How to Naturally Clean Your Small Intestine to Heal SIBO
Have you ever heard of SIBO? It sounds like a new video game on the Internet. Actually, it’s an intestinal problem that’s been around for a long time. SIBO is an acronym that stands for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, or too much bacteria in the intestines.
Aren’t the Intestines Normally Full of Bacteria?
We often consider the intestines to be full of bacteria. Truthfully, bacteria are only found in the large intestine. Our stool consists of about 50% bacteria, and only about 15% is the “roughage” or fiber we eat in our food. The rest is water and soluble material. There are trillions of different kinds of bacteria in every bowel movement. Which is why it is so easy to think our bowels are filled with them. However, amazingly, the small intestine is clean, so clean, in fact, it’s considered “sterile.” There are more bacteria on your hands after you wash them with “anti-bacterial” soap, than there are in your small intestines – by 1000 times! Only the colon, or large bowel, is filled with bacteria.
Why Is the Small Intestine Sterile?
When we are digesting and absorbing our food, we don’t want to have to compete with bacteria. These bacteria are very small, thousands of them can fit into one of our cells, but they can grow fast. For example, E. coli bacteria can reproduce very fast. If you had one E. coli bacteria in your small intestine, fed it all the food it wants, and took away all its waste, the colony would be as big as the Earth in only 48 hours! No kidding! This is hard to compete with! The point is you digest food, break it down into component parts and as a result provide exactly what growing bacteria need.
As a result, you have to sterilize your small bowel so you can absorb the nutrients first. Then you send the waste, the stuff you don’t want, or can’t digest, into your large bowel, where the bacteria can feast on the leftovers.
How Does the Small Intestine Get So Clean?
This is such an important concept. When we eat, there are always bacteria in our food, in our mouth, in our saliva, and so forth. We can’t avoid it.
- So, we have stomach acid as a first barrier preventing bacteria from entering the intestine.
- In addition, there are enzymes that break down the proteins in our food. These enzymes also destroy the proteins of the bacteria.
- Next, our immune system is continuously monitoring the intestines, and secreting antibodies to disable and destroy bacteria.
- And, last, the small intestines are washed-out after every meal. Every millimeter is scrubbed with “anti-bacterial soap” (see below). All the food residue and bacteria are then washed down into the large bowel, or large intestines.
- At the bottom of the small intestines there is a valve, the ileocecal valve. This valve lets fluid into the large intestine at the right time. But it also prevents anything from going backwards into the small intestine from the large bowel.
With All This Cleaning, How Can SIBO Happen?
Several factors can lead to SIBO:
- The wrong kind of bacteria (bad bacteria) is in our food.
- The stomach isn’t working to make acid and enzymes.
- The small intestine doesn’t clean out after a meal.
- The immune system isn’t killing the bacteria that aren’t supposed to be there.
- The ileocecal valve doesn’t work, letting bacteria up into the small intestine.
By far, the most common reason of SIBO is eating too frequently. We have been told that we should be eating 5 small meals per day. This way, our stomach never gets empty, our sugar never drops low, and we never get overly hungry. However, eating throughout the day for our health a myth! If the stomach is always full, then food is constantly sent into the small intestines, and there is never time to clean the small intestines out.
Have you ever heard your stomach growling when you’re hungry? This is the small intestine “cleaning house.” It doesn’t happen while there is food in the intestines waiting to be absorbed. Many people think when they hear the gurgling it means they need to eat. Actually, it would be better not to eat. Instead, it is better for your health to wait an hour or so until your intestines are all clean. A better diet would be to have at least 4 hours between meals. This allows your intestines to absorb all the food and clean itself out.
What Happens When A Person Gets SIBO?
A progression of the symptoms include: 
- More bloating
- Feeling of fullness
- Diarrhea and/or constipation
- Weight loss
- Joint pain
- More bloating
People with SIBO will typically say, “Every time I eat, I feel bloated — no matter what I eat!” Some have belching, but they do not pass gas from the rectum. The other symptoms and problems are associations due to inflammation or malnutrition.
Why All the Bloating?
Bacteria digest sugar from your food to make gas. Normally, we absorb all the sugar, only giving bacteria in the colon fiber to eat. This fiber is broken-down into sugar in the colon, so the average person passes gas fourteen times per day. However, when the gas is in the small intestine, there is nowhere for it to go so we just bloat and feel horrible.
Which Bacteria Cause SIBO?
The same bacteria that normally inhabit the colon can start growing in the small intestine and produce the associated problems. These bacteria are found in the food we eat, or come up from the colon. In the colon, they don’t do any damage, but in the small intestine the bacteria can be devastating.
The type of bacteria is very important. Some bacteria will digest fats, leading to fat malabsorption (including fat-soluble vitamins) and diarrhea. Other bacteria digest carbohydrates and produce gas. Still other bacteria make toxins that can cause leaky gut or celiac disease, preventing absorption of nutrients. Almost all of them take the nutrients we need, and give back only waste products that can hurt us.
How Can I Treat SIBO?
Since you already know how and why it happens, the treatment will be obvious.