Klebsiella: Infection, Detection and Natural Treatment

klebsiella bacterial overgrowth treatments natural treatments byron bay naturopath herbal medicine

Klebsiella infections are more common than you would think. Because you have ended up here I am assuming that you or someone you know has found a Klebsiella infection and you want to know more.

Read on to learn what Klebsiella actually is, the symptoms it may be causing and possible treatment options.

byron herbalist todd mansfield gut health specialist

Need help with your digestion?

Hi, my name is Todd Mansfield. I am a clinical herbalist with a special interest in all things gut health.

If you are looking for digestive health support consider working with me. I see people online as well as in person from my clinic in Byron Bay.

More booking information here.

A Primer On Klebsiella Bacterial Overgrowth

Members of the Klebsiella genus are common residents of the human gastrointestinal tract.

At times, and in manageable numbers, they are considered commensal organisms but frequently, in the case of Klebsiella pneumoniae, they can act as opportunistic pathogens (1).

Commensal – living with, on, or in another, without injury to either

Basically the subtext here is that they can be normal residents of a healthy gut, but, when given the chance, can overgrow and cause issues.

Belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family, Klebsiella pneumoniae is a species of gram-negative bacteria.

It has the ability to take on a pathogenic role in the digestive tract when there is an imbalance or a weakened immune system. Often this takes the form of a hospital acquired infection known as a nosocomial infection (2).

Take a deep dive into the subject of bacterial overgrowths from this family that can cause leaky gut a host of symptoms – Imbalanced Gut Flora Equals Leaky Gut


Why Is Klebsiella Hard To Treat?

It’s a good question. Let’s get into it.

The paper Molecular pathogenesis of Klebsiella pneumoniae outlines the difficulty in treating Klebsiella infections.

Klebsiella has the innate ability to form biofilms both in the human body and on medical devices. By forming biofilms Klebsiella protects itself from the immune response as well as from antimicrobial treatments (herbal and pharmaceutical). 

The capsule polysaccharide, or CPS, found on Klebsiella pneumoniae also contributes to many of it’s immune resistant capabilities.

klebsiella infection and treatment options 2

Image taken from – Molecular pathogenesis of Klebsiella pneumoniae

Klebsiella can inhibit phagocytosis (being eaten by white blood cells) by inhibiting different white blood cells (macrophages and neutrophils) ability to bind to the bacteria.

Not surprisingly more virulent strains of Klebsiella show greater capabilities at blocking the function of different white blood cells. Another immune dodging mechanism displayed by certain virulent strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae is the ability to dampen down the initial inflammatory response by the innate immune system.

Yet a third aspect of resistance is the found in the protective nature of the CPS. As second line defence the innate immune system releases different antimicrobial peptides as a response to infection. Not only does Klebsiella’s protective CPS layer act as a shield it is also released from the bacteria to block incoming antimicrobial peptides, tying them up and reducing contact with the bacterial cells.   

Yet another key issue which leads to difficulties in treatment is the fact that many strains of Klebsiella are becoming more and more resistant to frontline antibiotic treatments. 

So we can see some treatment issues arising here.

Let’s move onto some symptoms of Klebsiella infections and circle back to treatment ideas later in the article.

Symptoms Of Klebsiella Infections

I have had a Klebsiella infection so I know first hand some symptoms it can cause.

That said it can be hard to tease out what infection is causing what symptom.

My symptoms, confirmed by a comprehensive stool test included

  • Intense headaches
  • Loose stools
  • Sore lymph around the throat
  • Increases food intolerances – coffee/chocolate/dairy/sugar
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety

Again it is very hard to pin down the root cause based on symptoms. That’s why it is so important to test!

From the literature

“Klebsiella pneumoniae, a member of the Enterobacteriaceae family, is a common human bacterial pathogen that can cause urinary tract infections, pneumonias, bacteremia, pyogenic liver abscesses, skin abscesses and necrotizing fasciitis. It is recognized as a highly pathogenic organism that causes disease in the community and nosocomial settings.” (1).

Finding Klebsiella. Testing Options and Alternatives 

Generally it is quite easy to find Klebsiella infections by running one of a number of different stool tests.

You have a few to choose from including

Unfortunately these more specific and functional testing are rarely offered by GPs.

Most of the time you will have to pay out of pocket.

For Australians Nutripath offers a CDSA although your health practitioner (GP, herbalist, naturopath) will have to order it for you.

complete digestive stool analysis nutripath CDSA cost

For me paying for the test (approx $250 all up) was a no-brainer.

After experiencing a range of very unpleasant symptoms from drinking unfiltered tank water in the Byron Bay hinterland I ran the comprehensive diagnostic stool analysis from Nutripath and found not one, not two, but five different infections. 

Dealing with Infections. How To Treat Klebsiella Infections

Antibiotics are the frontline treatment offered by allopathic biomedicine.

Many times antibiotic treatment was the original insult that disrupted the gut microbiome and allowed members from the Proteobacteria phylum (like Klebsiella) to overgrow.

It is a choice that everyone has to make for themselves.

Unless the infection was life-threatening I would consider taking prebiotics and probiotics for many bacterial overgrowths. Herbal antimicrobials may be indicated for certain bacterial infections. Following up the antimicrobial treatment with a well planned gut rebuilding protocol is essential.

One particular herbal medicine with science to back it up is pomegranate husk tincture. 

pomegranate husk or peel is to treat bacterial infections and overgrowths klebsiella infection natural treatment options

This is a particularly effective treatment, especially when combined with other supporting and complimenting herbal medicines.

