What if your stomach discomfort that you’ve “learned to live with” went away with the right diet? Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is when bacteria that is normally found in the colon starts to overgrow in the small intestines. The body naturally keeps bacteria at bay in the small intestines through stomach acid, bile, and movement. Bacteria move into the wrong place when these mechanisms are disrupted, making you feel very uncomfortable.
Why are Bacteria in my Gut?
Gut bacteria is a good thing! You might hear people call it your “gut microbiome” or “gut flora.” Healthy adults have over 1,000 different kinds of bacteria in their gut! Some kinds are helpful while others are less desirable. The types of bacteria that you have in your gut depend on what you eat, especially if you eat probiotic foods like yogurt and kombucha. Helpful bacteria feed on foods you can’t digest. This process is good for your immune and mental health.
3 Signs you may have SIBO
- Diarrhea- Normally dietary fat is packaged into small bundles called micelles. This packaging makes fat easier to absorb. Bacteria in the small intestines damage those fat bundles causing diarrhea.
- Bloating, abdominal pain, and gas- When bacteria feed on carbohydrates, they produce gas which leads to feelings of bloating and pain.
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency- Bacteria feed on Vitamin B12 and don’t leave enough for you. Signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency are:
- Weight loss
- Reduced appetite
- Numb hands and feet
- Confusion, dementia, or memory loss
- Sore mouth or tongue
- Megaloblastic anemia – may be masked by large amounts of folate
What causes SIBO?
- Medications that suppress gastric acid secretion
- Liver disease or pancreatitis
- Slowed stomach emptying and intestinal motility (could be from diabetes, age, or other reasons)
- Some gastrointestinal surgeries
Testing your Gut Microbiome
If you want answers, Total Nutrition Technology has them! Ask us about our Gut Zoomer specialty test that tells you if your gut has enough “good” bacteria, has too much “bad” bacteria, and if your gut microbiome has enough diversity. Gut imbalances can lead to autoimmune disorders, diabetes, mood abnormalities, food sensitivities, and more.
Dietary treatment for SIBO symptoms requires a personalized approach and may involve limiting some types of carbohydrates and correcting or preventing deficiencies through food or supplements. A registered dietitian will help you get to the root cause and make personalized recommendations so that you can live symptom-free.