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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.
Dr. Fernando Azpiroz of the Hospital General Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona, Spain, points out that some intestinal gas is entirely normal. As part of the digestive process, everyone experiences gas in the digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.1 If your inner ecosystem is healthy, your body can evacuate this gas without any discomfort. It's when gas causes pain and other symptoms that it becomes a problem.
If gas is a chronic problem, your gut could be lacking the enzymatic power to support the small and large intestines. Body Ecology Assist Full Spectrum Enzymes can supplement brush border enzymes and stoke your digestive fire.
Gas in the Small Intestine
Gas produced in the small intestine typically means something entirely different than gas produced in the large 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 the small intestine is found.
Symptoms may include:
- Abdominal bloating
- 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, discovered that gas produced by bacteria in the small intestine might cause either constipation or diarrhea.2 Research published in the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology asserts that while SIBO is still poorly understood in the medical community, it is more prevalent than ever. Patients with SIBO may experience mild to severe symptoms, as serious as chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and malabsorption. Effective SIBO treatment must address the underlying cause, offer nutritional support, and treat bacterial overgrowth.3
Gas in the Large Intestine
Gas in the large intestine is a normal byproduct of large microbial communities.
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.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, exciting new research into some digestive conditions (like IBS) that may cause gas is on the horizon. A medical probiotic has been tested for safety and efficacy in the phase 1 Safety Study of Probiotics in Adults with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, funded by the NIH. An acupuncture/moxibustion clinical trial for IBS, also funded by the NIH, is in progress. The results from these trials may give patients the tools to play a more active role in their healthcare—by addressing the underlying cause of chronic gas.5
How to Remedy Gas and Bloating in 4 Steps
Find the source
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.
Use Body Ecology principles
Following the 7 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.
Starve bad bacteria
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 to:
- Eliminate sugars from the diet.
- Hold off on adding a prebiotic supplement to your diet or consuming too many soluble fibers from food.
Replenish good bacteria
Adding beneficial bacteria and increasing enzymatic power in the gut assist 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.
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 these simple 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, improving digestion in both the small and large intestines.
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- Adapted from IFFGD publication #214 by Fernando Azpiroz, MD, PhD, Chief Section GI Research, University Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
- 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.
- Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2007 Feb; 3(2): 112–122.
- Trinidad P. Trinidad, et al. Dietary fiber from coconut flour: A functional food. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies 7 (2006) 309–
- NIH Publication No. 13–883. November 2012.
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