What is SIBO?
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition when an accumulation of bacteria is in the small intestine. The overgrowth is of bacteria that normally live in the gastrointestinal tract but have abnormally overgrown in a location not meant for so many bacteria.
According to SIBO expert Dr. Siebecker, the bacteria hinders our normal digestion and absorption of food and may damage the lining or membrane of the SI (Leaky Gut). Dr Siebecker lists some of the problems that can result from SIBO:
- They consume some of our food which over time leads to deficiencies in their favorite nutrients such as iron and B12, which can cause anemia or chronic low ferritin.
- They consume food unable to be absorbed due to SI lining damage, which continues the overgrowth (a vicious cycle).
- After eating our food, they produce gas/ expel flatus, within our SI. The gas causes abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea or both (the symptoms of IBS). Excess gas can also cause belching and flatulence.
- They decrease proper fat absorption by deconjugating bile, which can lead to deficiencies of vitamins A & D and fatty stools.
- Through the damaged lining, larger food particles not able to be fully digested, can enter into the body which the immune system can react to. This can cause food allergies/ sensitivities.
- Bacteria themselves can also enter the body/bloodstream. Immune system reaction to bacteria and their cell walls (endotoxin) can cause chronic fatigue and body pain and burden the liver.
- Finally, the bacteria excrete acids which may, in high amounts lead to neurological and cognitive symptoms.