By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Do you know why some people develop autoimmune disease? There are a number of risk factors: genetic predisposition, leaky gut, diet, stress, infections and environmental chemicals. The health of your gut lining and the composition of your gut bugs are significant contributors. Having unbalanced gut bugs or having an abnormally high number of microbes can create a leaky gut and a range of health problems even if you have a very healthy diet.
Dysbiosis (unbalanced gut bugs) and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) are common initiators of an autoimmune disease, or a flare up of an existing condition. SIBO is defined as an increased number and/or abnormal types of bacteria in the small intestine. The condition encompasses yeast overgrowth such as Candida too. That’s particularly common in people who have used antibiotics in the past.
You are not supposed to have a lot of bacteria in your small intestine. This part of your intestine is designed for nutrient digestion and absorption. Most of the bugs in your gut are supposed to live in your colon (large intestine). How does the bacteria end up in your small intestine? It can either travel upwards from your colon, or downwards from your mouth. The far more common scenario is where the bugs travel up from your large intestine. Having too much bacteria here can make you feel bloated and it can cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as abdominal cramps, gas, diarrhoea or constipation. In fact, most people with irritable bowel syndrome actually have SIBO.
The lining of your small intestine is very thin and fragile. It can easily be compromised. The excess microbes in the small intestine of someone living with SIBO cause inflammatory damage to the lining of the gut. The damaged, leaky gut now absorbs intestinal waste into the blood. Waste products get into your bloodstream and travel straight to your liver. It’s not surprising to learn that SIBO is a strong contributing factor to liver inflammation and fatty liver. Glutamine is an amino acid that helps to soothe and repair a leaky gut and is very important for anyone with gut bug imbalances or an autoimmune condition.