Once the terrain is established to promote the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, as discussed in the “What Causes SIBO?” series, along with a diet that can promote the overgrowth of bacteria, SIBO can result in, or has an association with, many different health conditions.
Some of the most common things to look out for are the obvious irritable bowel symptoms, such as bloating, burping, stomach cramps, constipation, heartburn, nausea, flatulence and stomach pain! This really starts to sound like a Peptobismol commercial, but unfortunately Pepto will not solve your SIBO woes.
At this point we should have a little anatomy lesson.
The small intestine is made up of three parts that have fairly distinct functions, from what we know. The main function of the small intestine is to absorb all of the nutrients that we need to survive … so yes it is pretty critical. The similarities in each part of the small intestine is the very rough mucousal lining which is made up of little villi (fingers) and microvilli, to dramatically increase the surface area of the small intestine, helping us to digest and absorb our food.
The small intestine is also made up of millions of immune cells that are like little surveillance sites embedded in its lining. The immune cells are critical to the function of our entire immune system, which is why SIBO is associated with so many systemic conditions, or diseases that can affect our entire body.
It is well known that roughly 70 to 80% of our immune system is located in the digestive system, including the intestinal lining, liver and spleen. Since most health related conditions involve some form of immune imbalance, it is critical to work on digestive health as a central focus in correcting most, if not all chronic health conditions. This is because chronic inflammation has been strongly associated with heart disease, mental health conditions and cancer, where a dysfunctional immune system is known to cause autoimmune diseases and atopic conditions like asthma, eczema and allergies.