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Understanding SIBO and SIFO

Saturday, November 26th 2022 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

A healthy intestinal microbiome is essential for optimal immune function and wellness. However, the overgrowth of pathogenic microbes in the small intestine is linked to several health problems. Overgrowth may occur due to several factors. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), specifically, is a condition that presents with a range of detrimental gastrointestinal (GI) and non-GI-related symptoms and is linked to several comorbid conditions. But you can restore the healthy balance to your gut flora with appropriate interventions that address lifestyle factors and nutritional needs that may dramatically improve health.

SIBO and Co-Occurring Health Problems

Research suggests that there are clear links between SIBO and diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), motility disorders, chronic pancreatitis, cirrhosis, and various immunodeficiency syndromes. A 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis about SIBO examined 25 case-controlled studies with a total of 3,192 IBS patients and 3,320 controls and found that SIBO prevalence in patients with IBS was significantly increased.

Smaller studies have shown that SIBO occurs more frequently in people with active H. pylori infection and spinal cord injury with deep vein thrombosis. SIBO is also associated with pediatric obesity, papulopustular rosacea, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) at a higher rate than controls.

One study of children with obesity and SIBO found an increased risk for developing NAFLD. The study concluded that the relationship between intestinal dysbiosis and diet can influence the gut-liver axis. Another interesting conclusion was drawn that showed a lower prevalence of SIBO in patients with type 1 diabetes. The researchers suggested this may be due to the nutritional aspects of diabetes management.

SIFO and fungus

Within a healthy GI tract, bacterial and fungal organisms most heavily colonize the colon and less in the small intestine. Small intestinal fungal overgrowth (SIFO) may lead to various systemic symptoms such as migraines, fatigue, depression, bloating, and more. Intestinal dysmotility and reduced amounts of stomach acid resulting from PPI use are potential risk factors specifically for SIFO.

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