrients. This builds muscle, helps to maintain weight, and can assist in weight-loss during that period (adjust calorie intake accordingly). It also assists with the bacterial clear-out, because if you are not eating carbs, grains, beans, etc. there are no undigested carbs going into the colon or different parts of the small intestine for the bacteria to eat – thus shifting the gut flora. Of course, if you can add a natural antimicrobial and high dose probiotic supplementation at the same time, you can get the best results from your time on the diet!

Watch the video below to learn more, as I talk about which supplements to take, which foods are allowed, and how to HELP the diet get rid of bacterial overgrowth, Candida, etc. and balance your gut flora. I also recommend reading my blog post regarding Dr. Alison Siebecker and her findings, further exploring how elemental diets are highly successful with SIBO patients.

Any questions or experiences to share? Just post them below in the Comments section…

How to use an Elemental Diet to Treat SIBO & IBS

14 thoughts on “How to use an Elemental Diet to Treat SIBO & IBS

  • Greetings, I have been HIGHLY enjoying Absorb Plus for diverticulitis flares and stricture issues. I believe your WOO protocol has kept me out of the hospital on many occasions with fever from a blockage due to strictures. I have even used your DMSO treatment with success. NOW, I am diagnosed with SIBO (which I have probably had forever). The latest protocol seems to be to super dose on antibiotics and antimicrobals along with a Biofilm disruptor. It has been discovered that the bacteria are forming a biofilm around themselves that is resistant to antibiotics. The biofilm disruptor breaks up this film. I am advised to do a full round of WOO, then Neem, then Burberine, then based on symptoms, launch into an elemental diet. There is controversy over when to introduce the probiotic so that it is not waisted while also treating with natural antibiotics. MY question is, does Absorb Plus qualify as a viable elemental diet in regards to SIBO. Is there anything in the Absorb Plus that would feed bacteria? Thank you for all that you do.

    1. Hello Maria,

      First of all, it’s great to hear that you experienced positive results in your testing of Absorb Plus and Jini’s stricture protocol.

      The principle carbohydrate in Absorb Plus is maltodextrin (derived from tapioca) in order to most effectively transmit the nutrients to your body and to add healthy calories and some articles have been published reporting on the harmful effects of maltodextrin on people with IBD. The articles say that maltodextrin increases bacteria’s ability to form biofilms and adhere to intestinal epithelial cells. Jini wrote a blog post to discuss this topic here:

      Kind Regards
      Cris B
      Customer Care

  • Greetings, re: probiotic supplementation and SIBO, I’m a little confused. During SIBO treatment, if the elemental diet is designed to “starve out” the bad bacteria, what will the Natren Probiotics have to feed on?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Maria,

      Thanks for contacting us here. Probiotics colonize the gut by ‘sticking’ to the intestinal wall and not necessarily need something to feed on. However, it must be taken in a powerful bioavailable form (able to be absorbed and used by the body); the bacteria must be capable of colonizing (multiplying in and sticking to) the gastrointestinal tract, and they must be taken in high enough amounts to have a therapeutic effect. Clinical trials show you need to consume a miminum of 7-10 billion cfu per day (of EACH species). Click link below to learn more about Probioics:

      Kind Regards,
      Cris B
      Customer Care

  • You are an amazing woman, thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am using your products and methods and they have helped me so much. Keep up the great work! Also, your book is fantastic!

    1. Hi Leonard,

      Thank you for the feedback – Jini is delighted to hear that the protocols seem to be working well for you. Thanks so much for sharing and we’re looking forward to hearing more about your progress!

      Kind Regards,
      Cris B
      Customer Care

  • Hello,
    I would like to do the wild oregano oil protocol but instead of oregano I want to use Olive leaf extract. What is the required dosage of olive leaf extract in capsule form ?
    Thank you!

    1. Hello Inna,

      Copied and pasted from Jini’s symptom page for Candida Yeast Infection “If you don’t like wild oregano oil, you can replace it with 2 capsules of olive leaf extract. Many people also find it very effective to alternate wild oregano oil with olive leaf extract and they maintain that this is more powerful since it doesn’t allow the microorganism to adapt to any one substance. Listen to your gut and do what you feel would be best for you.”

