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Last Updated on July 31, 2020
SIBO Causes Fatigue
Do you find yourself sleep deprived or feel tired day after day? Have you been continually skipping family events, workplace functions, or lunch with friends just because you feel so weak and tired all the time? Bearing in mind the fast and busy modern-day lifestyles of people, it is quite natural to run out of steam every so often.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- 2 How does SIBO Affect Your Body
- 3 The Link between SIBO and Chronic Fatigue
- 4 How can You Treat SIBO and Lessen Chronic Fatigue?
- 5 Conclusion
However, if it is persistent, chronic fatigue, then it could indicate an underlying health problem. As a matter of fact, a hidden gut infection gradually drains your energy and causes this kind of ongoing fatigue.
To keep the bacterial overgrowth like SIBO under control, you need to take probiotics, which help in maintaining the right balance of microflora in the intestine. Before supplementing with the proper diet, let us first find out what SIBO is.
What is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
SIBO can be caused by several factors, which include:
- Medications like antibiotics, acid-blockers, and NSAIDs
- Low stomach acid
- Diets high in carbohydrates and sugar
- Abnormal motility of the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract caused by neurological conditions, scleroderma, and diabetes 2
- Scarring due to Crohn’s disease or surgery
The abnormal bacterial buildup in the small intestine is typically produced by a combination of the abovementioned factors.
If left untreated, it can result in gastrointestinal distress, rapidly becoming a whole-body issue. This is because your gut controls everything, including your mood and immune system.
How does SIBO Affect Your Body
Here we discuss some of the common ways in which SIBO causes great damage to your body (SIBO symptoms):
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Gas, bloating, diarrhea
- Constipation (not as common as diarrhea)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic illnesses like diabetes, fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, and neuromuscular disorders
- Food intolerances like lactose, fructose, casein, gluten, and histamine
- Skin rashes, rosacea
- Malabsorption of fat (indicated by stinky, pale, and bulky stools)
- Leaky gut
As expected, abnormally excessive bacteria in the gut play a significant role in your body’s energy levels. So, what is the connection between small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and chronic fatigue? Let us find out.
The Link between SIBO and Chronic Fatigue
Research has shown that SIBO is related to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and the elimination of bacterial overgrowth in the gut improves the symptoms in CFS 3. The distinguishing characteristic of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is malabsorption of nutrients.
People who are suffering from SIBO usually have to deal with Vitamin B12 deficiency. Most of the bacteria typically live in the colon and large intestine, and only a few of them are found in the small intestine. If you have SIBO, a large number of bacteria will accumulate in the small intestine and hold onto Vitamin B12, stopping its absorption.
An adequate amount of Vitamin B12 is required for the synthesis of DNA and production of red blood cells, which help in carrying oxygen all through your body, thereby helping you to stay energized. If your red blood cell count gets low due to a deficiency of Vitamin B12, you will feel fatigued and weak.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth can also cause deficiencies of other nutrients, vitamin and minerals such as Iron Deficiency, preventing the absorption of carbohydrates, proteins, and amino acids.
It is because when you are suffering from SIBO, the food nutrients are never digested or absorbed into your body’s cells. These nutrients are utilized by the bacteria in your gut to feed themselves. If you do not absorb the food you eat, it is no surprise that you will feel exhausted or sluggish all the time.
SIBO may also damage the mucosa cells found in the lining of the small intestine, causing leaky gut. When it occurs, large protein molecules can escape into your bloodstream, resulting in widespread inflammation and making your immune system more active. Some of the symptoms of a leaky gut include fatigue, food sensitivities, bloating, skin problems, and digestive issues.
SIBO can go undiagnosed for many years. If SIBO is left untreated for many years, it causes a high degree of inflammation within the body. As an immune response, your body secretes cortisol that helps in decreasing inflammation. However, if this inflammation goes unchecked for many years, the continuous secretion of cortisol can lead to hypocortisolism. Among the numerous symptoms of cortisol deficiency is fatigue.
How can You Treat SIBO and Lessen Chronic Fatigue?
By controlling the bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine, you can prevail over chronic fatigue and get back your vitality and energy. When you frequently feel exhausted, it can be difficult to assemble all your energy. However, by eradicating SIBO, you can have the strength and vigor to live your life the way you want.
Luckily, overcoming the accumulation of bacteria in your gut and fatigue is easy. You need to approach SIBO from an alternative perspective that involves finding out the reasons for bacterial overgrowth, diet modifications, and removal of imbalanced bacteria.
*Read more: The Ultimate Natural SIBO Treatment Plan
1. Starve the bacteria
Remove the foods, which contain carbohydrates, alcohol, and sugar, from your diet. Along with discarding refined carbohydrates, you should also avoid the healthy carbs, which are obtained from starchy vegetables, grains, and beans. You can have a few pieces of fruits and make sure to choose the low-carb, low-sugar varieties like raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.
2. Remove the excess bacteria with antibiotics
You may take antibiotics like Neomyacin or Xifaxan for methane-dominant and hydrogen-dominant SIBO, respectively, but only after consulting a doctor. There are some herbal medications, like Microb Clear, which are gentler than antibiotics.
3. Restore the levels of good bacteria in your intestine
Instead of Bifido- or Lacto-based probiotics, use soil-based probiotic like Primal Earth that includes spore-forming bacterial strains. It does not facilitate bacterial growth in your small intestine. It targets your colon and large intestine and promotes healthy gut balance.
4. Change your diet
There are some diet plans that are exclusively designed for helping people with SIBO. These include Elemental Diet, GAPS Diet, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and Low FODMAP Diet. Talk to an expert dietitian before going for any of these diets.
5. Increase stomach acid
If you have been diagnosed with SIBO caused by low levels of stomach acid, you may take dietary supplements like Betaine Hydrochloride that increases stomach acids. Make sure to discuss it with a doctor before taking any supplements.
When it comes to controlling SIBO and the associated chronic fatigue, prevention plays a vital role. People commonly develop small intestinal bacterial overgrowth because of a physical defect in their small intestine or an underlying medical cause. Addressing the root cause will lower the risks of reoccurrence in them.
Alongside dietary changes, lifestyle modifications also play a vital role in keeping SIBO from returning. Consuming lots of plant-based foods and staying clear of sugary and processed foods will help good bacteria to thrive. It will also keep a check on unhealthful bacteria from flourishing in the small intestine. Daily exercise also helps in regulating the digestive functions of your body.
Learn more in-depth about SIBO: Everything About SIBO – Causes, Symptoms and More