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Signs of SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)

Our bodies are consistently communicating with us—letting us know when it’s time to eat, sleep, use the bathroom and so on. But how often to you listen to your small intestine? Few people recognize this valuable communication from the gut, which typically occurs with gas or bloating.

A lot of people think gas and bloating are normal—a common reaction experienced after a meal. However, regular gas, bloating, or abdominal discomfort may actually be your small intestine trying to tell you something. And if you’re smart, you’ll listen.

What Is SIBO?

There are several mechanisms working within your small intestine that are significant in the process of safely absorbing food nutrients and discarding waste and toxins.

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when the number of bacteria in the small bowel increases or changes significantly enough to cause symptoms. Usually, it’s not one single stain of bacteria that overpopulates the small intestine, rather an overgrowth of bacteria that is normally found in the colon. In rare cases, SIBO may result in an overgrowth of normal bacteria found in the small intestine.

Various strains of bacteria found throughout the small bowel work to break down food compounds, protect against pathogens and produce several nutrients like folate and vitamin K. The sum of these various processes affects the muscular activity responsible for moving food content through the gastrointestinal system. If one of these mechanisms is disrupted by an overgrowth of bacteria, one or many of these processes may fail.

How Do I Know I Have SIBO?

SIBO tends to be under-diagnosed. This is because most people learn to live with the discomfort of regular gas and bloating, often aided by over-the-counter medications. Common symptoms of SIBO may include:

Serious cases may also result in weight loss and vitamin deficiencies.

What Causes SIBO?

SIBO is typically the result of a poor diet including excessive sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol. However, diet is not the only contributing factor for SIBO. Other causes of SIBO may include low stomach acid, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), prior bowel surgery, excessive antibiotics and diabetes.

Genova DiagnosticsIf one or a combination of symptoms occurs fairly regularly, it may warrant further investigation. You may choose to speak to your doctor or, if you’re still unsure, take a home breath test, like the Genova Lab Bacterial Overgrowth in Small Intestine Breath Test.

This home test is a non-invasive way to detect bacterial overgrowth in the small bowel. It’s also easy to do, and it can be administered in the comfort of your own home and at your convenience.

Remember, your body may be trying to tell you that there’s a problem in your gut. Take note of your symptoms and don’t delay. Chronic discomfort, excessive gas, and bloating don’t have to be a regular part of your life. Take the home test today to find out more about what’s going on in your gut.

Hidden Causes of Constipation

Toilet humor may be funny—but regular constipation is not. Constipation can greatly affect a person’s quality of life and general sense of health and well being. More importantly, constipation can take a significant toll on the body. Here’s a list of surprising triggers for constipation:


Prescription Painkillers

Painkillers are a common medication prescribed by physicians after surgery or in the case of chronic pain. However, several common painkillers, especially narcotic-based medications, cause constipation. If prescribed narcotics or similar painkillers, it would be wise to also take a mild laxative to ensure regularity.

Chocolate and Dairy

Some of our favorite foods can also cause constipation. Chocolate and dairy products have both been linked to constipation. Sadly, there have been studies linking chocolate to constipation, mostly among individuals who already suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Diets containing too much dairy including cheese, yogurt, eggs, and milk have also been linked to constipation. Limiting chocolate and dairy and incorporating more fiber into your diet is a good place to start if you suspect you may be constipated.

Vitamins and Over-the-Counter Medications

Sometimes we head to the drug store when we’re not feeling well. But hidden in those over-the-counter remedies can be causes of constipation.

Vitamins, for example, are great to take as daily supplements, however, too much of a good thing is usually not so good. Excessive iron and calcium may cause constipation.

The overuse of laxatives can actually cause serious constipation issues as well. As is the case with most drugs, the body will eventually become dependent on laxatives to function and won’t regulate on its own.

Antacids are another, seemingly harmless over-the-counter pill that can actually cause constipation. Antacids containing calcium or aluminum are usually suspect. Fortunately there are options available without these two ingredients. You could also cut back on foods that cause indigestion and heartburn.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) include the chronic conditions of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both of these conditions can manifest symptoms of constipation, resulting from various points of inflammation in either the small intestine or the rectum.

People with advanced diabetes may experience constipation whether they’re aware they have diabetes or not. Diabetes may cause significant damage to the nerve endings that are responsible for digesting food. Constipation may result in these cases.

