For those who have been following my health journey since the beginning, you know that hydrogen sulfide SIBO has always been something on my radar. For a period of time, I suffered from intolerance to sulfur/thiol foods. Luckily, this eventually went away when I was introduced to the high-potency probiotic VSL#3 (one of the few probiotic formulas on the market that has research backing its use for IBS).
I also had other signs of hydrogen sulfide SIBO that made both myself and my doctor at the time convinced it was the explanation for me. But there wasn’t a breath test for hydrogen sulfide to confirm our suspicions. What we did know was that I had elevated hydrogen gas (instead of methane), despite suffering from constipation as one of my main complaints (hydrogen is the gas typically associated with diarrhea-type IBS/SIBO). Additionally, I had the characteristic sulfur/rotten egg flatulence that is believed by some to be one of the telltale clues that hydrogen sulfide is in the picture.
So inevitably, my ears perked up real big when (at the NUNM SIBO Symposium 2017- June 3rd/4th) Dr. Mark Pimentel began discussing updates regarding hydrogen sulfide SIBO. And I knew I had to share it with you guys- my loyal audience counting on me to share what I know about this topic that is full of so many unanswered questions.
Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO Updates
Here’s what Dr. Mark Pimentel shared:
- Preliminary research has been conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA involving a sensor for detecting hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas in the breath.
- The preliminary research involved 127 patients (this is a small sample size), but the next step is to do a more extensive study. Individuals receiving breath tests at Cedars-Sinai are now being invited to consent to having hydrogen sulfide levels checked in addition to the standard hydrogen & methane gases.
- Preliminary research also indicates that hydrogen sulfide tends to be associated with diarrhea, not constipation. Higher levels of hydrogen sulfide seemed to correlate with having more diarrhea.
- The organisms that produce hydrogen sulfide (called sulfate-reducing bacteria) compete with methanogens (the ones that produce methane). This is because the production of both hydrogen sulfide and methane require hydrogen as “fuel”. It takes 4 hydrogens to create one methane and it takes 5 hydrogens to create one hydrogen sulfide.
- A flat line breath test (when methane and hydrogen are zero across the entire breath test, but hydrogen sulfide is not measured) has been believed to be an indication that hydrogen sulfide is present.
- At this time, there is not information on how to proceed with treating hydrogen sulfide SIBO.
- Keep in mind that because the sample size is small for the preliminary research, further data may show the preliminary evidence to be misleading.
Now, I want to hear from you! Do you suspect you have hydrogen sulfide SIBO? Why do you think that? Do you lean more toward constipation or diarrhea? What have you found that works for you?
I hope to share more updates from the NUNM SIBO Symposium in the near future. The best way to be notified of new articles is to follow Bridgetown Nutrition on Facebook. Please leave a comment if you have questions or would like to know if a particular topic was discussed at the symposium.
If you would like to watch the symposium, you will be able to purchase presentation recordings in a couple of weeks.