Herbs that can improve the effects of pomegranate husk tincture include the following

  • Clove tincture – can help with the biofilms that Klebsiella forms
  • Oregano leaf (not so much the oil as it can be too strong)
  • Propolis
  • Baical Skullcap
  • Garlic

There are a range of other antibacterial herbs. A few that really stand out include the high berberine herbs like Coptis chinensis, barberry and even goldenseal. Unfortunately these herbs don’t combine well with pomegranate husk due to their active components (alkaloids and tannins don’t play well together).

Also many of these herbs can and will negatively impact the gut flora so we need to focus on supporting it while simultaneously treating the Klebsiella infection.

This is a great point on why working with a herbalist trained in the complexities of gut infections is so important.

Dietary Considerations For Klebsiella Infections

A previous article outlined the use of prebiotic fibres and starches to help boost the gut microbiota.

In the case of Klebsiella infections reducing simple starches and certain colonic foods could be a wise strategy as this particular bacteria favours starch as food.

One study suggested reducing complex carbohydrates in response to Klebsiella infection (4). The use of certain prebiotics may still be of value as they selectively feed beneficial microbes, aiding in the treatment of dysbiosis. 

Targeted prebiotics and probiotics can helping to support the gut flora and improve antimicrobial effects of the herbs.

Apart from that I think anything that helps with your symptoms should be investigated. For me it was a reduction in refined carbohydrates.

The next article will cover the possible connections between Klebsiella infections and Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Now I want to hear from you. Have you had any experience with gut symptoms? Share your thoughts below

References and Resources

  1. Molecular pathogenesis of Klebsiella pneumoniae
  2. Prebiotics – Gut Boosting Review
  3. The Link between Ankylosing Spondylitis, Crohn’s Disease, Klebsiella, and Starch Consumption
  4. Klebsiella – Ankylosing Spondylitis, Reactive Arthritis & Infections

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  1. I went to an integrative Dr had the same stool test as you & have+++ klebsiella. I am freaking out. I don’t know whether to continue insulin or if I can ever get rid of it. She is going to give me herbal stuff but they only say they are 60% effective. I’m really scared after reading how resistant they can be!

    1. Hi , I was diagnosed with A.S. when I was 23 , I’m now 65 . I have ceased taking prescription medications some time ago . My gut is damaged , I had U.C. for a while was given a course of steroids , also zantac and then ppi’s for many years , stomach acid , lack of it is certainly a problem for me . I have a number of food intolerances , constant post nasal drip and mucus in my throat . I sometimes think the medications did me more harm than the A.S. which I now absolutely believe could have been controlled by a low starch diet . Thanks , great website .

    1. Yes this is the big debate. Do prebiotics contribute to dysbiosis and feed pathogenic bacteria? Some say yes and cite in-vitro (test tube) studies and others say no and cite human trials.

      Inulin may not be the best prebiotic but others have been shown to decrease klebsiella or the klebsiella family, Enterobacteriaceae including partially hydrolysed guar gum and a galacto-oligosaccharide/ fructo-oligosaccharide mix.

      It could very much be to do with the acidifying of the colon and the drop in pH from the beneficial fermenters (bifido’s and lacto’s) producing all that incredible butyrate. More here: https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/prebiotic-update-details-building-gut/

      Studies here:
      Effects of Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum Intake on Human Intestinal Microflora and Its Metabolism

      Increase of faecal bifidobacteria due to dietary oligosaccharides induces a reduction of clinically relevant pathogen germs in the faeces of formula-fed preterm infants

  2. Hi .. thanks. I am happy to have a paid appt on face time. I need to reduce starch which I haven’t Been indulging in since Christmas .. but was taking 3 teaspoons of Zinulin a night… the worst thing for klebsiella!
    I am going os on August 16 & really want to get the levels down. I don’t know how to avoid starch/ complex carbs to starve klepsiella & yet build or keep up my other good gut bacteria … which I’ve tried to be vigilant about .. could you email me as to arrange an appt please. Thanks Prue. My Ph is 0419 876 608

    1. Unfortunately I’m still working on my health science degree so I can’t give any specific advice or take on patients. Best I can do at the moment is publish findings from my research and hopefully point you in the right direction. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

    2. Hi. Thank you for the information

      I did GI map test and founkkebsiella. I improved a lot but still have anxiety or histamine intolerance since the Klebsiella releases histamine. But the were other factor. I was wonder if you can help me with them
      Bactericides fragile Lactobacillus spp
      Firmicutes and bactericides were all low
      Klebsiella 3.08e4 b.glucordinase
      Bacillus spp
      Entercocuse faecium were high.
      I’m lost. Please tell me your opinion

      1. Hi Celine,

        Just from your description it sounds like you are dealing with dysbiosis. Low beneficials and high pathobionts. Also the b.
        glucuronidase could be impacting your oestrogen metabolism and detox pathways.

        Depending on the person, symptoms and lab tests I will start with one or many of the treatments – very specific prebiotics to nourish the beneficials, drop the pH and discourage bacterial overgrowths, probiotics and targeted herbal medicines. Sometimes you don’t need them all at once, in which case I prefer to layer them on as we progress in the treatment.

        Hope that helps!


  3. Great read!
    I have always been healthy, fit & slim, never had a problem
    With my health until 9 months ago when below symptoms began arising.
    -Mind fog
    -food intolerances (dairy)
    – anxiety
    – weak/fatigued
    -weight gain and extreme struggle to lose!
    -severe bloating

    Tests after tests with no answers.
    Eventually got told to do a CDSA stool test, resulting only bad bacteria highlighted,
    Klebsiella ++++

    I have been taking natural herbs, oregano oil tablets, & been eating extremely clean, sticking to a 1300 calorie diet. No processed foods or high starch. Been doing this for over a month now and don’t seem to feel any different.
    Is there a reason I may not be able to shake this bacteria? Should I be only drinking filtered or bottled water?

