Root Causes of SIBO: Gut Motility

Hey folks my name is Todd Mansfield and I am a clinical herbalist here in Byron Bay, Australia and today we’re talking about gut motility and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO. SIBO is a condition that I treat frequently here in the clinic and I’m always questioning and working towards determining and treating the root cause.

Why has your body allowed bacteria to overgrow where it shouldn’t.

I find that motility is a major major root cause and there are four common causes of motility disturbances or dysregulations in the digestive tract.

Number one: inflammation

With SIBO there tends to be the shift towards this kind of pro-inflammatory microbiome in the small bowel. There’s a shift towards this family of bugs called Enterobacteriaceae, a big fancy weird name but really the headline of this family is inflammation. A little bit of Enterobacteriaceae in the gut is fine it’s normal it’s healthy it’s probably beneficial but an excessive amount can lead to this inflammatory cascade that can actually slow down your gut transit. That slowing down of the gut transit can lead to this bloom or this build up in the small bowel of SIBO and then you wind up with this vicious cycle of inflammation slowing down the gut leading to a build up, leading to more inflammation.

Number two: An excessive amount of methane production.

Excess methane made in the gut slows down gut motility. Excessive methane production, methane SIBO, methane LIMO or large intestinal methane overgrowth is a condition that I commonly treat. It can be a very stubborn bug in some patients.

Methane is a gas produced by archaea bugs so they’re not even really bacteria. The most common one is Methanobrevibacter smithii. There are a number of other bugs that produce methane but the key aspect to methane production is that it slows down that smooth muscular contractions that propels food down the digestive tract and out so excessive methane gas slows down your gut motility leading to more methane gas production. That little bug likes slow motility so intervening again we want to speed up the motility that can bring down the gas levels and get on top of that bug.

Number three: Chronic stress

You’ve probably heard so much about chronic stress. Chronic stress can lead to poor gut motility and the big point here is that the nervous system and the nerves that innervate a lot of our digestive tract, in particular the vagal nerve, function optimally in the rest and digest side of the nervous system, the parasympathetic side. So we are calm, we’re eating, we’re digesting our food we’re breaking it down, we’re absorbing nutrients.

Chronic stress something that needs to be addressed if that’s you and you have SIBO.

Number four: food poisoning

Food poisoning can lead to SIBO through the gut motility axis. Here the science is a little bit complex and we’re still teasing it out but the long and short is that these food poisoning bacteria can secrete a toxin called cytolethal descending toxin. Salmonella, shigella, e. coli, campylobacter there’s a handful of other ones too. There is an immune dysregulation in some patients, not everyone thankfully, where there is an immune misfiring leading to motility dysregulation. There is a blood test that you can do but it’s expensive. I have never ordered it before but it might be something that I do in the future. That said I’m always screening for and addressing this post-infectious presentation.

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so there you have it those are four common causes of gut motility disturbances that can lead to SIBO. In some patients there’s also things like pelvic adhesions which should be on your radar. I don’t commonly see it but it’s something that I’m aware of and I’m not ignoring.

If you found this video helpful and are looking for gut support and you live in Australia or New Zealand then consider working with us here at Byron Herbalist.

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