Why so many gut problems?
The simple answer is, “location, location, location.”
When things find themselves getting into places they really don’t belong we see changes that we don’t like.
Sort of like the idea of using the right tool for the right job, having the right materials for the right job is just as important in the body as it is anywhere else.
Back to the gut.
When we eat, the process of digestion starts in our mouth as we begin to break down food into smaller pieces and it passes to our stomach where it breaks it down even further.
When food leaves the stomach it enters the small intestine where it continues the breakdown process started in the stomach and if needed is enhanced by enzymes made in the pancreas.
As the digestion process unfolds some water and alcohol is absorbed in the stomach, but not much else as the rest of the nutrition from our food will be absorbed at some point in the small intestine as it continues to be digested and broken down into smaller and smaller pieces.
Eventually the material in the small intestine will end up entering the large intestine to be processed and eliminate what’s not needed or can not be digested as waste.
In the large intestine there are trillions of bacteria that feed on what’s left of the food material.
Different types of bacteria eat different materials and as part of their digestive process they release nutrients that we can absorb and use in our body.
Bacteria produce vitamins, fatty acids, and can actually mediate how much sugar from our diet is released into our body.
Here’s where it’s very important for our digestive players to stay in their respective lanes.
Food and nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine and should not get into the large intestine and bacteria in the large intestine should not back up into the small intestine.
When food gets into the large intestine from the small intestine and bacteria from the large intestine gets into the small intestine we have issues.
S.I.B.O. Stands for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth.
Dysbiosis is the term used for an imbalance in the different types of bacteria in our large intestine.
S.I.B.O. and dysbiosis individually or in any combination cause gut issues like:
Intermittent Constipation or Diarrhea
Mood and Temperament Changes
Depression and Anxiety Symptoms
Food Sensitivities and Allergies
Energy Swings and Chronic Fatigue
Chronic Pain Flare Ups
Poor Digestive Health
And much more.
The question becomes, “how does food get into the large intestine and bacteria into the small intestine in the first place?”
Here are the three main culprits:
Fiber: Humans don’t digest fiber or the plant material that makes up their cell walls, cellulose well, if at all.
This undigested food material passes through to the large intestine.
Starches: Partially digested starch and starches like “resistant starch” make their way into the large intestine.
Chemicals: Preservatives, emulsifiers, and other chemicals in processed foods prevent nutrients from being broken down in the small intestine and end up in the large intestine.
When food or partially digested food pieces do not get broken down and absorbed in the small intestine they end up in the large intestine and the bacteria there get extra materials to eat and process.
This extra food for the bacteria that shouldn’t be there, or at least not very often, causes the bacteria to proliferate like crazy.
As the number of bacteria from different strains or family lines of bacteria grow (dysbiosis) they can fight each other for the abundance of food, send off an imbalance of byproducts into our system, and over grow into the small intestine (S.I.B.O.), causing absorption and signaling problems there as well.
Too much bacteria and a bacterial population out of natural balance to the body can cause excess bacterial related toxicity and reactions in the body.
The natural fighting of the bacteria as well as the body’s innate process of eliminating excess bacteria via the immune system can both result in a high level of biotoxins from the aftermath that significantly impact our systems and health.
What we eliminate as waste at the end of our digestive process is almost entirely bacteria, dead and alive, and undigested food materials.
Step one for calming an irritated gut with dysbiosis and S.I.B.O is to stop eating the offending materials that get into the large intestine when they shouldn’t or prevent full breakdown of foods that do the same.
The lowest residue foods are foods that break down the most efficiently and easiest resulting in very little, if any, residual material entering into the large intestine.
Low residue foods include natural, whole, fats and protein.
This is a very broad stroke attempt to explain a very intricate process and I will be elaborating more on each step, concept and downstream effects in posts and programs to come.
We can do better!