***Please note that although we have undertaken extensive research and are SIBO sufferers ourselves, we are not trained medical professionals. Seek professional advice before attempting to undertake any fasting or taking herbal supplements to ensure that they don't interact with any medications you are taking and that they are suitable for you. Listen to your own body. All humans are biologically unique and the microbiome ecosystems within and us and which cover us are no different. Keep a diary and learn to read the signs and ways that your body communicates with you.
SIBO + Autoimmunity
Recent research by SIBO-specialist Mark Pimentel suggests that the root cause of SIBO is an autoimmune (AI) disease of the small intestine(1). AI is a disease of the immune system which occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly identifies a part of the human body as a foreign agent and attacks it - similar to an allergic response. In some cases it attacks your tissues, your brain, your skin etc. but in the case of SIBO the AI disease is gut-specific. Healthy gut motility involves a complex, tightly coordinated series of events, regulated by its very own nervous system (the Enteric Nervous System (ENS)) and tubular muscles which are designed to move material through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The nerves and muscles govern gut motility and thus the function of the gut as a whole. When the enteric nervous system attacks itself, the gut malfunctions. The result is the stagnation of excessive fermenting food which builds up the gut, allowing bacteria to migrate from the colon up to the now habitable SI - hence the name, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). But there are many factors which can cause the gut to malfunction, this is just one of them.
How do you become Autoimmune?
There 5 main causes believe to be attributed to the cause of AI(2) -
1) Stress, 2) Infections (e.g. zika), 3) Gluten, 4) Leaky Gut and 5) Toxins (e.g. from certain strains of mould).
Recovering from AI/SIBO
The science behind gut health and autoimmunity is still in its infancy and it often takes decades before research findings are adopted and implemented by medical establishments. As a result, conventional medicine doesn't offer much help to those with autoimmune diseases and gut conditions so we have searched for help and knowledge from functional medicine practitioners, the latest scientific evidence-based research and nutritional therapists who have experienced success at decreasing AID + SIBO symptoms, and we discuss this in depth on the SIBO + Autoimmunity, Gut Dysbiosis/SIBO In Depth pages and AI + SIBO recovery on Healing the Gut + AI page.
Gut Dysfunction + Dysbiosis
Gut dysfunction and gut dysbiosis, or SIBO, go hand in hand. Without healthy gut motility, which involves peristalsis or the “Housekeeper Wave” pushing material down the tubular muscle of the digestive system, bacteria colonising the colon are able to migrate northwards to inhabit the SI, even populating as high up as the area where the stomach empties into the SI.
GI dysfunction both causes and perpetuates the overgrowth/infection.
The SI is meant to be mostly devoid of bacteria, as food should pass through swiftly during the process of absorption and digestion. When digestion slows, both 'good' and bad (pathogenic) bacteria in the SI have the opportunity to feed on the food consumed, colonising and damaging the gut barrier, disintegrating gut function further and nutrient absorption. Once settled, the bugs wreak havoc on numerous internal systems, degrading health within the body.
There are 2 different types of SIBO infection; SIBO-C or methane-dominant SIBO and SIBO-D or hydrogen-dominant SIBO and a smaller minority of SIFO sufferers (fungal SI overgrowth). They are so named because methane-dominant bacteria causes constipation and hydrogen-dominant causes diarrhoea.
The Gut's Nervous + Immunological Systems
The gut is the largest and most dynamic immunological environment and organ within the body. The gut microbiome - a vast ecosystem of organisms including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and protozoans - that reside in our digestive pipes, collectively weigh up to 2kg - more than the average human brain!(4) And these (100 trillion) microorganisms regulate our immune health(5). Add to this the gut-specific nervous system (ENS) and the gut-brain connection, and you get a picture as to how the effects of SIBO are far reaching in the body, why the symptoms so diverse and why it is such a highly complex and misunderstood illness. We discuss this in depth on the Gut Dysbiosis/SIBO In Depth page.
We’ve done extensive research, and here present a summary of our findings which focuses on the gut imbalance/dysbiosis itself in depth, the SIBO cycle, how the pathogenic bacteria physically damage the gut and the far reaching health consequences which can entail.
Our digestive system is mind-blowing in it's complexity and precision. This tube which runs through us, plus the digestive organs strategically placed along it's length, are dedicated to the sole purpose of turning food as diverse as animal protein, seeds and leaves into the energy we need to survive.
Our brain and guts are inextricably linked by nerve and chemical connections - they talk to each other. Understanding this connection allows you to understand the profound influence the gut has on our overall health and wellbeing.
When Healing SIBO, as the bacteria die-off the bacterial burden decreases, flooding your internal system with toxins. We explain die-off, what to expect during this process and how to detox to avoid a “diseased state”.
We delve into the autoimmune aspect of SIBO - AI as the root cause of SIBO + IBS, the resulting chronic inflammation, leaky gut and how this causes food sensitivities and further autoimmunity, plus their far-reaching effects in the body.
Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is the most prevalent nutritional disorders in developing countries and this type of anaemia, plus vitamin deficiency anaemia, are just two of the many complications which can arise as a result of SIBO or any chronic gut condition. Dealing with this condition with a malfunctioning gut can be super tricky. Here's what we've learned...
We're busy as bees, researching and writing new articles, jam-packed with medical studies and practical therapeutic health and healing info. Bear with us peeps :)
Getting a diagnosis for any chronic illness can be no easy feat. We give tips on preparing for appointments, different methods of chronic illness, SIBO and AI testing. We delve into the many secondary (and potentially causative) health complications of SIBO.
The attitudes of the west and their approach to medicine, illness and health has led to a system of healthcare which is failing many - particularly those with chronic illnesses. We discuss its beginnings in ancient Greece and the reasons why the modern system is letting so many of us down.
Medicine is as old as illness. And although the most dominant model is the western system of healthcare and medicine, its not the only medicine system which the world has to offer. Here we focus on 2 which have been healing people for millennia and whose roots stretch back to the beginnings of civilisation itself, and even further.
We discuss this in depth on Healing SIBO and Healing the Gut + AI pages but here's a summary of the process. Healing from SIBO is a similar process to healing from any AI condition as it focuses on healing the gut barrier and promoting gut motility, function and health. It is a combination of multiple lifestyle changes, health-promoting routines and botanical antimicrobials, all of which are dependent upon and will vary according to your individual case.
The 5 necessary steps to overcoming SIBO + AI are -
1 - Assess + Address your mental health + wellbeing
2 - Kill the bad, evil bugs (rebalance your gut microbiome)
3 - Heal the gut
4 - Repopulate the gut with beneficial 'good' bacteria
5 - Establish good habits to avoid relapse