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Real Life Wellness-Control your Bugs before they control You!

By Dr. Bill Hemmer
I promised a few weeks ago I would get back to discussing digestive health. Every part of our health is affected by our digestive tract. You truly are as healthy as what you can digest and absorb. I see it every day in my practice. If you can digest properly, you have great energy and a strong immune system. If you don’t, your health suffers.

So, this week, I will describe a common digestive problem many of us face. It’s called Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO for short). As the name implies, too many bacteria grow in the wrong area of the small intestine which causes improper digestion and absorption. 

Symptoms of SIBO include bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and an uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating. The most common symptom I hear is bloating and feeling of fullness even when they drink water! Some people even start to bloat and feel full without eating or drinking anything. 

We all have billions of bacteria growing in our digestive tract. These bacteria oversee thousands of positive effects on our health. They help us digest our food, produce vitamins, create neurotransmitters to control our mood and keep our Immune system sharp. But different types of bacteria need to live in different parts of our digestive tract and when they spill over into other areas, problems occur.

SIBO is a prime example of this. Specific types of bacteria belong in the small intestine and different bacteria belong in the large intestine. But sometimes the valve between the small and large intestine doesn’t open and close properly. When the valve remains open too long, large intestine bacteria can migrate into the small intestine. This isn’t good.

The best way to correct this problem is to get back to the basics of eating real food. Most Processed foods don’t contain soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is important because it is the food of your good bacteria found in your small and large intestine. Soluble fiber is also important to keeping the valve between the small and large intestine functioning correctly. 

Soluble fiber is found in whole fruits and vegetables. It’s called soluble because it can absorb toxins that are dumped into your small and large intestine by your bile coming from your gallbladder. If you don’t have enough soluble fiber in your diet, then you can’t absorb toxins and those toxins get re-absorbed into your body. 

SIBO is also common in people who have been put on antibiotic therapy. Even if you are only put on an antibiotic for a short period of time, those drugs kill both good and bad bacteria and it gives the bad bacteria in your digestive tract an opportunity to take over areas of the small and large intestine it shouldn’t be in. 

So, the bottom line is, if you think you have SIBO, eat real food high in soluble fiber for a week or so and if that doesn’t help then you should do something about it. I use a combination of specific herbs and probiotics to weed then feed your digestive tract to get the balance back.

The only way to get and stay healthy is if your digestive tract allows you to digest and absorb the food you eat. Never take that for granted. Next week, I will discuss the other end of the digestive spectrum, having your gut absorbing too much, don’t miss it!

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