      Kind Regards,
      Cris B
      Customer Care

    1. Hi Evan,

      Thanks for your question. In this case I would start out by reading the “Heal Your Symptoms” page for gas and bloating:

      Here probiotics are strongly suggested, as many people suffering from gas, bloating, and indigestion need supplementation of digestive enzymes. Gastroparesis means the food that reaches your stomach doesn’t move into the intestine as quickly as it should, and excess gas in the gut is usually due to food not being digested or absorbed properly. As the food rots and ferments, it gives off a lot of gas. Often, the undigested food passes into the colon, where it feeds the unhealthy bacteria and other pathogenic (disease-causing) microorganisms, producing even more gas and bloating.

      In this case an elemental diet could be beneficial, as it is pre-digested and as a result will produce little to no fecal matter. That being said, your body KNOWS exactly what it needs, so Jini encourages you to get in dialogue with your body. She actually has a lot of posts on exactly this topic:

      I hope this information is useful to you.

      Savannah B
      Customer Care

  • Hi there 😊 I believe i’ve had a reaction to absorb plus vegan shakes! Since taking my first shake i’ve had tightness in chest and neck/throat, and a hot like flushed head,face and neck. It hurts to breathe. I’m concerned. Is this a normal reaction? Can i continue usage? What can i do? Please and thank you


    1. Hi Fliss,

      I recommend you read Jini’s blog post, “Test Elemental Shakes for Tolerance or Allergy.” Here is the link:

      Here is the range of reactions you might experience if you are allergic to a substance:

      Nasal congestion, or a runny nose, or sneezing
      Hives (reddish, swollen, itchy areas on the skin)
      Redness of the skin, particularly around the mouth or eyes, or a persistent dry, itchy rash
      Itchy mouth or ear canal
      Nausea or vomiting
      Stomach pain
      Slight, dry cough
      Severe reactions include lips, tongue or throat swelling, shortness of breath or wheezing, trouble swallowing, turning blue, feeling faint or weak or confused or passing out, chest pain, weak pulse, or anaphylactic shock.

      The only symptom in common with a ‘normal’ response to an elemental shake is the Diarrhea – the natural result of eating nothing but liquid food. Jini strongly suggests not to persist in ingesting something your body is allergic or intolerant to, and risk triggering a flare-up of your gut issues.

      That being said, pulled directly from this post per Jini, “when you are thinking of going on an elemental diet, it is very important to test a sample, or a few servings of the elemental shake first – to ensure your body likes the ingredients. You may even want to consume just 1-2 shakes per day for a week first – to allow your body to slowly adjust to this new food source, and at the same time to check for tolerance levels. The elemental shake I (Jini) formulated, Absorb Plus, has 43 different ingredients, but the ingredients most likely to be the culprits in an allergy or intolerance are the protein and the maltodextrin components. I’ve used cassava root (tapioca) maltodextrin in Absorb Plus and the protein source is either whey isolate (casein-free and lactose-free since those are the top allergen for those with a dairy allergy or intolerance), or, sprouted brown rice protein (typically well tolerated).”

      In this case, you may want to give another version of Absorb Plus (non-vegan/not brown rice protein) a try to see how your body responds. You can find unsweetened, original, and simply here:

      If perhaps you are allergic to the tapioca maltodextrin in Absorb Plus, in that case, you can use this guide to formulate your own elemental shake according to which ingredients you can tolerate:

      You can also use a free-form amino acid elemental shake (but please be aware it will be very difficult for to maintain or gain weight without a di-peptide bond protein source) that does not contain maltodextrin. Or, use these whole-food shakes instead, if you can:

      I hope this information helps! Best of luck to you on your healing journey.

      Savannah B
      Customer Care

    1. Hi Courtney,

      Thanks for reaching out! I would recommend first reading Jinis eBook, What You Need to Know About Probiotics:

      Jini has also written a blog post about the best dosing and species of probiotics, where she also gives some clarity about the different types of Natren products:

      In good health,
      Savannah B
      Customer Care

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