Your small intestine normally contains a minimal amount of bacteria. When a health condition like low stomach acid or lack of enzymes results in large numbers of bacteria, you have small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). You may not have any symptoms from SIBO, but if you do, you’ll experience abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
SIBO interferes with the digestion and absorption of nutrients. As a result, you may have unexplained or unwanted weight loss. You’ll also develop deficiencies in essential nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and protein.
More than five pounds of good and bad bacteria (the microbiome) thrive in your large intestine. Bad bacteria release toxins that cause inflammation and lead to health problems throughout your body.
The good bacteria perform countless vital jobs. They digest and produce nutrients, keep your immune system strong, and synthesize substances that promote intestinal health.
The amount and type of bacteria in your gut also affects your metabolism and influences the way your body stores fat. The microbiome regulates how your body responds to hormones that make you feel full and hungry. As a result, gut bacteria can make it harder or easier to lose weight.
Dysbiosis occurs when the composition of bacteria in your gut change in ways that are bad for your health. If you have dysbiosis, you may have too many bad bacteria or too few good bacteria.
Since gut bacteria influence systems throughout your body, dysbiosis may cause health problems like systemic inflammation, hormonal imbalance, autoimmune disease, and joint aches and pains. A bacterial imbalance also leads to weight loss resistance.
A food sensitivity, or food intolerance, causes the same generic gastrointestinal symptoms: gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation. Food sensitivities are associated with leaky gut, a condition in which your small intestine is inflamed and damaged, which allows food particles, toxins, and other unwanted substance into your bloodstream.
A leaky gut can be caused by medications, alcohol, food allergens, cortisol, gluten allergy, and dysbiosis, to name a few of the culprits. As inflammation and foreign substances spread from the gut throughout the body, you may experience any number of health problems.