Chris Kresser: Daniela asked, “Can you talk more about the neural connection and SIBO? How would this be related to lack of stimulation of the vagus nerve? If so, how can we address it?”
Well, one of the leading theories for why SIBO happens in the first place is that it’s a dysfunction of the migrating motor complex, which is a cleansing peristaltic wave in the small intestine that’s a process governed by the central nervous system. So, if there are problems with the vagus nerve, which, of course, is part of the nervous system, then you could get a decrease in activity of the migrating motor complex and then an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine as a result of that. So, there are some different ways of working with the vagus nerve. You may have heard of Dr. Kharrazian’s method of gargling. There are some auditory devices that claim to stimulate the action of the vagus nerve, but ultimately, the vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic response, so anything that encourages the rest and digest parasympathetic response—so that would be things like getting enough rest, meditation, relaxation, yoga, physical contact, massage, getting enough sleep, managing stress—all of that would help promote healthy vagus nerve function, and all those things are so important, I think, with SIBO and they’re often missed or underemphasized, so I think those things are critical when we’re addressing SIBO.