There are two places where intestinal gas can collect: in the large intestine and in the small intestine. Some gas is always produced during the digestive process. What happens to this gas?
- It is absorbed into the bloodstream and eventually exhaled.
- It is released. This is known as flatulence or just “gas”.
- It is recycled by other microbes in the gut.
- It accumulates and creates pressure against the intestinal wall.
Gas in the Small Intestine
Because gas in the small intestine has nowhere to go, it easily accumulates and puts pressure against the intestinal wall. When enough pressure builds, your body reads this as pain. This mostly occurs somewhere above the belly button, where much of small intestine is found. Symptoms may include abdominal bloating, cramping, or intense pain.
The small intestine should be relatively free of microbial communities that can create gas. Thus, gas in the small intestine could indicate that something has gone awry. Small intestinal gas is a pretty sure indication of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Otherwise known as SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).
Mark Pimentel, Director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, recently discovered that gas produced by bacteria in the small intestine might cause either constipation or diarrhea. (1)
Gas in the large intestine is mainly expressed as flatulence. Typically, there is little pain associated with gas in the large intestine. Any sensation we feel is usually its movement down the tract until it eventually is released.
Remember, the microbes in our gut form strong communities, mostly within the large intestine. So, some amount of gas or flatulence is normal. However, if your body is producing excessive gas, this is sign that large quantities of food are going through the gut undigested. It can also be a sign of fermentation, or essentially the rotting of food within the gut.
What does this mean? It could mean a number of things, and the reason will be different for each person:
- Your body does not have the enzymatic power to digest food.
- You are consuming too much of one food, which can overwhelm all the elements necessary to fully break down food material.
In this case, following the Body Ecology Principle of 80/20 is especially useful because it means that your digestive system will have all the tools its needs to properly handle foods.
Bacteria will feed on sugar. This can be the simple sugar found in fruit or candy or the more complex sugars found in breads, pastas, and grains. If you follow the Body Ecology Diet and find that even with proper food combining, grain-like seeds such as millet, quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat are still too much to handle, it may simply be that too many bacteria are residing in the small intestine.
Those on the Body Ecology Diet sometimes also use coconut flour as a flour-substitute. While coconut flour is mostly made of insoluble fiber, something that neither human nor microbe can digest, there is a small amount of soluble fiber in coconut flour. (3)
- Soluble fiber is a prebiotic.
- This means that it especially feeds bacteria.
- If you have bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO), a prebiotic can generate more gas and aggravate this condition.
- If you are ingesting too many soluble fibers or passing too much undigested food through the small intestine, this will show up as gas in the large intestine or excessive flatulence.
How to Remedy Gas in 4 Steps
1. In the case of gas, it is important to first determine where the gas is being made.
- If it is produced in the small intestine, there will be intense abdominal discomfort because gas is trapped in the small intestine. Small intestinal gas indicates bacterial overgrowth.
- If gas is produced in the large intestine, there is flatulence. Flatulence tells us to look at diet and food combining principles.
2. Next, following the seven principles of the Body Ecology Diet, especially the Principle of 80/20, may be enough to control excessive gas in both the large intestine and the small intestine.
3. If there is still too much gas produced in the small intestine, you may want to try to starve the bacteria that have taken over this area. This means:
- Eliminate sugars from the diet.
- Hold off on adding a prebiotic supplement to your diet or consuming too many soluble fibers from food.
4. Adding beneficial bacteria and increasing enzymatic power in the gut assists both the small and large intestine.
- Include fermented foods in the diet.
- The good bacteria found in fermented foods will actually stimulate the activity of brush border enzymes.
- Supplement with brush border enzymes, like Body Ecology Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes.
- Because brush border enzymes are active mostly at night, one of the best things you can do is drink a few ounces of coconut water kefir or InnergyBiotic before bed with one capsule of Full Spectrum Enzymes.
The Body Ecology Core Program Sets You Up for Success!
The Body Ecology Core Program is set up to help you follow the principles of the Body Ecology Diet, while also helping to repair any mechanisms in the body that are not functioning at optimal speed.
- Getting a hearty dose of beneficial bacteria and helpful enzymes is key to controlling gas in both the small intestine and in the large intestine.
- Remember, even with these tools, it is essential to watch what you eat and follow the seven principles of the Body Ecology Diet.
What to Remember Most About This Article:
Gas in the small intestine is different from gas in the large intestine. Gas in the small intestine will build up and put pressure on the intestinal wall to cause bloating, cramping, and pain. For this reason, gas in the small intestine could be an indication of bacterial overgrowth, also called SIBO.
To remedy gas naturally, use the following steps:
- Determine where the gas is being made - in the small or large intestine.
- Follow the principles of the Body Ecology Diet to control gas in the small and large intestines.
- Starve bacteria in the small intestine to stop gas from being produced.
- Add beneficial bacteria to increase the enzymatic power of the gut to improve digestion in both the small and large intestines.
- Mark Pimentel, et al. Methane, a gas produced by enteric bacteria, slows intestinal transit and augments small intestinal contractile activity. AJP - GI June 2006 vol. 290 no. 6 G1089-G1095.
- Trinidad P. Trinidad, et al. Dietary fiber from coconut flour: A functional food.