Note: The text below is a transcription from the video above. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
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What Causes SIBO? I do so much SIBO, I didn’t even think that this was a mystery. But it is. It seems to be a mystery among the patients that I’ve been treating. And then looking online, there’s a lot of interesting suppositions as to what causes small intestinal bacterial growth.
It’s not rocket science. It’s a lot of things in some ways, and in other ways, it’s not. Basically small intestinal bacterial growth is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, frankly, first and primarily in your large intestine. And then it’s caused by a breakdown of your digestive process. To digest, you have to have proper stomach function. There’s a lot of digestive juices in there. Their primary job is to break down your proteins in the stomach, cause your food to become alkaline instead of acidic. Your intestines is alkaline, doesn’t really like acidic stuff going into it.
And the stomach acids are supposed to sterilize your food. Sterilize. Everybody’s got candida, everybody’s got yeast, everybody’s got fungus, everybody’s got h pylori. When I say everybody, 90, 95% of the human race has h pylori. Everybody’s got candida, everybody’s got fungi. But they don’t express themselves because the physiology of our body neutralizes. And this is where it starts, by you having enough hydrochloric acid in your stomach and sterilizing this food and keeping the stomach sterile.
If that doesn’t happen, it sets off a whole lot of bad stuff. It tells your gallbladder not to work right. Your gallbladder does way, way, way, way more than just digest fat. It has lot do with your immune system, has a lot to do with dampening inflammation. It has antimicrobials in there. And then there’s signals that are sent out to your pancreas. Now your pancreas doesn’t work, as far as digestion goes. And the next thing you know, you have undigested food particles sitting there. All of that’s causing a leaky gut. All of that’s causing inflammation. All of that’s causing food sensitivities.
For those of you who believe in food sensitivities, I had a patient yesterday who says they don’t exist. That was interesting. They exist, and they are a big problem because when you eat those foods, they create inflammatory processes. That causes something called cortisol to go up. That causes blood sugar to go out into your system. All of that causes stress on the system. And all of those things cause leaky gut.
But what they cause before they cause leaky gut is they cause gas, bloating, and distension. That’s what they cause. When you start getting the bloating, and the bloating is after you eat starches or fibers or sugars, you have now made a lot of bad bacteria because of the improper environment in your intestines. And there’s a lot of theories on bacteria, and this bacteria strain, and that bacteria. It’s not about all that. It’s about imbalance between good and bad bacteria.
And so what happens is your good bacteria start turning bad, you start making more bad bacteria in your colon, in your large intestines. You now start getting bloating and distension. And there’s a valve between your large intestines and your small intestines. And the food’s moving this way, goes through the valve, goes in here, sits here. And now you start getting gas, and you start getting bloating. That opens the valve in between, and now these bad bacteria that everything’s supposed to be moving this way, small intestines, valve, large intestines toilet, everything’s supposed to be moving into the toilet. Once you start getting the gas, it opens that valve, and now those little, bad bacteria start crawling up your small intestine.
And they can crawl literally all the way back up to your stomach. How large is your large intestines? It’s 24 feet on average, something like that. So it crawls all the way back up there, screws up your gallbladder, screws up your pancreas, screws up your stomach. This is the very thing that caused [inaudible 00:04:43]. Now you have this vicious cycle of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
So the question really is, what caused small intestinal bacterial overgrowth? Was it that, or was it what caused that whole process to begin, what caused the stomach to stop digesting? And that’s really where people, I think, miss out on treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Not to mention any names, but we have colleagues online that have their small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, supplements and diet and so on and so forth. And a lot of you may have tried them, and a lot of you may have said, “Ooh, I felt good.” And then two weeks, two, three, four, five, six, seven weeks later, it came back. All right. And it came back because you didn’t really get to the ultimate cause. And the ultimate cause is whatever caused the stomach to shut down or whatever slowed down the stomach, the pancreas, and the gallbladder, that’s the ultimate cause. Number one cause of that is chronic stress. And there’s a lot of SIBO in this country because I treat a lot of it.
I treat a lot of Hashimoto’s patients. Just a interesting fact. 70% of Hashimoto’s patients are deemed to have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. So what’s one of the causes? One the causes is hypothyroidism. One of the causes is the hypothyroid aspect of Hashimoto’s because it slows down your stomach, and it slows down your gallbladder and your pancreas from doing their job and digesting your food and sterilizing your food and alkalizing your food. And then that sets off all these mechanisms that ultimately create the small intestine bacterial overgrowth. That’s the number two cause: hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, hypothyroidism. We now know that most hypothyroid is actually Hashimoto’s. Number one cause is stress.
The number one cause in this country, by far, is stress. Why is that? It’s because stress is a primal mechanism. The stress response is in our brainstem. Lot of people call that a reptile brain, or our old brain. And it’s just the basic survival mechanism. You look around, you see something that that’s dangerous, and you go into fight-flight. Stress is fight-flight. Stress puts you in fight-flight. And then it gets you in a physiological situation of where you’re putting out adrenaline, you’re putting out something called aldosterone, so your bronchials are dilating. So you got to get enough oxygen in, you have to get enough blood from your gut all the way up to here. Adrenaline’s pumping you up, and now you’re ready to fight or flee.
Life today is pretty stressful apparently, at least according to my patient population. And there’s very few of my patients ever come in here without some sort of anxiety. Sometimes it reaches panic attacks. Emotional traumas. It blows me away, the amount of emotional trauma that people go through today. And then just society and the speeding up of society, the whole thing, the cell phones, the whole thing. It’s all real. It’s real.
And it’s killing us. It’s actually really wearing us down at the very least. Maybe it’s not killing us. Maybe better if it killed us. Otherwise, we actually just slowly get worse. We slowly deteriorate, was the word I was looking for. So basically what happens is, the stress response puts you in fight-flight. And it doesn’t put you in full bore flight-fight like, “Oh my God, there’s the bear. I got to run, or I got to fight.” Let’s say that’s a 10 or a 12. So it puts you in a three or a four or a five or a six or a seven. And so when you go into fight-flight, and you’re running from the bear, and you’re at full 10, it shuts down your digestive system, and it shuts down your urinary bladder.
Why? Nature seems to know you don’t need to be peeing or pooping or sitting at the dinner table eating while you’re running from the bear or fighting the bear, whichever choice you make. So it shuts it down. But when you’re at a four, it still shuts it down, but it only shuts it down at a four. But then maybe that paralyzes your stomach, so the digestive juices can’t be produced properly. It definitely slows your gallbladder down. The number one cause of gallbladder out is stress, and the number two cause is thyroid. And then the number three cause of shutting your stomach down to SIBO, after all of that has been done. So that’s really what caused it. Really in the end, I think the correct answer to that question is chronic stress. Secondarily, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, or if there is still such thing as hypothyroidism, then hypothyroidism.
And then the third most common thing is once you’ve done all of that, and once all that has occurred, and once all of that has had its effects and you develop small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, then that actually perpetuates upon itself by crawling the way back up there, creating this vicious cycle. And then that perpetuates itself as far as SIBO goes.
So to me, that’s the physiology of SIBO. To me, that’s the physiology. And it’s a big reason why a lot of you out there will do, “I did the FODMAP diet, and I felt better. But do I have to go on that for the rest of my life?” Yeah, if you don’t fix any of that or stuff. And then you’re going to develop new food sensitivities to the FODMAPS. And so then you have food sensitivities to the FODMAPS that you’re eating because you haven’t fixed the broken-down digestive system that’s causing the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. So you have this whole mess going on.
And so that’s part of the issue. I have a chart here called The Brain-Gut, Gut-Brain Axis where the brain screws up the gut, and then the gut gets leaky gut, and then things leak out, and then they all go back up the brain. But essentially, that same mechanism is really what causes SIBO. So I think that pretty well covers it. There’s a lot of nuances to getting that better. There’s certain things that you have to do at the same time and so on and so forth. But for many of you watching this, if you’ve tried a lot of those things that work, you might be going, “Oh, well, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know it had anything to do with my stomach,” or “I didn’t know it had anything to do with my stress.”
And I have had people that took Xanax, and “my SIBO seemed to get better” because it calmed down their digestive system, and it wasn’t bad enough yet. And so it self-corrected, and their SIBO was able to resolve. But they were in the early stages, and they were mild cases. But nevertheless, it gives you the illustration of how much dampening a stress response can actually help your SIBO. In most cases, it’s not going to completely get rid of it like that. But if you’re not treating that while you’re treating the other things, it’s not going away. So anyway, that’s what causes SIBO. That’s he mechanics of it. That’s how we address it. And it’s very important for us to address it because a huge part of my practice is Hashimoto’s, and I just stated 70% of them have SIBO. I can attest to that. At least 70% of them have SIBO. And if you don’t get that under control, it’s a problem. So that is my description of what I have come to embrace as the cause of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or the causes of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.