    So frustrating when you’re trying everything you can! ?

    1. Klebsiella can be a tough one to treat. Biofilms may be playing a role in their resistance https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/biofilm-treatment/
      As can the gut pH, especially if you are restricting fermentable fibers. It could also be that your protocol is working and that a gut rebuilding is needed afterwards to feel 100%. Keep us posted on your progress!

    2. Citricidal and silver biotics work very well against klebsiella and many other bacterias and yeasts.
      Also biofilm booster like interfase plus, 4-8 caps before bed.
      No sugar and low carb diet for about a month is highly recommended.
      Good quality probiotics after that is a must. Not those 50 billions lactobacillus/bifidobacterium crap. I’m talking about s boulardii and bacillus species.

      1. It sounds like you’ve had some experience in treating bacterial overgrowths Leon.

        Just a note. I would avoid any grapefruit seed extract products (it’s a contaminated product – see link below – and has a very negative impact on the gut microbiome).

        Great points on the biofilm agents and the probiotic recommendations are on point.

        Thanks for the comment!

        (link to research on the grapefruit seed controversy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10399191)

        1. Hi there, how did you use citricidal and colloidal silver to fight klebsiella? What was your daily protocol?

    3. Thank you so much. But I have histamine intolerance and it was hard to find probiotics for low histamine.

      1. hmm…yes for particularly sensitive people probiotics can be aggravating. In this case I might focus more on prebiotics and herbal medicine as well as mast cell stabilising treatments too.

      2. Hi Tod I was wondering if I can book an appointment I’m in Florida and can you tell me the price please. I have issue with klebsiella. Thank you

  4. I get fairly sharp sacroiliac pain and instability (with walking/standing/activity generally), stiffness at night that often makes it impossible to sleep through the night, occasional dry eyes, random joint pain (wrist/hand/fingers/rib joints), and brain fog, bouts of nihilistic thinking. Also history of alternating over/underactive bowel. My genetic testing shows susceptibility to HLA-B27 related issues and I’m suspicious of klebsiella gut overgrowth. Oregano oil and Biocidin from Bio-botanical Research can get most of the symptoms under control, save for the unrelenting back stiffness at night. Diet is basically ground beef, eggs, and some fruit. Overall extremely healthy/fit. I have had long stretches of near zero symptoms, but trying to figure out what else I can do to put these problems to bed forever. Any thoughts?

    1. There could be a number of root causes here. It might be helpful to rule out autoimmune conditions just to make sure they are not present (ankylosing spondylitis etc)

      – see here https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/gut-health/klebsiella-ankylosing-spondylitis-reactive-arthritis-infections/

      Then depending on these results you might look into gut health and your microbiome balance. Most of this will emerge in a consult with a good gut health clinician (history of antibiotic use, post-infectious IBS, possible SIBO connection). Well done on finding the HLA-B27 link. This points back to your gut health too.

      If you live in an area where Ross River is present this may be a possibility as well, some of the symptoms overlap with yours.

      Love to hear your thought!

  5. hello hello, Love your post!

    Have you ever heard of Klebsiella causing upper abdominal functional dyspepsia like burning pain?


  6. Hi!! So excited to find your site!
    I have done the Doctor’s Data Comprehensive Stool Analysis/Parasitology X 3 and have a +3 on the Klebsiella Pneumoniae ssp pneumonia. It was under the Dysbiotic Flora tab.
    I have been having a lot of health issues this past year and none of the doctors have been able to come up with the root cause. We know my immune system is being compromised from several of my labs/tests and my body seems to be getting sicker. Do you think the Klebsiella could be the missing piece of the puzzle?
    Also, if this goes untreated can it affect your heart? I’ve also been experiencing lung issues that come and go. They get bad when it is humid or raining out. My chest x-ray didn’t show up with anything that could explain it.
    I also have developed really bad “anxiety” even though it’s not real anxiety because I have nothing I’m anxious about and not upset about anything. I have a very laid back life and very happy. This is more of a symptom of whatever is going on inside of me. I have read that Klebsiella can cause anxiety type symptoms.
    On the Doctor’s Data results it says that these herbs would work… Caprylic Acid, Grapefruit Seed Extract, and Silver
    The antibiotics that were listed that would work against my strain were Amoxicillin-Clavulanic Acid, Cefazolin, Ceftazidime, Cipro (I won’t take this due to the side effects) and the last one was Trimeth-Sulfa.
    I do see my Naturopath in two weeks to go over these results but would love your thoughts on this too.
    All my symptoms started after a very deep tissue massage where she also massaged my stomach/intestines. Do you think the massage could have made things go systemic?
    Thank you so much for listening and any advice you can share!!

    1. Hey Cathy.

      Good on you for doing the stool test and working at getting to the bottom of your health concerns. I think you could very much be onto something there. Many of your symptoms would line up with a picture of gut dysbiosis caused by bacterial infections/overgrowths. The lung picture may be caused by the klebsiella (it has been known to cause pneumonia but that would be quite advanced infections with a run down immune system).

      I have just published an article on my approach to treating bacterial infections in the large bowel – here – https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/bacterial-infection/how-to-treat-bacterial-infections-a-holistic-approach/

      You have reminded me to add a few bits to the article, mainly on the use of things like grapefruit seed extract which is a big no no. It is actually a contaminated product and has broad spectrum antibiotic actions that can really damage your beneficial gut bugs long term!

      Let me know if I can help with anything else and keep us posted on how you go!


