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SIBO Breath


What is SIBO?

Normally, bacteria are found in the trillions in the LARGE INTESTINE, where they perform various symbiotic functions for the human body. SIBO (Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth) is a condition where bacterial overgrowth occurs in the absorptive area of the body the SMALL INTESTINE. SIBO can occur when the ileocecal valve (which connects the large and the small intestine) is dysfunctional, allowing large intestinal bacteria to migrate upwards into the small intestine, where they wreak havoc. The normal cleansing wave of the small intestine is disrupted, or stopped. This cleansing wave is called the Migrating Motor Complex (MMS), and occurs approximately every 90 minutes, typically between meals. The function of the MMC is to wash out accumulated bacteria and propel them toward the colon. The MMC is not related to the peristaltic waves of the large intestines. The result is bacteria are allowed to grow and proliferate throughout the small intestine (a little over 6 meters in length).

How does SIBO affect you?

SIBO causes damage to the absorptive surface of the small intestine – the ability of the body to absorb nutrients from food.

The absorptive surface of the small intestine is likened to a shaggy carpet, with finger-like protrusions called villi. The surface of the villi contain microvilli, which act as the interface of absorption—microvilli secrete enzymes called “brush border enzymes” which break starches into single molecules and proteins into single amino acids, so these can be absorbed.

Small intestine - absorbing nutrients from food
Small intesting absorbing nutrients from food

Symptoms of SIBO

Causes of SIBO

  • Post infectious: a case of gastroenteritis can often be the “heralding event” for the development of SIBO
  • Overconsumption of simple carbohydrates
  • Medications: proton pump inhibitors, morphine and other opiates, narcotics, possibly beta agonists and calcium channel blockers
  • Stress: chronic stress can decrease stomach acid output (hypochlorhydria).
  • Normal stomach acid levels are required to kill bacteria
  • Stress also causes changes in the motility of the small intestines, causing a pooling and stagnation which allows for bacterial overgrowth
  • Altered anatomy: malformation of the ileocecal valve, surgical intervention causing scarring and adhesions altering the normal anatomy of the small intestines
  • Initial colonization of bad bacteria: caesarean birth, no breast feeding

SIBO Test $197

The breath test is a simple, non-invasive test. After a 24-hour preparatory diet, the substrate (lactulose) is swallowed. This is not absorbed but act as a food source for bacteria in the small intestine.

The bacteria ferment the test substance and produce hydrogen and/or methane. These are diffused into the bloodstream and exhaled via the breath.

Breath samples are measured for hydrogen and methane to determine if there is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Download SIBO Test Sample Report

How to prepare for your breath test

One Month Prior:

You must wait at least one month after a colonoscopy, barium study, colonic, or taking antibiotics to perform the breath test. The only exception is if retesting after antibiotic treatment for SIBO.

One Week Prior:

Stop taking probiotics, probiotic foods (yogurt, kefir, etc.), and herbal antimicrobials at least one week before testing.

24 Hours Prior:

Stop taking laxatives and digestive aids (enzymes, hydrochloric acid, etc.) 24 hours before testing. Only take essential supplements and eat a simple diet of chicken (or fish) with white rice ONLY (no veg/fruit/nuts etc). *This creates a standardised macronutrient ratio for measuring fermentation in the breath.

12 Hours Prior:

You must fast for 12 hours before beginning the breath test sample collection. Only water is allowed during this time. Download the instruction guide below for details.


1. Make payment & fill out Testing Registration Form

Click on the ‘ORDER TEST’ button above and it will take you to the Naturopathic Testing Registration Form. Please fill out your details and make payment. 

2. Receive email from Nutripath

You will then receive an email from Nutripath with specific Test instructions.

3. Read preparation guidelines, conduct test

The test will be posted to you and is conducted from the convenience of your own home.

Please refer to the preparation guidelines above before taking the test. 

4. Book Review

Results can take approximately 2 weeks from when the lab receives your sample.

Once we’ve received your results, you will be contacted to book a 15min review via phone or zoom.