Optimal digestion is crucial for human health. Yet, too many of us suffer from the side effects of an inefficient digestive system—poor nutrient absorption, digestive upset, and weight struggles.
Not all digestive issues come about from a poor diet. The same is true of people experiencing unexplained weight gain. Gut conditions like SIBO may be the real reason for these problems.
What is the link between SIBO and weight gain? This post will explore the answer and address frequently asked questions like, ‘Will I lose weight after SIBO treatment?’ Read on to learn more.
What is SIBO?
Increased harmful bacteria in the digestive tract is what causes SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), a digestive condition. Bacterial overgrowth leads to uncomfortable digestive symptoms and nutrient absorption issues.
The exact symptoms someone experiences depend on the type of SIBO: methane, hydrogen, or hydrogen sulfide SIBO. However, one common complaint is weight gain due to their condition.
Can SIBO cause weight gain? Yes, SIBO can result in both gaining and losing. Find out why next.
SIBO Weight Gain
Weight gain and SIBO have a bidirectional relationship. As mentioned, SIBO can lead to weight gain. Weight gain can also exacerbate SIBO symptoms.
A 2019 study of 515 individuals examined the prevalence of SIBO in people with obesity. The researchers found that people with obesity are at three times the risk of SIBO compared to non-obese people.
Experts have yet to determine the reasons for the connection between SIBO and weight gain. However, some factors are known to contribute to SIBO weight gain, which we will discuss next.
Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine induces inflammation of the intestinal tract’s inner lining, or mucosa. Inflammation is vital to the immune response but can cause complications when left unchecked.
Inflammation can impact hormones like leptin, which regulates the feeling of fullness. The result may be increased appetite, overconsumption of food, and, ultimately, weight gain.
Insulin resistance happens when the body becomes insensitive to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugars. The insensitivity leaves more sugar in the bloodstream, which the body then breaks down and stores as fat.
Factors like SIBO-related inflammation and an unhealthy gut, in general, can contribute to insulin resistance. If left untreated, insulin resistance can progress to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Sometimes, people may perceive weight gain without putting on any pounds, as is often the case with people experiencing constipation. Constipation is a common symptom of SIBO.
Bloating can be a side effect of constipation. Excess gas may make clothes fit uncomfortably and create the appearance of weight gain. Even though the person has not gained weight, concerns about bloating are still valid.
Slower Transit Time
Another side effect of constipation is slower transit time, or when digested food stays in the gastrointestinal tract for longer. The longer food stays in the digestive system, the more nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Some of this extra nutrient absorption is a good thing. Yet imagine someone who eats a diet high in sugar and unhealthy fats. The body absorbs more of these nutrients than necessary, leading to eventual weight gain.
Potential Higher Caloric Intake
A certain type of SIBO known as methane SIBO impacts how the body processes fiber. Normally, the body does not absorb glycan-containing fibers or the calories that come with them.
Methane SIBO can change this, leading to higher absorption of calories from fiber-rich foods. When not burned off through physical activity, these excess calories are stored as fat, leading to weight gain.
As mentioned, inflammation due to SIBO can interfere with normal hormone signaling pathways. We also mentioned two of these hormones by name: insulin and the appetite hormone leptin.
Leptin and insulin also play a role in metabolism. Metabolism is the process by which the body breaks down food into energy. Problems with leptin and insulin can impact metabolism, which, in turn, can cause weight gain.
Tips to Tackle SIBO-Related Weight Gain
Going on a diet will not address SIBO weight gain unless that diet targets the underlying issue: bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Luckily, treatment may help people lose the weight they gained due to SIBO.
Here are some of the best tips to do just that.
Getting diagnosed with SIBO is the first step toward healing from it. The different types of SIBO can be diagnosed with a breath test, which identifies the presence of certain gases produced by harmful gut bacteria.
Come Up With a Treatment Plan
With the help of a gut health expert, individuals can devise a plan to treat their SIBO symptoms. The most effective treatments for SIBO include diet and lifestyle changes, supplements, and, in some cases, antibiotics.
Experts have found a bidirectional connection between the gut and the brain. So, it should be no wonder that feeling stressed out can impact SIBO. Practicing stress reduction techniques like mindfulness or meditation can help manage SIBO symptoms like weight gain.
Get Good Sleep
Finances, relationships, and work obligations are not the only sources of stress. Not getting enough sleep can also cause stress. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night to keep from exacerbating SIBO symptoms.
Regular exercise and physical activity are excellent for stress reduction and beneficial for motility. Doing low-impact activities like yoga, walking, or water aerobics may help with SIBO symptoms.
Get Tested for SIBO at Revolution Gut Health
Does SIBO cause weight gain? Yes, signs of SIBO like inflammation, insulin resistance, higher caloric intake, and decreased metabolism are linked to weight gain. Constipation is another SIBO symptom that can make someone feel bigger.
Are you ready to start your weight-loss journey by treating SIBO symptoms? Revolution Gut Health offers testing services to help diagnose conditions like SIBO.
Book a free discovery call with one of our gut health experts to prevent and even reverse SIBO weight gain.