The Migrating Motor Complex and Bacterial Overgrowth
When it comes to treating SIBO, the Migrating Motor Complex of the body plays a very important role. People who suffer from SIBO have problems with the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC). This in turn creates an environment for the overgrowth of bacteria to grow. In fact, when SIBO-recovered patients complain about High relapse rates, it is because the improper functioning of the MMC was not addressed and treated.
Medications will not help treat SIBO properly if proper functioning of the Migrating Motor Complex (MCC) is not ensured.
If you’re wondering what the Migrating Motor Complex is or does, let us walk you through it. MMC is a pattern of electrical activity that takes place in the GI tract of the body during meals or when fasting. It plays the role of cleaning up the intestines and should happen every 1.5 to 2 hours. If the MMC activity is slow or infrequent, then the individual isn’t healthy. Most people who suffer from SIBO have a dysfunctional MMC process.
So what happens if the MMC process is slow? It simply means that the food waste and bacteria sits in your small intestine longer than usual and that leads to the development of SIBO. This cyclic and recurring pattern of motility ensures that unnecessary bacteria doesn’t thrive in your intestine and your digestive system is in order. As discussed earlier, it is usually the failure to address the MMC issues that causes the reoccurrence of SIBO.
If you want to learn more about this process and the importance of Prokinetics in treating it, you can have a look at this article that discusses both topics in detail. If your Migrating Motor Complex function has slowed down, there are many ways to increase and support it. We’ve shortlisted the top 7 most effective ways that help.
Follow these 7 tips To Improve Migrating Motor Complex Function
#1 Give Your Gut A Rest!
For MMC activity to take place, it is important that you’re fasting. By that, we mean that you’re taking a break from eating. For people who are SIBO patients and have MMC deficiency, constant snacking can be a major problem as they are not giving their digestive system the time to function and digest the meals properly. There needs to be enough time for Migrating Motor Complex to work and clean the intestines before it deals with more food.
Intermittent fasting can be a good idea for some patients with SIBO. Many of our SIBO patients take 2 meals a day to give their stomach a rest and ensure that the MMC function works well. If you’re opting for lesser meals and fasting, it is important that you take into consideration the blood sugar, adrenal and thyroid function. You don’t want to impact other systems of your body negatively while trying to treat SIBO. There is no “one size fits all” treatment and knowing your body and its issues can help you find a way what works for you. Look at the Big Picture.
#2 Fix Your Blood Sugar.
High blood sugar is bad for the health for it can cause damage to the nerves. Diabetic patients often suffer from motility issues such as gastroparesis which is bad for the nerves. Blood sugar issues is not a condition that is exclusive to diabetic patients. In fact, most people with SIBO and Thyroid problems, have blood sugar issues. There can be many reasons behind it such as adrenal related conditions or the imbalance of GI and gut toxins. If you struggle with blood sugar problems, be sure to check out my article on 12 tips to balance your blood sugar.
In order to keep blood sugar in control, your diet should increase your protein and good fats. Patients with SIBO often find themselves loosing weight and becoming malnourished. This can further exacerbate blood sugar problems.
Another way to fix your blood sugar control is to exercise. Exercise causes the body to use up its glycogen stores and use extra glucose sitting in the blood. Going on short walks after having your meal can be effective first step in getting your blood sugar level in check. Don’t forget to address and overlooked cause of blood sugar problems.
Adrenal stress is a real problem for people with blood sugar dysregulation. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons I am not a big supporter of intermittent fasting when it comes to people who have adrenal problems. Blood sugar instability makes it difficult for a person to fast between meals. It is advisable that when you’re trying to ease down your feeding frequency, do it slowly and gradually. Also, keep the stress level in check and address hormones while you’re at it.
#3 Increase Vagal Nerve Activity
People suffering from IBS happen to have a low vagal nerve tone. When you’re trying to increase the body’s MMC function and ensure smooth digestion, then exercising the vagus nerve helps. We’ve discussed plenty of vagus nerve exercises in this blog post such as gagging and singing. I also have a video worth watching on the importance of the ileocecal valve and the Vagus Nerve.
#4 Stress Management
We all have issues in our lives that lead to stress. It is how we deal with it and how well our body adapts to stress that makes all the difference. Have you ever noticed that some people thrive on stress, while others fall apart at the slightest change in routine. Sometime we have no control over stress, so in these cases focus on better adaptation. Stress shuts down our parasympathetic nerve system. Digestion and gut function is a parasympathetic driven process. This is why adapting to stress is one of the keys to improving gut function. Stress management has a direct effect on the vagus nerve function and Chronic stress is known to increase cortisol levels which causes problems in digestion. Meditation is a good technique that can help keep the stress level low and ensure a more parasympathetic state in terms of both rest and digestion. Also, be sure that you don’t eat and run. Try to eat meals in an environment away from the computer, the TV or even a stressful family member.