      1. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!
        I will definitely look at your article that you linked.
        Tonight when I have time I am going to sit down and look through your site.
        I do have a question about diet. With Klebsiella I have read that you need to be on a no or very low starch diet because that bacteria thrives off of starch. I eat pretty much plant based and worry that if I have to go low starch and no fruit (because of the yeast that also showed up on the stool test) that I will not have much to eat. What is your opinion on the strict no/low starch diet while fighting this bacteria and how long one would have to eat this way.
        Again, thank you for your time and opinion!!

        1. I also wanted to ask you about the other bacteria that showed up under the Imbalanced Flora
          Alpha Hemolytic Strep and Gamma Hemolytic Strep
          They were not as high as the Klebsiella but still probably shouldn’t be there!!

        2. Happy to help 🙂
          I would not be overly concerned about the low starch diet here. If it really is only the bacterial dysbiosis in the large bowel (especially from the family that klebsiella is found in – enterobacteriaceae) then it can be treated with certain prebiotic soluble fibres and probiotics successfully (the article linked above helps to fill in the gaps there). If there is a SIBO picture at play as well then certain starches may trigger symptoms (bloating and distention, nausea ect). That would be a whole other treatment approach…

          I also meant to mention in the last comment that unexplained anxiety and poor immune function could very well be explained by bacterial infections in the gut.

          Hope that helps!


          1. Recently I have started to look at the bigger picture in the gut as opposed to just one or two bugs that have overgrown. What you have found on your test (the Alpha Hemolytic Strep and Gamma Hemolytic Strep) point to large bowel imbalances as well.

          2. Thank you Todd!! I will keep you updated and let you know how the probiotics/prebiotics go.
            I do have a slow motility issue and have a hard time going to the restroom without herbal laxatives. I have found in the past when I have tried probiotics they would make my symptoms worse but maybe I need to stay the course and let them do their job!!

          3. That seem to be in my case.Having had h pylori to deal with and did a not so smart high meat diet everythig became worst.Now i cant have any starch or grains and sibo is pretty bad.There are some signs that things might be improving yet i have issues with high fodmaps.As am getting my calories mostly from grinded nuts my meals are typically 100grams of homemade nut butter,some cooked veggies and half an apple.To digest this I need to take some allicin with meals otherwise bacteria gets to food before and hcl doesn’t get released.So this fodmap thing is very tricky

      2. hi I have the same type of anxiety that you are talking about. my question for you is what and how are you dealing with it while you are treating yourself?

    2. Might be of interest to you…my symptoms 3 years ago were GERD. I tried the Omeprazole the doc gave me and quickly got worse. I made the connection about low acid possibly being the cause (I am middle aged) and learned about healing my gut with aloe vera, taking HCL, etc. After trying a yakult yoghurt drink that made me drastically worse in a matter of hours, I made the connection about how important the right probiotics were and began taking them. The GERD cleared up fairly quickly but I soon found I could not tolerate foods I used to be able to eat like wheat, grains, etc. I also could not tolerate any med/high histamine foods. I get post nasal drip, blocked ears, tickly cough.

      I posted to you recently for advice about a possible B.Wadsworthia overgrowth. I also react VERY badly to starches so I wonder if Klebsiella is out of whack too? Is that possible? When I look back, I wonder if trying to treat my GERD caused these other problems? The OTC probiotic supplement that helped me back then makes me feel worse now. I am confused how to increase SCFA to increase butyrate without accidentally feeding the Klebsiella.

      1. Hi rose. Yes it can be difficult to modulate the gut microbiome (increase your good bacteria and decrease the bad ones) but it is possible!

        The high sensitivity to different foods makes me think of leaky gut (more here https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/gut-health/leaky-gut-and-intestinal-permeability/) which may be due to imbalanced gut flora (more here https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/bacterial-infection/imbalanced-gut-flora/) so well done for focusing on that with the different herbs!

        Just on the SCFA and klebsiella comment. When you do increase the butyrate production it can significantly lower the pH of your gut (a good thing!) and that can on its own lower klebsiella and other bacterial overgrowths!

        I would be happy to put you on the wait list for the new year intake if that helps – https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/appointments/

  7. Hello,

    I have an issue with Klebsiella and was very appreciative of your article here. I was wondering if you can email me back for advice. there may be a few “different english” confusions for me. like is pomegranate husk tincture same as pomegranate extract? I couldn’t find anything under the name you mention here in USA.

    1. Hey James,

      The pomegranate husk is different from the extract. It is not the most popular herbal medicine so may be hard to track down depending on where you are. Just emailing you back now 🙂

  8. Hi, Thanks for your article/research. I too have this bacteria, first detected 15 years ago. I have not found someone who knows how to effectively treat this. I am having a difficult time finding the pomegranate husk tincture and can only find the extract, can you recommend a link to an effective product? Is there a non-alcohol based tincture, as I recently read the bacteria thrive on the alcohol, as well, and may contribute to fatty liver (which I have developed, which I believe due to the bacteria)? Thanks!

    1. Hi Stephanie.

      I would start with prebiotics and probiotics when treating klebsiella. If, after a few months, you haven’t improved then I would approach it with herbal medicine.

      With such a long history of gut issues I would also recommend some testing to see exactly what is going on as well (this one in particular https://ubiome.com/consumer/explorer/.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences!


  9. Hi Todd, thanks for the article. I recently did a Comprehensive stool test and the only dysbiotic flora present is 4+Klebsiella Oxytoca. I have been prescribed Silvercillin, Caprin 250, and S. Boullardii to eradicate the Klebsiella. I have done some research into Klebsiella Oxytoca and it is apparently fairly common and often causes no symptoms. However, I understand that when you have overgrowth like I do it could be damaging.

    I am worried that the anti microbial supplements I have been prescribed could kill off my beneficial bacteria. I’m thinking about trying hellminth therapy instead. What is your opinion? Thank you!

