Leading Causes of SIBO

Greetings. Eric Bakker, naturopath from New Zealand, author of Candida Crusher. Thanks for checking out this video again.

We’re back into SIBO again to explain a bit about what some of the causes of SIBO are, small intestinal bowel overgrowth.

We spoke in the initial video about what SIBO really is, about it being a bacterial overgrowth. Bear in mind that the digestive system is quite a long organ with many different parts to it, different components to it and varying levels of acidity and alkalinity along the way. The small bowel, in particular, has many mechanisms by which it protects itself to stop from getting an overgrowth. And one way it will regulate that is by having the right balance of pH.

If we look at the stomach, the pH of the stomach, is anywhere between 1-1/2 and 5, which is quite acid forming, so around 3-1/2, I think, on average, a lot of people’s stomachs are. And they have to be to initiate protein breakdown. We start by ingesting food in the mouth by chewing it. Chewing is a very important part of SIBO prevention. Crazy as it may seem. Because what we’re doing is we’re breaking the food down to small particle size, and we’re already to starting to put enzymes in the mouth and even much more, so we’re allowing the small particle size to be coated in proteases and various enzymes before it even hits the small intestine. This really allows proper digestion to occur. So if you’re not really chewing food properly, this is already a cause for SIBO, as crazy as it may sound. This is really the sort of information you don’t read on the internet, but it’s very true. Eating food, taking your time to eat food properly away from technology is a very important thing to do. Gastric acid secretions help protect the small intestine. When you’ve got a significantly low pH, it’s going to allow the body to really start killing a lot of yeast and bacteria that are rampant in the food and around the places where we eat.

Waves of bowel wall activity. So we call this peristalsis or the movement of food through the digestive system, which will stop it from piling up in one area. It will continue to move through. This can be affected by different mechanisms as well. Stress has got an ability to inhibit peristalsis. When we’re in the “fight or flight” mechanism, we don’t need a good digestive system, so this already means that we’re slowing our digestion down. You’ve heard of “fight or flight” that’s the sympathetic mode or the stress mode. “Rest and digest” is the parasympathetic or the relaxation mode. If you look at a snake, a big anaconda will engulf an animal and then it will gos relax, wait for a couple of weeks, and digest the whole thing. I’m not suggesting that we eat like that. Eat 25 burgers and then go somewhere and relax. But the point I’m trying to make to you is that we can only really digest our food when we’re relaxed, not when we’re stressed out. Eating food in a stressful environment is really bad in terms of digestive function. You’re also a sitting duck for a SIBO infection.

Taking medications to block stomach acidity is just a stupid thing to do. I just read online that Nexium, one of America’s top drugs for blocking stomach acidity, $6.2 billion last year, so that’s a lot of SIBO going on in America.

Immunoglobulins produced in the intestinal fluid. Your body produces a particular antibody or immunoglobulin to bind with pathogens like bad bacteria and Candida and cell wall fragments. It will bind to these and help to take it out of the digestive system. This is circulatory IgA made in the small bowel, so healthy people make up to a couple of grams of this per day, which is quite a lot. Many stool tests I’ve seen come back with very low levels of circulatory IgA, and these are the people we often see with very high levels of bad bacteria or SIBO.

Ileocecal valve. We actually have a valve that separates the small intestine from the large intestine, and it prevents flow back or reflux of contents or food back into the small intestine. The pH really varies. In the upper parts of the digestive system, the pH can be anywhere between 2.5, 3 or 5, right up to about 8. But as soon as we hit the ileocecal valve and we get into the large intestine, the pH tends to drop again a little bit. That valve is a very important redactor or reducer of allowing bugs to go also from the small bowel into the large bowel. The ileocecal value also for some people can be a hot spot or literally, a smoldering area where there can be a low-grade pain or low-grade infections can occur in there.

Particularly people with low circulatory IgA counts can have a little bit of digestive pain on the right side where the ileocecal value is, so between the hip bone and the belly button. Probably about here. If you’re feeling pain here on the right side, that’s your ileocecal value. Now you know. If you’ve got a little bit of discomfort around that area, it could be bacteria creating a low-grade infection.

These are all protective mechanisms that the body has to help you prevent SIBO. Causes, malfunctions in all our systems. Problem with gastric acid, acid blockers, not chewing food properly, stress inhibiting peristalsis, low antibody count in the digestive system for many different reasons, ileocecal value problems, that can happen for a lot of reasons. Constipation, diarrhea or food poisoning can affect that area. Pharmaceutical medications. There are a myriad of causes for SIBO.

One of the biggest ones I see would be antibiotic use, particularly recurring antibiotic use. Recurring proton pump inhibitors or drugs to block acidity in the stomach. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. I’m doing a whole lecture on these kind of drugs, in fact, tomorrow up near Auckland here in New Zealand to a bunch of health care professionals about how pharmaceutical medications wreck a lot of people’s digestive systems. These are one of the leading causes, drugs. Recreational drugs or particularly prescribed drugs. Recreational drugs like alcohol are probably top of the chain when it comes to wrecking the gut. And then we get the non-prescribed OTC drugs, stress, poor diets, crappy food, not chewing properly, eating basically crap food. A lot of people get SIBO from that.

Now you get a bit of an idea on how SIBO happens. It’s really a 21st Century disease that’s rampant and many patients actually present to my clinic with. We’re going to do another one on the symptoms of SIBO, so we’ll catch you in that video.