In Part 1, we were introduced to intermittent fasting and its health benefits. Let’s now learn how fasting can help SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth), inflammation and the dreaded constipation.

SIBO and SIFO are an overgrowth of bacteria/fungi, respectively, in the small intestine that release gas that lead to flatulence, pain, bloating and feeling full, even after only eating a small amount. A long period of fasting, especially overnight, can reduce the risk of SIBO/SIFO by improving the migrating motor complex (MMC). When the MMC is not properly functioning, the food we eat may remain in the stomach and small intestine much longer than is healthy, contributing to the development of SIBO/SIFO.

We now know that hormone imbalances including thyroid, cortisol, and sex hormones, can also lead to a slow MMC. Interventions to prevent and treat the imbalances can be as simple as mindful chewing of food and using high quality probiotics. A natural pro-kinetic agent like ginger can assist too. Natural supplements that contain licorice root, marshmallow root, aloe vera and slippery elm can heal the gut lining and treat acid reflux.

Studies have shown that people with IBS likely have disruptions in their MMC. Causes for the reduction of the MMC point to food poisoning or other bacterial infections leading to changes in the gut microbiome and prolonged use of stomach acid reduction medications like Prilosec. A lactulose breath test can diagnose SIBO, and the OAT (Organic Acids Test) can determine if SIFO is the culprit for your symptoms.

Inflammation can begin by eating foods that we are sensitive or allergic to and result in nerve damage within the gut and inability to signal the MMC properly. That being said, outside of gluten, dairy, and sugar, which seem to all be universally inflammatory, there can be other food sources causing issues. This inflammation can spread outside of the gut, causing openings in the gut lining that can leak into the blood stream.

Think of tiles and grout. When the grout is cracked or missing, water can leak past the tile barrier. This is known as leaky gut. This leaking of food particles and bacteria can cause an inflammatory cascade setting up the perfect storm for developing autoimmune diseases that can affect organs like the thyroid gland and also causing muscle and joint pain.

The Mediator Release Test (MRT) is an advanced food sensitivity test that looks at 170 food and food-chemical reactions to help indentify your triggers. Using the results, you will then begin an elimination diet over a period of time, while working alongside a dietitian, to help reduce inflammation. After the elimination segment, reintroduction of the least inflammatory foods is initiated and symptoms are monitored to determine which foods should be eliminated from our diets for a longer period of time. Some foods may always cause symptoms; however, many may be able to be tolerated on a limited basis once reintroduced.

Slow transit of food through the digestive tract, due to the deceased function of the MMC, can lead to constipation from excess fluid reabsorption. As you can see, it is a culmination of events that lead to all these health issues. Increasing fiber from plant sources such as nuts, seeds and raw vegetables can help with preventing and treating constipation. Adequate magnesium intake is another important addition for more regularity. Relying on stool softeners and bowel stimulants can become habit forming.

In addition to the discomfort of constipation, the lack of regularity will reduce the elimination of toxins from our system. We rely on this excretion to reduce toxic build-up in our bodies. Unfortunately, we have huge toxic burdens that are affecting our health now as compared to the past, making it more crucial now than ever to have an efficient detoxification system in place.

Here’s the bottom line: introduction of a prolonged 12-14 hour overnight fast can have a beneficial impact on our gut health. In addition, spacing food throughout the day, rather than grazing, is an added benefit to improve MMC function.

For more information on how we can help you treat chronic IBS, constipation, SIBO/SIFO in a holistic and natural way, book a free consult with Cindy or Kerah here: