Back to

Main Causes of SIBO

The causes of SIBO are quite complex and there are many risk factors that may accumulate over the years to trigger this condition. Two main factors that play a role in SIBO are your MMC, also known as the migrating motor complex, and your stomach acid levels.

1. The Malfunction Of Your Migrating Motor Complex (MMR)
The migrating motor complex is a form of peristalsis in small intestines. It's purpose is to clear the small intestines of bacteria and left over food. It functions when you are fasting and sleeping.  After you eat it's the “housekeeping wave” that clears the upper digestive tract of cellular debris.

A number of things cause your MMC to malfunction including diabetes, hypothyroid, pharmaceutical drugs such as opiode pain killers, and even food poisoning from a bacteria. Car accidents, surgery, abnormal anatomy, adhesions to small intestines can also prevent the normal flow movement of bacteria through the small intestines.
According to Dr. Allison Seibecker's research and on-going practice, the most common cause for the slowing of your MMC are opiates. A slow MMS allows for a build up of bacteria to grow in the small intestines.

The second cause for a sluggish MMC is pathogenic bacteria that secrete CDT toxin. A portion of this toxin looks like a protein on the nerve cells of the MMC. Through molecular mimicry an autoimmune reaction occurs as your immune system is triggered to fight against the nerve cells of your migrating motor complex.

Food poisoning and bacterial gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu, can create fertile grounds for SIBO, or “post infectious IBS.” If you can recall a time you had a bad stomach bug and your digestion has never been the same, you may be experiencing SIBO.
2. Inadequate Gastric Acid Secretion
Maintaining an acidic environment in your stomach is your #1 prevention system against bacterial infections and conditions like SIBO. Low stomach acid causes bacteria and fungus to grow in the upper portion of the digestive system and in turn Candida, Clostridia, H.pylori, and other parasites in the stomach secrete toxins that can further stunt stomach acid secretion as a survival mechanism.
Today, an estimate 90% of Americans produce too LITTLE stomach acid! The condition is called Hyprochlorhydria.
Stomach acid with a pH ranging from 0.8 - 3.0 plays a key role in sterilizing the food you killing pathogenic opportunistic pathogens like Helicobacter pylori, Campylobacterpylori, Enterobacteria, Candida yeast, Salmonella, E.coli., and Streptococci.  An overgrowth of these species can cause the above mentioned SIBO symptoms while also contributing to the development of stomach cancer, ulcers, and gastritis.

 Adequate gastric acid secretion helps to keep their numbers in check preventing their proliferation in the the stomach and gut lining.

A proper acidic environment in the stomach also activates the release of bile and enzymes that continue to kill and prevent bacteria from inhabiting the small intestines. If you have had your gall bladder removed you may be at risk for developing SIBO.

If you have a history using proton pump inhibitors, stomach acid blocking medications
that prevent the production of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), you are also at risk of developing SIBO.

To learn if you have low stomach acid and how to heal this issue continue on to this previous article: 10 Ways To Heal Low Stomach Acid
Contributing Causes:

- Poor MMS function
- Low stomach acid and the use of proton pump inhibitors
- Alcohol consumption
- Multiple courses of antibiotics
- Oral contraceptive pills 
- Poor diet consisting of processed foods, sugar and overconsumption of starchy carbohydrates
- Parasite infections
Have more questions? Submit a request


Please sign in to leave a comment.