When we hear the term ‘plaque’, we usually think about our teeth or our blood vessels. While these two should definitely be plaque-free, another important body part that should be free from plaque is your intestinal system! Who knew?
Just another thing we get to learn about our really powerful, amazing bodies through this process of treating and living with SIBO :)
Plus, addressing this can result in astounding health benefits that won’t only improve your gut system, but your overall health.
So what is this plaque? Why does it exist? How do I know I have it?
What are Biofilms?
The intestinal plaque we’re referring to is called a biofilm. Biofilm is precisely what it sounds like – a sticky film that is made up of microscopic organisms. Bacteria cannot be seen by the naked eye, but you probably notice biofilms every day without realizing it.
One example is the hard dental plaque present on your teeth. It is a biofilm inside the mouth.
Biofilm structure is quite tough. The fact that dentists require special tools to get rid of it gives you an idea how resilient it is and how challenging it can be to break it down without proper measure.
Bacteria can form biofilms inside the body, too.
Bacteria and other microscopic organisms build this unhealthy biofilm to thrive in a hostile environment (aka your gut). They are essentially building their fortress in your intestinal system using a mix of proteins and sugars that will help shield them from foreign attacks (such as antibiotics) that would kill them off.
But there is a healthy biofilm too, characterized by a thin mucus present in a healthy gut by the friendly bacteria. This friendly biofilm lets the passage and absorption of nutrients on the intestinal wall. It also provides lubricating and moistening benefits as well as anti-inflammatory action.
Feeling confused? How to Tell If You Have Unhealthy Biofilm: Symptoms and Conditions Associated with Biofilm
An unhealthy intestinal biofilm can wreak havoc in your body. It can:
· Block absorption of nutrients through the gut
· Protect harmful microorganisms that cause diseases from your immune system
· Promote inflammation
· Protect harmful microorganisms from antifungals and antibiotics, both pharmaceutical and herbal grade
· House toxins
This unhealthy biofilm makes a ‘bomb shelter’ for parasites, yeast and bacteria that seek protection in the biofilm matrix, which help their creatures survive some of the most potent chemical and natural medication.
A result of chronic resistance can develop conditions such as SIBO and many SIBO symptoms including:
· Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn
· Systemic Candida overgrowth
· Fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome
· Inflammatory bowel disease such Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis
· Bloating, gas, stomach cramping and skin conditions
Unhealthy biofilms can cause a lifetime of disease as it promotes disease-causing microorganisms to thrive, compromising the immune system. It also permits co-infections to persist, leading to chronic degenerative diseases.
The National Institute for Health (NIH) tells us that biofilms are associated in up to 80 percent of all recurring infections. Staph bacteria lead when it comes to developing biofilms.
If you have a history of recurring infection (or know you have SIBO), then there’s a high possibility that a biofilm infection exists, and a change in diet is necessary, as well as supplementation of Biofilm Disruptors. Check with your doctor or naturopath for the one that may be right for you or download our SIBO-safe Meal Protocol here.