Depression affects millions of people, and it can cause constipation in two distinct ways. Depression causes the body’s systems to slow down, which can affect the speed of the bowels. Moreover, antidepressants containing serotonin reuptake inhibitors (like Prozac) have also been linked to constipation. Fortunately, there are new medications available that do not result in bowel obstruction.

Finally, hypothyroidism results in a slowing of the metabolic processes, which leads to constipation and issues in the gut.

Fortunately there are ways to combat constipation safely and effectively without resorting to major lifestyle changes. Taking a natural laxative can increase regularity and ultimately improve the health of your gut.

A OK Natural Laxatives also assists in removing harmful toxins and contains cleansing agents and natural herbs. Don’t wait until you can’t go to do something about constipation. Keep a natural laxative handy and take it at the first signs of irregularity to ensure a happy and health gut.

Inflammation and Colon Health

Inflammation and Colon Health is very Important.

Dr. Ron Jahner

Dr. Ron Jahner

One of the key factors in colon health is the onset and perpetuation of inflammation in

the digestive tract. The body’s digestive system is a primary target organ for all types of stress. This is primarily because the moment the body perceives high stress levels, it shuts down digestion and healing processes to conserve resources for dealing with those stresses. This is the “Grizzly Bear” effect I speak about so often.

Additional insults to the digestive system occur with intake of excess dairy, simple carbohydrates and fatty foods. Most so-called “junk” foods are very stressful to the system and contribute little nutritionally. Even worse, one of the most significant problems with processed foods is the almost universal lack of natural fiber. Fiber is considered an “inert” ingredient in food and, because it adds a lot of weight (consider the difference in density of white bread and heavy-fiber traditional rye or oat bread!),   food is routinely stripped of fiber to make it easier to ship and process.

Lack of fiber, in turn, contributes to slow bowel motility. Foods stay in the gut far too long and begin to ferment and rot. This results in gas, indigestion and chronic constipation. Many physicians have never been trained in basic nutrition concepts and are unaware how dangerous to long-term health chronic constipation can be. In fact, it is not unusual to hear doctors tell their patients that “one or two bowel movements a week is probably just normal for you”! It’s not normal to have less than at least one or two bowel movements daily!!

This epidemic of chronic constipation leads to any number of health issues including, chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and multiple indigestion and nutrient absorption issues.

It is especially critical to have a bowel movement shortly after awakening in the morning. Healthier people have 2 or 3 daily, often after meals. If constipation is an issue for you, what can you do?

What to do for Constipation?

First of all, take a hard look at your hydration. Adequate intake of fluids, especially plain, pure water, is vital to digestive health. I recommend a quart or liter of water daily for each 50 pounds of body weight. And that is water, not coffee, tea or juices (other than fresh vegetable juice with apple or pineapple). Drink adequate amounts of water is the first line of defense in repairing and preventing inflammation and deterioration of the digestive tract due to constipation.

If your digestive tract is already inflamed, consider a “crock-pot” diet. Soft cooked foods and fresh vegetable juices for 3-6 weeks to allow your digestive tract to heal with a minimum of irritation. Be careful with salads and other rough, raw foods until you heal.

The same for any extra fiber or bowel supplements you take. There are many excellent ones available. I prefer ones that emphasize soluble fiber. Psyllium works really well for constipation and it is inexpensive but it can also be harsh, like the raw salad mentioned above. Oat fiber, okra, slippery elm bark are great fibers which are more soothing. In fact, adding a few large spoonfuls or half a cup of any of these in the soups above is an excellent way to increase fiber without irritation.

Magnesium is almost universally deficient in people with chronic illness. The best source is dark green veggies. Supplements can also be useful because they help relax the nervous system and function as a laxative as you go to higher doses. Take a dose at breakfast and a double dose in the evening to encourage that morning bowel movement.

A very useful clinical indicator of bowel toxicity is the Urinary Indican Test. In my experience, the Indican urine test is an excellent introductory or screening test for chronic bowel issues. It can also be useful to monitor ongoing bowel toxicity. Indican is produced by bowel byproducts, particularly toxins such as excess lectins from incomplete protein digestion, showing up in the kidneys. In other words, it means your bowel is toxic enough that the kidneys have to filter digestive tract toxins instead of the bowel excreting them. Also, note that tryptophan, your relaxation amino acid, is the key protein not being handled properly. Another reason excess stress is such a vital factor in digestive tract health.