#5 Helping Good Bacteria Thrive
Migrating Motor Complex function is dependent on bacterial composition in the gut in animal studies , therefore the diet needs to have fermentable fibers and resistant starches so that Bifidobacterium levels can be increased. SIBO patients have bacteria from large intestines moving to the small intestine causing small intestinal dysbiosis.
Having a regular MMC function reduces this migration and maintains a balance in your digestive system. While some patients struggling with SIBO are unable to eat Fiber and resistant starches in the beginning stages of SIBO, the ultimate goal should be to include resistant starches for optimal Gut Function. If you are at a point of introducing resistant starches, or not sure how to start reintroducing Resistant Starches, watch this video that explains when and how to reintroduce Resistant starches back into the diet.
#6 Adequate Thyroid Levels
Reduced motility is one of the risk factors for development of a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). From various studies, we see that Hypothyroidism is associated with altered GI motility. For motility to be efficient and the MMC to function properly, one must have proper thyroid hormone levels. A normal TSH is not enough! Hormone levels Like T3 and T4 must also be within the optimal range. For many thyroid patients, weight gain is a huge concern and what I see happening in my thyroid patients is a lot of very low carb dieting. This usually backfires on the thyroid patient. Low carb dieting can can exacerbate thyroid function which in turn, can shut down the Migrating Motor Complex. For optimal MMC function, dont forget the importance of the Thyroid. For more information on SIBO-Thyroid connection.
#7 Supplement With Prokinetics – They Can Be A Game Changer!
Prokinetics can be instrumental in maintaining the Migrating Motor Complex function of the body as discussed in this post/video. Prokinetic agents, or prokinetics, are medications that help control acid reflux as well as the function of the ileocecal valve. Prokinetics help strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and IC (ileocecal valve) and cause the contents of the stomach to empty faster. This in turn minimizes food source that bacterial in the small intestines are feeding on. Motility is key!
Natural Supplements that support the Migrating Motor Complex.
These are some of the best natural based Prokinetics that can control overgrowth and increase motility.
- Motility Pro promotes advanced gut signaling for healthy gut motility. MotilPro supports serotonergic and cholinergic neurotransmission, which stimulates healthy gut motility.*
- Motility Pro supports serotonergic and cholinergic neurotransmission in the GI tract. 5-HTP is absorbed by enterochromaffin cells in the epithelium, in which it is decarboxylated to serotonin using pyridoxal 5’ phosphate as a cofactor.
- 5-HTP stimulates enteric neurons through activation of 5HT4 receptors.
- Ginger modulates serotonin signaling by additional 5HT4 stimulation and by binding type 3 (5HT3) receptors in the enteric nervous system and brain stem, supporting gastric emptying, intestinal transit, healthy visceral sensation and upper GI comfort.
- Acetyl-l-carnitine supports autonomic neuronal health and contributes acetyl groups for the synthesis of acetylcholine, supporting neurotransmission of signals to encourage healthy motility.
Other Article Recommended By Our Readers
- 10 warning signs you have SIBO & When To Get Tested
- Breath Kind Of testing for SIBO
- Eradicate SIBO by incorporating Biofilm Disruptors
- SIBO and Prokinetics- The Missing Piece In Treating SIBO
- Why SIBO Treatments Fail Most Of The Time-Part I
- Part 2 Why SIBO Treatments Fail Most Of The Time-Part II
- 4 Common Mistakes Made On Low FODMAP and SIBO Diet
- Feeling Worse After Taking Probiotics ? Learn Why
- Best Probiotics To take When You Have SIBO and When To Introduce Them
- How Food Poisoning Triggers Autoimmune IBS-D
- What You Need To Know Before Getting Tested For SIBO
- 5 Food Additives You Should Avoid, If You Have SIBO
- Ileocecal Valve Release- Self Massage-How, When And Where To Massage Your Ileocecal Valve
- Why The Ileocecal Valve Holds The Key to IBS and SIBO- What It Is and Why It’s Important
- Vicious cycle of Nutritional Deficiencies Associated With Low FODMAP and SIBO Diet
- SIBO/IBS And The Connection To Thyroid Disease
- Why Antibiotics May Not Be The Best Approach for SIBO
- Medications That Cause IBS, SIBO and Leaky Gut
- Studies Now Connect Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain to Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- How To Prevent Another SIBO Recurrence