variety of microbial flora that can inhabit the small intestine. The preponderance of different organisms in different people accounts for the variety of symptoms.
Most Common Symptoms of SIBO
An individual with SIBO can suffer the full range of digestive complaints a person can experience. These digestive symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Although digestive complaints are the most common symptom of SIBO, a person can have SIBO without experiencing gut issues. These people may suffer only systemic symptoms such as restless leg syndrome, anxiety, fatigue, etc. Some "lucky people" get both digestive and systemic symptoms.
The overgrowth of microbes in SIBO causes damage to the inner lining of the small intestine. Seeing as the small intestine is where we absorb nutrients from food, it makes sense that SIBO will cause malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies (16, 17, 18, 19). Here are common nutrient deficiencies caused by SIBO:
LEAKY GUT & SYSTEMIC SYMPTOMS
SIBO often causes leaky gut by damaging the delicate inner gut lining of the small intestine (21, 22). When our intestines become excessively permeable or too leaky, we can develop systemic symptoms. These are symptoms that do not relate to the gut and are found elsewhere in or on our body; symptoms such as rashes and other skin issues, headaches, joint pain, and cognitive issues. When we experience systemic symptoms, especially when we eat certain foods, it is smart to suspect leaky gut and investigate into conditions that can cause it, such as SIBO.
SIBO increases chronic inflammation in a couple ways. Some types of organisms that grow in the small intestine can release pro-inflammatory chemicals, called lipopolysaccharide. These pro-inflammatory substances are absorbed into the bloodstream, and can increase systemic inflammation. As well, SIBO prevents the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) in the large intestine, which are substances that reduce inflammation.
Co-existing Associated Conditions
There are many conditions that are found to be highly associated with SIBO. It wouldn't hurt to investigate SIBO when these conditions are present, and all other treatments have failed. For a list of conditions associated with SIBO, please read this article.
I would like to hear from You!
Do you have SIBO? What symptoms do you experience?
Lindsay Rusk, R.Ac., fmp
Lindsay Is a Registered Acupuncturist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Health Investigator, Paleo Enthusiast, and Blogger.
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