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SIBO: The Gut Brain Connection

By Dr. Michael Veselak, D.C.

SIBO: The Gut Brain Connection

The gut and the brain are in constant communication and if one is not functioning properly the other is not working at its best.

Conditions such as SIBO are signs of a dysfunctional brain-gut axis.

If you have bloating or distension following meals, constipation or irregular bowel movements, intolerance to food types such as starches and fats as well as frequent discomfort in the abdominal region following eating then the gut-brain axis is impaired.

SIBO stands for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. It is becoming more and more common in my coaching practice as well as in private practice. Like many Doctors the approach of identifying it then providing dietary recommendations and supplementation to remove and repair it simply was just not that effective.

What I discovered was the SIBO would return so it made me search farther. The more I read about the gut-brain axis I realized this was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Essentially, the brain tells the gut to digest food, repair the gut lining and regulate motility. With chronic inflammation the Vagus Nerve, which controls these functions becomes impaired and the input is altered.

This results in constipation, food sensitivities, irritable bowel and SIBO.

With SIBO not only is Vagal Tone important but also normal bile physiology. Both areas must be addressed properly to have long- term success with SIBO.

Symptoms of SIBO:

  1. Heartburn/Reflux

  2. Nausea

  3. Abdominal Pain/Cramping

  4. Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea

  5. Malabsorption Issues with Fat Soluble Vitamins

  6. Fatigue

  7. Joint Pain

  8. Skin Issues

Major Causes of SIBO:

  1. Poor Stomach Acid:  Stomach Acid is critical to stimulate proper bile and enzyme formation from the pancreas. These have an anti-microbial role in the small intestine.

  2. Hormone issues such as estrogen dominance can compromise bile physiology by inhibiting the release of bile.

  3. Hypothyroidism can impact the release of stomach acid as well as the overall functioning of the liver, pancreatic enzymes and bowels.

  4. Methylation issues can prove to be a problem with the PEMT and DHMT gene.

  5. Constipation causes food to ferment, creating gas and inflammation affection the motility of the bowel

  6. Chronic Inflammation will divert tryptophan from making serotonin, which limits bowel motility

Testing For SIBO

  1. Breath Test from Aerodiagnositcs

  2. GI Map Test

  3. Great Plains Lab Testing for Lactulose

  4. Genova Lab Testing for Organophosphates

Recommended Approach To SIBO

  1. Focus on Thinning bile with products such as ox bile, taurine, glycine

  2. Improve Acid Production with Betaine HCL

  3. Address Hormones Estrogen and Thyroid

  4. Minimize Inflammation

  5. Support PEMT and BHMT gene with Phosphatidylcholine or TMG

  6. Botanicals such as Oregano Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Garlic

Lifestyle Management

  1. Chew Food at least 20 times

  2. Sleep – 8 Hours a night. This is when the body repairs itself

  3. Breathing- Breathe Through Nose

  4. Physical Exercise- 20 -30 minutes per day

  5. Dietary Habits:  Incorporate dietary measures to eliminate complex sugars like grains, starchy vegetables, and honey.










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