Gluten and SIBO: What’s The Connection?

Gluten is defined as a substance present in certain grains, especially wheat and it’s found in rye and barley as well. It is what causes the elastic texture in dough. Gluten is a mixture of two proteins and it causes illness in people with celiac disease. Some people who do not have celiac disease have an intolerance, sensitivity, or an allergy to gluten which makes it difficult for them to consume as well.

Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten. Over time the immune reaction or response to eating gluten causes inflammation that in turn causes damage to the lining of the small intestines. It also causes malabsorption - preventing the absorption of some nutrients necessary to thrive. As it has been mentioned, sensitivity to gluten isn’t limited to those with celiac disease. There is non-celiac gluten sensitivity and there’s definitely a connection to SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Gluten might be what is triggering a reaction in your gut.

The Connection

SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is a condition where there are too many bacteria present in the intestine. Bacteria in our gut is normal, natural, and necessary. Bacteria help with the digestion process and without them our food wouldn’t break down as it should in order to provide us with nutrients. SIBO is a sign or a symptom that there is something else going wrong in our gut that is causing the excess amount of bacteria. Gastrointestinal and digestive issues and conditions are usually what triggers the overgrowth of bacteria.

Often times, people with celiac disease deal with SIBO because of the disruption of the digestive and gastrointestinal tracts. Crohn’s disease is another condition that can lead to SIBO. The gluten intolerance is the cause for the upset in the gut that in turn leads to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. In order to be rid of the symptoms you’re going to have to use SIBO antibiotics to deal with the excess bacteria, make diet adjustments that either limit or eliminate gluten products from your diet, and then there are necessary measures that help the gut heal from all of the drama. 

If you notice that every time you eat something like bread, grains, or pasta that you are experiencing negative digestive symptoms you likely have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. There’s a big possibility that you might also be dealing with an overgrowth of bacteria so just to play it safe, it's a good idea to reach out to your doctor or a healthcare professional to find out what’s going on with you. When in doubt get it checked out!