    1. Hey Marley.

      I have started to look at bacterial overgrowths like these (klebsiella, citrobacter etc) as more of an indication of gut dysbiosis (aka imbalance) rather than just the one bug one treatment approach (I tried to outline my thinking here – https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/bacterial-infection/how-to-treat-bacterial-infections-a-holistic-approach/#0-one-infection-one-treatment).

      If there is no sign of SIBO (bloating, distention being key symptoms here) then I would approach a klebsiella overgrowth with targeted prebiotics and probiotics. If SIBO is suspected then it’s a complete game changer and needs to be cleared before any large bowel restoration can really take place.

      I don’t have a common approach to many gut issues (it seems that the kill kill kill approach is leading the way at the moment even in the alternative health field). I think as we learn more about gut health and the microbiome we’ll learn that modulating and restoring is more important than killing many times.

      Sorry, not a great answer as it probably leads to tons more questions 🙂

  10. Re: Kleb overgrowth, I’m interested in trying out pomegranate husk tincture, but it doesn’t seem to be sold anywhere. Do you know where it can be obtained? Or, do you think pomegranate peel powder (which I was able to find) would be more effective than fruit’s juice? Thanks!

    1. Hey K,

      Pomegranate peel powder should be equivalent to the pomegranate husk tincture.
      If you have been unwell for awhile I would recommend working with someone who knows the ins and outs of gut health rather than treating yourself.
      That said, I do know it can be hard to find the right help!

  11. Hi there –
    Thank you for all of this great information! I was under severe stress from my Dad having a stroke and lots of hospital visits and travel around that. I then had a trip to the ER because I have SVT. For 3 months after I have had digestive symptoms (loose stools, indigestion, burping, etc), high heart rate, weight loss (12 pounds), night sweats, and anxiety I couldn’t explain. I thought it was related to the stress, but I finally had a stool test done and it has come back positive for Klebsiella Oxytoca 4+. I have also recently acquired a very gnawing middle back pain, which makes me concerned for ankylosing spondylitis. In my case would you do probiotics/probiotics or do something herbal like Biocidin (which I have on hand)? I am worried about my high heart rate (hovering at 90-100 all day), which I think is coming from lack of nutrients and minerals, contributing to my SVT. Also, do you have a specific protocol for prebiotics and probiotics or a list of these foods? Thank you!

    1. Hey Jennifer,

      This seems to be quite a complex case. I would recommend working with a practitioner here to get to the bottom of your symptoms.

      Which stool test picked up on the klebsiella?


      1. Hi Todd
        I am currently working with a naturopath that is also an acupuncturist and herbal medicine practitioner as well as a functional medicine practitioner. They are having me take Biocidin (herbal antimicrobial) but I have to go extremely slow because I don’t want to exacerbate my heart issue. I have started eating very low starch and that is helping a ton. The stool test that showed my Klebsiella as a potential pathogen at level 4+ was by Genova labs here in the U.S. My main symptoms right now are mainly at night. I wake up in a sweat 3-4 times a night with mild racing heart. Digestive symptoms in the evenings (gas), and always loose stools in the morning which wipe me out a bit. The Biocidin has a combination of bilberry, noni, milk thistle, echinacea, goldenseal, shiitake, white willow bark, goldenseal, black walnut hull, raspberry, fumitory, gentian, tea tree oil, galbanum oil, lavender oil, and oregano oil. Do you have any thoughts on this combination? The lab did culture the Klebsiella and found it most resistant to plant tannins. Would that be more like pomegranate peel powder, as you mentioned above? Thanks for your time!

        1. Hey Jennifer,

          I couldn’t comment on the biocidin product. Practitioners here in Australia aren’t able to prescribe it as it hasn’t gone through our TGA approval process. The ingredients look decent enough (depending on how much oregano oil is in the mix…it is VERY strong!).

          The more I look into it the more I think SIBO might be an underlying issue for many people (maybe something to explore and rule in or out with your practitioner – more here – https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/gut-health/sibo-complete-guide/).

          I came across a case-study paper (here – https://pmj.bmj.com/content/postgradmedj/70/821/235.full.pdf) with a connection between a mineral deficiency and SVT. This would line up with the malnutrition sometimes seen in SIBO (here https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/gut-health/sibo-complete-guide/#21-malnutrition).

          As for the pomegranate peel – it is full of different polyphenols – the ellagitannins are narrow spectrum antibacterial, plus the flavonoids act as potent anti-inflammatory agents! Minimising and modulating inflammation can help certain gut conditions.

          Hope that helps. As always working with a skilled practitioner is key!


  12. So glad I came across this, I started experiencing a burning sensation in my chest and lungs when starting to pick up pace on a walk after a few minutes it goes away. This was 2016 it was put down to Gerd, after having my heart checked. In 2017 I started with really bad pain on the right hand side upper abdomen 1 hour after eating the pain would last several minutes. It was like I could feel the food moving through the intestine. These pains after eating became more frequent so off to the doctors had gastroscopy and colonoscopy, scans, ultrasounds came back with mild chronic gastritis that was early 2018. Medication was suggested Nexium etc and low PPI diet. I chose not to take Nexium. January 2019 still experienced intermittent pain sometimes after eating. By this time I had gone from 70 kgs to 55 kgs and was an anxious mess, as all this has bought on health anxiety
    Went to see a naturopath had a nutripath test which came back with +4 Klebsiella and +1 Lactobaccilli was put on Metagenics Bactrex and Glutagenics this seemed to help. I stopped the Bactrex as was told that extended period as this could affect my good bacteria, I had been on Bactrex for 4 months. I relaxed my eating back to bread,crackers, cheese,
    sugar etc and here I am back at square one the pains have started again, not as bad. My question is do I go back on Bactrex, have another Nutripath Test and the above sypthoms I have had, has anyone else experienced these. It was so good to come across this site Matt as from what I can gather not many people especially medical doctors have heard of Klebsiella. Thanks for your time for reading my large content.

