SIBO & Leaky Gut
What are they and what does it mean to me?
SIBO stands for ‘small intestinal bacterial overgrowth’. This is where excessive bacteria resides in the small intestine and whilst we have naturally occurring bacteria in our digestive tract, the highest concentration is in the large intestine with only a very small amount in the small intestine.
There are more microbes in your body than there are cells in your body and the microbiome of the gut communicates directly with the brain via the Vagus nerve. Research suggests that these tiny little dudes play a role in digestion, they help regulate your immune system, support with disease prevention, wound healing, gut lining protection, appetite control, brain development and even your emotions!
When SIBO occurs bacteria has managed to worm its way up into the small intestine which is the longest section of our digestive tract. It is where the food we consume mixes with digestive juices and where all our nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. The problem with SIBO is that you have an imbalance in bacteria and this leads to malabsorption of nutrients, in particular the fat soluble vitamins A,D, E & K as well as iron.
SIBO in addition to malabsorption of nutrients can lead to damage of the stomach lining. Think of your gut as a highway, it is naturally semi-permeable and allows the passage of micronutrients (the cars) to pass through the intestinal tract and into the bloodstream. This is how we absorb our food! Unfortunately, external factors such as food, infections, toxins and stress can break apart our intestinal wall allowing not only cars to pass through (the micronutrients) but now lorries can pass through and these would be the larger particles such as toxins and undigested food. These larger particles get into our bloodstream and our body targets them as foreign invaders and attacks them. This immune response can highlight a problem in many ways from digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea, IBS, food allergies/intolerances, brain fog, depression, anxiety, skin issues such as acne, eczema etc, hormonal imbalances such as PMS, irregular periods or PCOS, autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue.
So what is the solution?
If you are suffering from any of the problems above then an elimination diet could be the most profound experiment you ever take part in. It is a diagnostic tool which allows you to heal your gut and identify the unique diet that works for you. It takes some work, it is a commitment, but you will feel better than you ever imagine when you find out what foods trigger the pain and discomfort you are experiencing, then you can avoid them!