Treating SIBO and Co-Infections with Dr. Michael Ruscio

Dec. 18, 2015

Gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, reflux. Modern allopathic medicine still does more harm than good for these common and chronic health complaints. I often think about what my life might be like now if I’d listened to my gastroenterologist and written off diet, lifestyle and infections as a potential cause of my gut issues. I wonder if by now I’d still be taking anti-inflammatory steroids or if I would have gotten to the point where I needed surgery.

A better solution was to take a deep dive into gut testing to uncover the root causes underlying my bloating and diarrhoea. Stool testing allowed me to find amoebic and pinworm infections, urinary organic acids showed yeast overgrowth. Together with some diet and lifestyle changes these problems were treatable with botanical herbs and with just one prescription medicine.

My guest today is physician, researcher, author, critical thinker, educator and health enthusiast Dr. Michael Ruscio. Michael is a functional medicine practitioner who emphasizes nutritional and lifestyle solutions to the types of problems described above. He runs a busy practice in Walnut Creek, California where he spends two days a week seeing patients and three days researching and writing. Together with a small team of researchers, Michael is in a unique position to help people through his experience both as a practitioner and researcher. Best of all, he’s willing to divulge all his trade secrets on my podcast!

This interview might not be the best place to start if you’re new to the idea of functional medicine and testing. If that’s you then I’d highly recommend listening to some of the early episodes of Michael’s podcast. In this interview, Michael and I go in some technical details of SIBO and other infections like Blastocystis hominis, Yersinia, Toxoplasmosis and Epstein-Barr.

We also talk about how some of these infections might interfere with vitamin D metabolism, either by interfering with the vitamin D receptor, or perhaps increasing conversion of 25-OH D to 1,25-OH D. As a result, we're seeing low levels of 25-OH D on a blood test, but that's because it's all been activated, which is potentially immunosuppressive. There's also some evidence that inflammation (certain inflammatory cytokines) upregulates the enzyme CYP27B1, which creates 1,25-OH D.

Here’s the outline of this interview with Dr. Ruscio:

  • [0:05] Christopher’s introduction of Michael and his podcast.
  • [2:50] Michael’s upcoming conference in the UK.
  • [7:58] What is the SIBO protocol?
  • [8:28] Great results from a case study Dr. Ruscio did with Christine, a patient who he guided into a new protocol,and why the principles of what he did are more important than the methods.
  • [11:32] How Dr. Ruscio came to understand the principles behind his approach to intestinal health, and how he was forced to think through the varying positions he was being taught.
  • [13:13] How emergency medicine and functional medicine are vastly different for good reason when it comes to protocols.
  • [14:24] An example of why it’s vital to think through the principles and not just follow protocols.
  • [21:11] Why it’s important to be careful with therapeutic trials.
  • [24:16] Why researchers fall prey to omitting facts or studies contrary to their position, and why it’s vital for everyone to raise the bar on the practice of sharing data.
  • [28:25] The gut infections Michael has seen and what he does to treat them.
  • [33:20] Why diet and lifestyle come first.
  • [38:19] Why Dr. Ruscio works with patients in phases and how he goes about it.
  • [39:35] What does Dr. Ruscio do with things he can’t “fix?”
  • [43:02] The things looked for when testing for Epstein-Barr virus.
  • [44:30] Michael’s increasing respect for natural treatments for virus conditions.
  • [47:45] The relationship of Vitamin D to infections and health and some surprising opinions Dr. Ruscio has in light of the Vitamin D hype today.
  • [54:44] How you can connect with Dr. Ruscio.


Michael’s podcast

The SIBO protocol episode

Re-find Health Conference in London for practitioners with Michael is on Jan 17, 2016

Melissa Hartwig of The Whole30 will be speaking at the same conference the day before

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