    1. Hi Rose,

      Did your stool test check for helicobacter pylori? Many of these symptoms (specifically the pain) could be from this bacterium. Also H. pylori is one of the top offenders for gastritis!

      1. Thanks for your reply Todd, my gastroscopy and colonoscopy stated no for H.pylori, via specimen. I am now only on a herbal mixture, Vital E alkalising formula and orthoplex HCL.
        Also restricted foods. Hopefully this will be the answer as it is doing my head in. Best wishes on your upcoming graduation.

        1. hmm interesting. I wouldn’t hang my hat on a gastroscopy screening (I assume it was a biopsy) for H. pylori. Here in Australia we can run a stool antigen test for this particular bacteria for $30. That is more reliable from my readings.

          1. Thanks again Todd for you thoughts, I will put this forward to my naturopath on next visit. The last 2 weeks no gluten, no lactose, no sugar and my sympthoms seem to be getting better. On looking back I had started making my own kefir and kombucha and drinking too much which probably didn’t help.

  13. Hi Todd, I have done the Doctor’s Data Comprehensive Stool Analysis + Parasite PCR test (no parasites found) and have a 1+ on the Klebsiella pneumoniae ssp pneumonia. It was under the Commensal (Imbalanced) Flora tab. Also, there was no growth of Bifidobacterium. My symptoms are lower back pain, wrist pain, bunions, pain on the right hand side of the upper abdomen, bloating, flatulence… I used undecylenic acid softgel caps but it didn’t help. What should someone without any Bifidobacteria in the gut use to replenish it and kill Klebsiella at the same time?

    1. Hi Mina,
      I have found that prebiotics such as partially hydrolysed guar gum are helpful in treating klebsiella overgrowths. The bloating may be indicating SIBO (depending on when you are experiencing it…ie how quickly after meals). I wouldn’t use the comprehensive stool analysis to assess for Bifido. The DNA based testing such as Ubiome (now out of business) or Thryve are much better at assessing the bacterial balance in the large bowel. Feel free to get in touch here – https://www.byronherbalist.com.au/appointments/ if you want to get in touch via email.


  14. I”vw had this phlegm in troat whixh ia kind of persistent i went for sputum culture and the say its klebsiella, i also have arthritis pains on my waist neck knew and other joints and its been there for years, what kind of treatment do you recommend

    1. Hi Todd , I have Klebsiella 4+ in my stool (Drs data, Genova; DNA negative) for at least 6yrs and the symptoms of bloating, cramping ,pain have been correlating with positive test results. Rarely were the symptoms much better and then the tests were negative. Years ago I improved after treatment with rifaximin and neomycin, now some response to cipro, but not enough. I am an immunologist and vet and think that the cytokine reaction to LPS causes the terrible symptoms of headaches, muscle ache, burning, itching etc. Here are my questions: 1. Has anyone treated SIBO patients for LPS reactions with anti-cytokine antibodies? 2. Which anti-biofilm prep is good for Klebsiella? 3. What form of herbals such as wormwood or pomegranate are best (tincture, etc)?4. My naturopath asked me to try CSA (cryptolepis/sida/alchornia, Buhner book); have you heard of this with reference to Klebsiella?.Can you contact me when you can consult US patients?Many thanks.

      1. Hi Dorothee,
        From personal experience, I definately think LPS, cytokines, histamine intollerance etc. are down stream effects of klebsiella..
        Starch aggravates me terribly along with fodmaps..
        I’m not sure what anti cytokines are..but interested to know how to treat it..it’s basically been disabling for me..
        Kindest regards,

  15. So would s. Boulardi be helpful?? In treating Klebsiella… I also am confused I have read it’s normal to have this in your gut ??

    1. Hi Sam. Thanks for the comment! I haven’t seen S. boulardii to be that helpful with klebsiella overgrowths but it can be helpful with other forms of dysbiosis and even leaky gut too. Also, with klebsiella it is more the amount present than anything. It is a natural resident of the human gut but we want to keep it from overgrowing and causing all of the issues outlined in the article.
      Hope that helps!

  16. Hi Todd

    Are you taking any UK patients online? I have had a raft of issues (GERD diagnosed, also flatulance, loose stools) and have had Genova GI effects confirm Klebsiella 4++ and M Smithii overgrowth. I eat whole foods, generally GF, DF and SF. Would love some proper guidance please.


  17. hi i have gut dysbiosis and 4+ klebsiella pneumoniae in my stools fron Genova stool test. i am on a low carb diet. i read about pomegrante husk but has not tried it yet. what else can i do?

    1. Hi Jackie,

      Klebsiella generally responds well to microbiome manipulation, feeding up the beneficials and the drop in pH that results. If there are symptoms of bloating and distention then this can become more complicated. Targeted prebiotics like PHGG and acacia fibre can be helpful here.



  18. Hello Doctor Todd

    I have seen very great reviews on your page and was hoping to get some help/insight from you about my condition.

    I had hp phylori last year ; where I took the 2 weeks antibiotics and it was killed. I did a breath test, endoscopy and stool test which all said the hp phylori is gone.

    But since then I get burping, stomach aches, loose stool’s, sometimes up to 3 times a day or once or twice .

    The stool test confirmed under the dysbiotic flora I have klebisella pneumoine 3+ and enterbacter cloaca complex 3+
    I have also imbalanced gut flora 4 + alpha hemlytic strep and 4+ lactoccus garvieae
    I have also have lysozymes 813 and it should be under 500. Which indicates inflammation.
    Some low ph acidic and some Segretory IGA a little high it should be 275 and mines 287.

