Bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine is a serious digestive disorder that is treat able after proper diagnosis. Although widespread, it is frequently unsuspected in cases of chronic bowel problems and carbohydrate intolerance because its symptoms often mimic other disorders.

By inhibiting proper nutrient absorption, bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine can lead to systemic disorders such as altered permeability, anemia and weight loss, osteomalacia and vitamin deficiency.

Effects on the body Bacterial flora have the ability to act as small biochemical factories responsible for most of the effects of bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine. The flora contain very high concentrations of different enzymes which act upon substrates presented through the diet. Some of these enzymes produce toxic fermentation products normally not found in the small intestine. Gut flora metabolize biliary steroids, which contribute to the diarrhea common in bacterial over growth and which may contribute to colon cancer. Refer to our protocol to get ride of SIBO.

Studies are now showing how Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth is linked to Fibromyalgia. One study was published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases in 2004 found a 100% correspondence of Fibromyalgia with SIBO. This shows a direct connection to an imbalance inner ecosystem linked with a systemic condition.

Symptoms of Bacterial Overgrowth

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Bloating approx. 40 mins after eating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Steatorrhea
  • Weight loss (unexplained)
  • Vitamin B12 malabsorption

Causes of Bacterial Overgrowth:

Normally, far fewer bacteria live in the small intestine than the compared to growth found in the colon. Gastric acid secretion and intestinal motility keep the small intestine relatively free of bacteria. A wide range of abnormalities and mal-functions, however, can encourage bacteria to multiply in the small intestine.

The most common causes relate to a decrease in the production of hydrochloric acid or pancreatic enzymes, there by creating an unsterile environment in the small intestine. This environment is opportunistic for the bacteria to grow.

Other causes of bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine include intestinal obstructions caused by Crohn’s disease, adhesions, radiation damage. Many years may pass between the development of diverticula and symptoms of bacterial overgrowth.

Over grown flora in the small intestine can:

  • Inactivate (destroy) pancreatic and brush border digestive enzymes due to production of proteases.
  • Destroy dietary flavonoids, which serve as important antioxidants but are rapidly broken down and hydrolyzed by gut flora.
  • Hydrogenate polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Deconjugate bile salts
  • Consume vitamin B12
  • Produce nitrosamines (toxins)

Causes of bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine

  • Achlorhydria, drug-induced hypoacidity
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Giardiasis and other parasitic infections
  • Immunodeficiency syndromes (particularly sIgA)
  • Intestinal adhesions
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Malnutrition
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Reduced motility in the elderly
  • Scleroderma
  • Stasis due to structural changes— diverticulitis, blindloops, radiation damage