Weight loss is a scary problem for people diagnosed with having IBS or SIBO. In this article, we discuss the most common reasons behind this weight loss.
Let’s face it, Weight loss and malnutrition is never a good sign for people intestinal problems. For those with SIBO and IBS it is especially problematic. There are many reasons for weight loss and these include;
- Severe Depression
- Reaction to a drug
- Celiac Disease
- Cardiovascular and Heart Issues
- Malabsorption Syndromes
- Gallbladder infections
- Adrenal inadequacy
One area worth investigating when the issue of weight loss arises with SIBO is fat malabsorption. Fat malabsorption can be a persisting issue that requires attention.
How Can SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) Cause Losing Weight and Malabsorption
An overgrowth of bacteria (SIBO) will compromise the digestion process leading to inability to absorb nutrients. When someone struggles with SIBO/IBS, various macronutrients are poorly absorbed. These include Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.
- Carbohydrates: SIBO often damages the Brush Border enzymes responsible for the absorption of carbohydrate absorption. Thats one problem, the other problem pertaining to weight loss and SIBO is that if you are following a Low FOMAP diet you are probably avoiding most carbohydrates because they make you bloated and feel sick. Since carbohydrates are a major source of energy, a carbohydrate deficiency causes weight loss.
- Protein: SIBO-often contributes to or causes low stomach acid. Stomach acid is needed for proper breakdown of proteins and fats. This is one of the reasons why supplementing with a quality HCL and pepsin supplement is so important if you have SIBO. Poor absorption of proteins leads to weight loss.
- Fat: With SIBO, the bacteria deconjugate the bile. This leads to the formation of free bile acids. This free bile acids damage the intestinal lining, and impairs fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D and E. Fat malabsorption produces visible signs, including oily, smelly, and floating stools. Health effects include weight loss and fatigue.
- Whats also interesting about this is that mucosal lining is one of the primary sites for the production of the enzyme called DAO or Diamine Oxidase. DAO enzymes are specialized enzymes that break down foods that are high in histamine. If you are noticing problems with more and more food sensitivities, you could also be developing histamine intolerance.
For more info on the vicious cycle of nutritional deficiencies related to SIBO, I recommend you watch this video
Reasons for Weight loss and SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) That You Should Know About.
- Common symptoms for people with SIBO include acid reflux, nausea or feeling full even when you’re on an empty stomach. This sensation make it difficult to have an interest in eating.
- SIBO Diets such as Elemental, Low FODMAP and AIP restricts nutrition and can cause deficiency long term. When you’re on a diet that is restrictive, you begin to under eat. Part of this is psychological- fear that food is making you sick.
Here’s How Chronic Weight loss, Malnutrition and Malabsorption Makes SIBO Recovery a Difficult Task
- Malnutrition and malabsorption leads to a chronic stress response in the body leading to an increase in the cortisol level. Thyroid hormone activation is now blunted due to increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone meaning that it breaks down protein and muscle. This in turn causes weight gain.
- Malnutrition and malabsorption impair gut motility. SIBO is a gut motility disorder. If motility is compromised, the small intestine becomes the perfect breeding ground for the overgrowth of bacteria.
- Malnutrition and malabsorption affects the Adrenal Glands aka Fight or Flight system. When the Adrenals become stressed and fatigued, they are not capable of producing sufficient amounts of cortisol to offset the inflammation caused by SIBO. This in turn causes a massive inflammatory reaction within the body.
- In the initial stages of malnutrition and malabsorption, excess cortisol is released. Excess cortisol weakens the intestinal barrier leading to leaky gut. In the later states, Chronic stress from overly restrictive diets, low calorie diets, weight loss and insufficient calories take a toll on the gut microbiome. Once the gut microbiome goes, you develop and overgrowth in the large intestines as well as an overgrowth of yeast.
- Malnutrition and malabsorption often leads to insufficient calories available to the body. When insufficient calories are available to the body, we experience Thyroid problems, Sex hormones imbalances.
To heal from SIBO, we need to stop looking at food as the enemy. We need to have a more appropriate response to food, we need to improve oral/mucosal tolerance. This needs to be accomplished through diet, nutrition and personalized supplementation.
The Importance of Secretory IgA and SIBO
We have an antibody in the mucous layer of the gut lining that shields us from toxins and pathogenic microorganisms. It is known as secretory IgA and is essential in preventing bacteria overgrowth in the small intestine. When IgA is in low supply, generally speaking, you will be at an increased risk of food sensitivities, inflammatory bowel disease, IBS symptoms, leaky gut and infections.
Correcting your SIgA levels is one of the most important things you can do to improve the health of your gut.
How Can I Fix these Malabsorption and SIBO Weight Loss?
First be aware and on the lookout for some of the symptoms that indicate a potential malabsorption issue. While these symptoms tend to be more consistent with long term chronic malabsorption and malnutrition, you should be on the look out for these three classic text book symptoms.
- Undigested food
- White mucous in your stool
- Stools that float and are difficult to flush
While these are classic “text book” symptoms many people have malabsorption without these classic symptoms. The first step to finding out the reason for your weight loss is to rule of the absorption issues.
If you want to find to find out if you suffer with a malabsorption problem, one of the best ways is through a functional stool test like the new GI MAP.
But thats not all this test can evaluate, this test also looks at the different kinds of good bacteria, as well as disease causing bacteria. If you’re struggling with weight loss, diarrhea, gas, belching, abdominal pain, this test can provide information that a typical stool test performed in most hospitals and doctors office would miss.
Searching for More Answers?
Failure to address malabsorption and nutritional deficiencies when you have SIBO/IBS will lead to a relapse. To understand it better, here’s a video which explains more about the deficiencies of vitamins and minerals you should be aware of.
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