    My naturopath give me some natural cleanse to clean the bad bacteria which has grape seed extract, olive leaf , caprylic acid , black walnut , and peppermint.
    I’m taking that from 3 weeks and still don’t see much difference yet .
    I’m actually concerned if this means I have IBD chron or ulcerative colitis since I have inflammation and do you think I should go for colonoscopy ; does inflammation come with the bad bacteria I have ?

    Please let me know what you feel and what treatment I should take ; please also tell me which good bacteria kills off the bad bacteria and which probactics and prebiotics I should be taking ; I heard that saccharromyees boulardii kills the klebiesella pneumonia bacteria .

    Please advise what you feel I should be taking and doing to feel better.

    Thank you

  19. Also my endoscopy biopsy showed I have mild gastritis and inflammation can the stool test be showing my inflammation in my stomach or the inflammation is in the colon ?

    What can I take to make my bad bacteria go away in specific ? Should I go on a low carb diet like no rice ? I do eat a lot of rice everyday

  20. Hi, I have come across you page and I’m very thankful for it. So my case seem to be a bit different than most. About two months ago I had a rhinoplasty(nose job) done in Turkey. 3 weeks post op, my nose started getting swollen, pus started coming out and I was put on antibiotic (Amoxalyn), that didn’t help. Than I started another antibiotic which also didn’t seem to help. The test found Klebsiella Ocytoca from the pus sample that was taken. It is in the tip of my nose and otherwise my blood work seems normal. I have been looking for different more natural methods to deal with it, which also included me starting to apply Collodial Silver gel on my nose, which seems to male some kind of a difference. I will also cut all starch and sugar from my diet as I noticed everyone says it helps. Please let me know yours thoughts. Much appreciated and good ;luck to anyone fighting with this!

    1. Hi Tia, thanks for the comment. Colloidal silver is a good option for external use as are essential oils diluted down in a carrier oil so that they don’t burn your skin. You may even be able to add them to the colloidal silver gel, again external use only. I would start with oils like clove, oregano, cinnamon and tea tree as well. Choose one and assess effectiveness over a week or two.
      Hope that helps!

  21. Hi dr. Todd, I recently made pomegranate peel powder, and I was wondering what is the right way if consuming it against Klebsiella Oxytica that I have in my nose tip post rhinoplasty. Thank you kindly!

    1. Hi Tia, I think you will have trouble applying a powder to your nose. It is a difficult place to treat. If you were in Australia I would suggest a specific combo of herbs internally (almost impossible to source overseas) and topical applications of essential oils in a carrier oil. Not the best answer but shipping things internationally isn’t an option on my end at the moment.

    1. Hi Todd,i came across your page searching for a solution for my chronic otitis media and suspected cholesteatoma. Recently the swab culture of the ear discharge showed positive for klebsiella oxytoca. Do you think topical clove oil drops could help? Any idea if hydrogen peroxide or colloidal silver would also be good alternative to topical antibiotic drops? would be grateful for youradvice… Thanks!!

      1. Hi MB.
        Hmm hard to say. I normally start with a combo ear drop mix containing garlic, calendula, mullein and st johns wort. For the tricky ones we can add (very diluted) essential oils but NEVER when the eardrum has been perforated. I haven’t had to turn to hydrogen peroxide or colloidal silver yet so couldn’t comment.
        Hope that helps!

  22. Hi Todd, In searching out of desperation for some information regarding my bacterial condition, I too have come across your page. For over a year I have been battling Citrobacter Koseri and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa present in my nasal discharge and sputum. It wreaks havoc on my sinuses, causes headaches, eye, and tooth pain. I have tried nasal irrigations for several months with a saline and Manuka Honey mixture, unfortunately with no results. I decided to do so after a previous 2 month unsuccessful nasal solution compound of Gentamicin and Budesonide. I wasn’t able to address the bacteria after because of my pregnancy. Do you have any recommendations as far as herbal supplements? I would be most grateful for your help. Thank you.

  23. Hi Todd. Thank you for providing such helpful feedback to so many inquiries. Regarding the use of partially hydrolysed guar gum for Klebsiella dysbiosis in the gut, what would you recommend as a typical dosage rate?

    You also recommended dropping the pH in the gut for this type of dysbiosis. Would one do that using HCl tablets or do you have a better suggestion!

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Tommy, apologies on the delay. PHGG doses are between 4-6 grams for most people but always best to work up to this. The prebiotic supplementation (PHGG) will help to acidify the gut and reduce overgrowths.

  24. Hi Todd, so grateful to have someone to discuss my symptoms too. I have been fighting klebsiella UTI’s for about 5 yrs. tried many antibiotics, with no results.i have had installations into my bladder withDimethy sulfoxide which helped for about a year..now back to UTI’s and increasing IBS symptoms gas , bloating etc. where do I go, where do I start to help me start attacking this klebsiella? Probiotics, prebiotics, foods to eliminate .? Any suggestions on where to go, who to see other then Medical Dr. Antibiotics are just not helping me, some making me feel worse…. I appreciate any info you can help me with thank you in advance… Marie Sierra

    1. Hi Marie, if you feel there is a connection between the gut and the UTI symptoms I would start building and balancing the gut. Most klebsiella strains are pH sensitive so feeding the beneficial bugs (bifido’s, lacto’s, f. prausnitzii and many many more) helps to shift the balance away from pathobionts like klebsiella and e. coli. All very helpful for the urinary tract microbiome too!