And, always, always, always take appropriate probiotics. Even several times daily in severe or chronic cases of indigestion and constipation.

Unresolved inflammation and digestive tract symptoms are at the heart of many, if not most chronic health issues. Regular bowel habits and digestive tract supplementation goes a long way to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

In good health,
Ron Jahner

High Fiber Foods

I am sharing this post as I have never quite understood the importance of fiber, until now.  And perhaps after you read this….so will you.
Fiber is no joke…despite its popular association with trips to the restroom. High_Fiber_Image

The benefits of an efficient bowel aside, a high-fiber diet can also reduce the risk of stroke,  heart disease, & hypertension. I have found that by taking Garden of Life raw organic fiber, it has regulated my bowel function, helped to maintain my blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol levels (which were in the normal range, thank goodness) ……But, what I love the most about this product, besides getting my fiber in, is that it has probiotics and Omega-3 fatty acids too.

Fiber consumption is currently at an all-time low, with less than 3% of Americans meeting the recommended intake.

Why do we need Fiber?

Fiber is something the body needs but never actually digests. It remains more or less the same from plate to toilet. It comes in two varieties, soluble & insoluble, and most plant-based foods contain a mixture of the two. Soluble fiber turns to gel in the stomach & slows digestion, which helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, remains unchanged all the way to the colon, making waste heavier & softer so it can shimmy through the intestines more easily. Regardless of these differences, neither type of fiber is ever absorbed into the body.

A product that I can recommend if you do not get in enough fiber is Super Seed 600g Powder made by Garden of Life. It relieves constipation, promotes beneficial flora in the intestines and was formulated by Jordan Ruben.
Need I say more!!

Skipping out on a daily dose of fiber often leads to constipation, which can make going to the bathroom painful and very uncomfortable.  Eating too little fiber can make it tough to control blood sugar & appetite because fiber regulates the speed of digestion and contributes to feeling full.  Overdoing it with fiber can move food through the intestines too quickly, which means fewer minerals get absorbed from food. This can result in bloating, gas & cramping, especially when fiber intake is considerably increased overnight.

Before I started taking my Garden of Life Fiber products, I used to suffer with constipation. I used A OK.
A OK is a natural laxative which is safe & effective. It has Aloe-Vera, Gotu-kola which is a herb that promotes healing and Lactobacillus probiotic.

How much should we take?
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men under 50 years eat about 38 grams of fiber each day and women consume 25 grams.
Adults over 50 years require less fiber (30 grams for dudes and 21 grams for ladies) due to decreased food consumption.

The Best High-Fiber Foods
The amount of fiber in these foods can vary slightly between the raw and cooked versions.
1. Split Peas
Fiber: 16.3 grams per cup, cooked.
 2. Lentils
Fiber: 15.6 grams per cup, cooked.
3. Black Beans
Fiber: 15 grams per cup, cooked.
4. Lima Beans
Fiber: 13.2 grams per cup, cooked.
5. Artichokes
Fiber: 10.3 grams per medium vegetable, cooked.
6. Peas
Fiber: 8.8 grams per cup, cooked.
7. Broccoli
Fiber: 5.1 grams per cup, boiled.
8. Brussels Sprouts
Fiber: 4.1 grams per cup, boiled.
9. Raspberries
Fiber: 8 grams per cup, raw.
10. Blackberries
Fiber: 7.6 grams per cup, raw.
11. Avocado
Fiber: 6.7 grams per half, raw.
12. Pear
Fiber: 5.5 grams per medium fruit, raw.
13. Oatmeal
Fiber: 4 grams per cup, cooked.
14. Bran Flakes
Fiber: 7 grams per cup, raw.
15. Whole-Wheat Pasta
Fiber: 6.3 grams per cup, cooked.
16. Pearled barley
Fiber: 6 grams per cup, cooked.
17. Flaxseed
Fiber: 2 Tablespoon servings contain 3.8 grams & a dose of omega-3 fatty acids
18. Chia Seeds
Fiber: 5.5 grams per tablespoon

Now you know the scoop on Fiber…and just how much to eat!

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