Migrating Motor Complex

how to heal your gut, heal the migrating motor complex or MMC

What is the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC)?

These are waves of electrical activity that pass through your gut between meals.

What does it do?

The MMC help to move food, waste and fiber from your stomach through to your colon.

Why is it important?

The MMC is important because it also keeps sweeping bacteria out of the small intestine and prevents backwash of bacteria from the large intestine up into the small intestine.

What happens if my MMC isn’t working?

The result of poor MMC function is constipation and/or SIBO, also called small intestinal bacteria overgrowth. This can cause lots of digestion problems (bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, food allergies or sensitivities).

How can I help my Migrating Motor Complex work better?

Part of what stimulates your MMC is fasting.  So take breaks between meals. A hormone produced by your stomach called motilin also helps regulate the MMC. Motilin release is regulated by your vagus nerve.  This is a big nerve that comes from your brain and goes to all of the organs of your chest and abdomen. Deep breathing exercises and gargling are two ways of trying to stimulate your vagus nerve. A high cholesterol diet inhibits your MMC, so keep your cholesterol intake low to moderate. Antidepressant medications or SSRIs also inhibit movement in your gut.

Our naturopathic doctors have other means of correcting poor function of your MMC, SBIO and many other gut issues.  Migrating Motor Complex related supplements include 5HTP, ginger and pyridoxal-5- phosphate. Rikkunshito is a Japanese kampo medicine that has been shown to improve gut motility. Book a consultation with one of our ND’s for more information tailored to you.

Authored By Dr Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND


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