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5 Complications of SIBO - Dominick Hussey - Functional Medicine

5 Complications of SIBO

You will not die from SIBO, but it does lead to various complications. The main complications of SIBO include:

  • Nutrient Deficiency and Excess
  • Malabsorption
  • Increased Small Intestinal Permeability
  • Autoimmunity
  • Blunted Small Intestinal Villi

Read on to learn about the complications of SIBO occur in the body.

Vitamin B12  Deficiency

SIBO is known to cause a B12 deficiency in the scientific literature. Vitamin B12 deficiency happens in SIBO as a result of utilisation of the vitamin by bacteria. When bacteria take up the vitamin, the bacteria partly metabolise it to inactive analogues, which compete with normal vitamin B12 binding and absorption.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency may include things like neuropathy, cognitive decline, or even dementia.

There is a high prevalence of SIBO in the elderly. This fact could make you question whether the B12 deficiency seen in the elderly is related to SIBO and not just “ageing.”

Fat Malabsorption

SIBO can also cause fat malabsorption, which leads to a buildup of free bile acids. A build-up of bile leads to mucosal inflammation can lead to increased intestinal permeability. Increased intestinal permeability aka leaky gut can lead to autoimmunity.

Fat malabsorption can also lead to a decline in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamin including:

  • Vitamin D and K2 which will cause osteoporosis
  • Vitamin A which will cause night blindness and retinopathy
  • Vitamin K leading to prolonged clotting times

Stunted Small Intestinal Villi

SIBO can lead to blunted small intestinal villi that will decrease the activity of disaccharides. Disaccharides are enzymes that are required to break down carbohydrate.

A reduction in disaccharide activity will lead to carbohydrate malabsorption. Carbohydrate malabsorption will lead to a build-up of carbohydrates in the small intestine. The bacteria in the small bowels feed on carbohydrates.

So blunted intestinal villi will lead to increase the number of bacteria so worsening the SIBO.

Protein Malabsorption

Bacteria digest protein. When you have too much bacteria in the upper part of the small intestine, where the protein is absorbed, then that will interfere with your absorption of protein.

Excess Folate

While B12 deficiency is prevalent with SIBO, folate levels can often be high in SIBO because of increased synthesis of folate by small intestine bacteria.

Disclaimer

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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