  25. Hi , recently got tested positive for klebsiella and the naturopath gave me grapefruit seed to get rid of the bacteria, (it showed to be very sensitive to grapefruit seed on my test).
    It’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve started taking probiotics and the grapefruit seed and noticed that I started having anxiety episodes with panic attacks, sensitivity to light and sound. Could these symptoms be caused by the die off of the klebsiella bacteria ?

  26. Hi Todd,
    I have high levels of KP and ankalosing spondylitis, I have a lot of pain in my peripheral joints as well as muscles and ligaments.
    I would like to go down the path to minimise kp in the hope of pain relief. I live in Perth and would like some advice on actions to take.

  27. I successfully treated klebsiella using grapefruit seed extract, pomegranate husk tincture, and reduced starch diet. At the same time I used prebiotics and kefir to support gut flora.

    After being admitted to the hospital, I contracted it again.

    The next time I used bacteriophages from Georgia and they eradicated it. So far I don’t have it. I avoid hospitals now.

  28. Hi
    Thank you for your informative article. I have had a full stool analyzis. I have way too high klebsiella and enterobacter. But apparantly not leaky gut and not too high fungi. This pomegranate husk is impossible to get here in Denmark, it’s an Australian thing. I will have to order from you. It will be quite expencieve and I will have to pay customs. My quistion is, how much will I need? Should I just order 500 ml? I am looking at Naturopath husk &peel. Thanks in advance.

  29. What about UTI. I am trying to shake it of since last August. It sometimes disappears for a couple of weeks and then back. I had chronic cystitis and now klebsiella is back especially at evening and night times. Most of the daytime it is gone. There is no infection in the urine tests . Only bacteria. How on earth???

  30. I am trying to shake it of since last August. It sometimes disappears for a couple of weeks and then back. I had chronic cystitis and now klebsiella is back especially at evening and night times. Most of the daytime it is gone. There is no infection in the urine tests . Only bacteria. How on earth??? I am talking about urinary infection

    1. Thanks for your comment Ilias. I would focus on UTI herbs. My favourite for klebsiella UTIs would be uva ursi, pomegranate husk and juniper. See if there is a local herbalist in your region of the world. Hope that helps!

  31. Hi and thanks. I got a UTI and started to treat it late as I also have IC so didnt detect symptoms. Becasue i hate taking antibiotics, they i think contributed to my IC, started with lemon, baking powder, ginger juiced, oil of oregano but symptoms persistedm, then took two doses of Fosfmocyn but only helpe d abit and then I found out after a culture what it is, then the frequency and pain were too much so had to resort to Sulfa drug and it was only 3 days, Order Steven Buhners tinctures Juniper, Biden, Crepto and Barbeary and will be taking that to kill it off. Do you have other advice , you mentioned inulin and probiotics, I do take probiotics, i also eat keto so minimum starches, but this summer cheated a bit. Please advise!

  32. Hi Todd,
    I really enjoy reading your articles. Thanks so much.
    I have both Enterococcus hirae and Klebsiella species. I’m wondering if you have written any articles on Enterococcus? And also, in this article about Klebsiella, do you mean that reducing complex carbohydrates was helpful for you or reducing refined carbohydrates? Either way, did you only reduce for a certain period or are you reducing your carb intake indefinitely?

    Thank you!

  33. Hello Todd,

    Thanks for all of this great information! In Canada I can buy dried pomegranate peel powder -but not tincture. Is powder ok and if yes, what do I mix it in? Is it as effective in water as in an alcohol base?
    I saw in another article you mentioned garlic and clove in combination with pomegranate husk. Are these all good against Klebsiella infections?
    I, (like others here!), did a test through Doctor’s Data. The antimicrobials tested against my pathogen (klebsiella pneumonia/variicola) and shown to be strong, were colloidal silver, grapefruit seed extract and uva ursu. I have read your thoughts on GSE (!) but what are your thoughts on the others?
    Thank you so much for all your writings – I wish I could be your client/patient!

    1. Hi Anna, apologies on the delay! Busy clinic days. While I can’t make any specific recommendations I can say that Pomegranate peel is great as a decoction. I often recommend patients either steep overnight in boiled water or simmer for 15 minutes and strain. It will be astringent! Great for klebsiella if it is tolerated. Uva Ursi is helpful, colloidal silver I don’t use or recommend, just concerned about damaging the microbiome.

  34. Hi Todd I have High Klebsiella Oxytoca and Pneumonia. The main symptoms that caused me to have the test was occasional but persistent constipation and bloating. I am taking PHGG and a product containing pomegranate powder grapefruit seed extract, bitter orange, blackcurrant extract and ashwaganda.

    My question is how long should I take these supplements and should i be taking an anti microbial and S Boulardi as well.

    I am struggling to give up bread, will this mean I wont get better

    I did send in a question about a month ago but it seems to have disappeared

    1. Hi Janet, Thanks for the input. It sounds like you are on the right track. I prefer to use the herbal tinctures/fluid extracts to treat the lungs and have been looking into nebulising herbal medicines for lung conditions too.

  35. Dear Todd,

    First of all, this information is great and very helpful.
    Unfortunately you are far away from Europe.

    I have an Klebsiella overgrowth /Leaky Gut and treat as usual with Bacterial Supplements, L Glutamin Aminoacid and special breathing technics.

    I have it cured maybe 70%.

    Now I am looking for a diet plan, is there a recommendation (yes, low carb , fresh vegetables I do)

    Thanks for further inspiration

    Cheers from Germany

    1. Hi Ming,

      Klebsiella in the gut tends to be pH sensitive. Long term I recommend working to reduce the pH in the colon by feeding beneficial bacteria (butyrate producers) with specialised prebiotics like PHGG. The Biogaia probiotics drops (DSM17938) can help here too if they are tolerated.



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