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The Top Digestive Gut Conditions Are...

Leaky Gut: Too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria can cause leaky gut — when cracks or holes develop in your intestinal lining, allowing toxins, undigested food particles, and bacteria to pass through and enter your bloodstream. This creates inflammation in the body and over time leads to autoimmune disease. Leaky gut has been linked to type 1 diabetes, IBD, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, and asthma.

IBS: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) occurs when the gut and the brain don’t communicate properly. Stress or certain foods cause the colon to spasm, so food either gets pushed through the intestines too quickly (diarrhea) or it gets stuck and you get constipated. One theory says that IBS is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine (more on that below). You feel pain and cramping, bloating, and fatigue. It’s a vicious cycle — the constant discomfort and embarrassment (IBS sufferers report a lot of gas) makes you feel even more stressed and anxious, but this stress and anxiety makes the symptoms worse. Note that IBS is different from irritable bowel disease (IBD) — a more serious disorder that causes severe inflammation in the bowel. 

A large study funded by the US government found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helped IBS sufferers control their mental stress, which eased their symptoms in the long term.

SIBO: Too much bacteria in the small intestine causes small bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO. Symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, autoimmune diseases, and nutrient malabsorption. Recent research suggests that SIBO may be responsible for nearly 80 percent of IBS cases. The small intestine connects the stomach and the large intestine (which includes the colon). Normally, muscular contractions push food through the small intestine to the colon. When these muscles don’t work properly, your intestines can’t efficiently move bacteria into the colon for elimination. That means the bacteria remains in the small intestine, upsetting the microbial balance. Low stomach acid is another possible cause of SIBO. Doctors prescribe antibiotics to clear out the excess bacteria, but studies show that herbal antimicrobials treat SIBO just as well.  

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