In this blog I explore the potential causes of hydrogen sulfide SIBO. You may also like to read:
- Hydrogen Sulfide: The good, the bad and the misunderstood
- The Ultimate Guide To IBS
- SIBO: What Causes It
What Is Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO?
Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO is the term used when someones SIBO breath test results come back with extremely low levels of both hydrogen and methane gas, throughout the three hours of the test.
How Do You Test For Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO?
There are two options to consider when seeking to understand the cause of symptoms associated with IBS and poor gut health:
- A SIBO Breath Test
- A comprehensive stool test
A sample of a SIBO breath test is shown above. In stool testing, we can assess the levels of sulphate-reducing bacteria and thus understand whether hydrogen sulfide might be contributing to symptoms. An example is shown below from Healthpath’s ‘Advanced Gut Health Test‘:
You can see in the middle of this page of the report the sulphate reducing bacteria (categorised under ‘H2S production’). However there are many other bacteria that have been discussed in the research to contribute to hydrogen sulfide levels. Read my blog Hydrogen Sulfide: The good, the bad and the misunderstood to learn more.
What Causes Hydrogen Sulfide SIBO?
An overgrowth of sulcate-reducing bacteria leads to an excessive production of hydrogen sulfide gas. This might be caused by a low fibre, high animal protein/fat diet. Dr. Nigh also feels that hydrogen sulfide SIBO might be caused by toxicity, contributing to a deficiency of sulfur in the body (a key compound for optimal detoxification). This deficiency it is thought then leads to an adaptive response in the microbiome, via an increase in bacteria that product hydrogen sulfide as this gas can then be converted to sulfur.
The consequences of excess hydrogen sulfide are unfortunate however and include:
Diarrhoea or constipation, chronic fatigue, halitosis (bad breath), abdominal pain, Hives, Hot flashes, Dermatitis, Brain fog, Inflammatory bowel disorders, Hypertension, Atherosclerosis, Heart failure, Diabetes, Cirrhosis, Inflammation, Neurodegenerative disease, Erectile dysfunction, Asthma….to name a few.
Anecdotally ‘rotten egg’ smelling flatulence has been associated with hydrogen sulphide SIBO.
How Do I Lower Hydrogen Sulfide?
There is no universal answer to this and a personalised approach will be required, taking in to consideration all the different elements of your health history, and lifestyle. However some of the most common condiserations include:
- Prebiotics such as GOS.
- A high intake of dietary fibre from a. wide variety of different plants (fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, legumes, lentils, pulses, beans, nuts, seeds)
- Fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi
- Bismuth such as the product Pepto Bismol
- Jennifer Pichette and Jeffrey Gagnon (2016) Implications of Hydrogen Sulfide in Glucose Regulation: How H2S Can Alter Glucose Homeostasis through Metabolic Hormones
- Tomasova et al., (2016) Gut Bacteria and Hydrogen Sulfide: The New Old Players in Circulatory System Homeostasis
- Teigan et al., (2019) Dietary Factors in Sulfur Metabolism and Pathogenesis of Ulcerative Colitis
- Carbinero et al., (2012) Microbial pathways in colonic sulfur metabolism and links with health and disease
- Wallace et al., (2018) Hydrogen sulfide: an agent of stability at the microbiome-mucosa interface
- Wang R. Physiological implications of H2S: a whiff exploration that blossomed
- Fu M, Zhang W, Wu L, et al. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) metabolism in mitochondria and its regulatory role in energy production
- Yao et al., (2018) Modulation of colonic hydrogen sulfide production by diet and mesalazine utilizing a novel gas-profiling technology
- Suarez et al., (1998) Bismuth subsalicylate markedly decreases hydrogen sulfide release in the human colon
- Webster et al., (2019) Influence of short-term changes in dietary sulfur on the relative abundances of intestinal sulfate-reducing bacteria
- Sing & Lin, (2015) Hs2 in Physiology and Diseases of the Digestive Tract.
- Linden, (2014) Hydrogen Sulfide Signaling in the Gastrointestinal Tract
- Huang et al., (2015) A cardioprotective insight of the cystathionine γ-lyase/hydrogen sulfide pathway