Take a deep breath – let’s talk about some serious gut issues. Do you suffer from IBS, SIBO, gastroparesis, or another digestive issue where your gut doesn’t function correctly?

Often these particular disorders affect the migrating motor complex, or MMC, of your GI tract is affected. The MMC is a motility pattern than occurs in your stomach and small intestine. Confused? Then let’s break this down (no pun intended)!

411 on MMC

The MMC is the movement of the muscles in your digestive organs, which are the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. It’s basically is a pattern of electromechanical activity that sweeps through the intestine between meals.

Basically, the MMC acts as your gut’s housekeeper, sweeping undigested material through the digestive tract into the large intestine, and occurs every hour and a half to two hours. If you’re constantly snacking because of fluctuating blood sugar levels, then the MMC can’t do its job! The MMC happens during fasting and gets interrupted every time you eat, so if you’re always eating, you’re interfering with your own body’s gut function. Eating mindfully at set times will help to avoid this interference.

Measuring MMC motility is important in diagnosing different digestive disorders. Motility issues in one or more digestive organs? This is what you might be experiencing:


  • Gastroesophageal disease
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Chest pain


  • Gastroparesis (when the stomach can’t empty food normally)
  • Rapid gastric emptying
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion and abdominal discomfort)
  • Vomiting

Small Intestine

  • Dysmotility (digestive muscles don’t work properly)
  • Pseudo-obstruction (dilation of the colon that affects flow of intestinal contents)
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO

Large Intestine

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS


What affects MMC?

Stress, the western diet, and alcohol, among other things!

One or all of these factors can contribute to MMC disruption. Stress impairs GI motility by provoking blood sugar swings, resulting in high cortisol levels, which is basically adrenaline. Your body is in fight-or-flight mode! When blood sugar levels swing up and down, we tend to snack throughout the day as we crash. This constant grazing reduces the time between meals, which does not give the MMC time to do its housekeeping jobs.

Basically, the MMC acts as your gut’s housekeeper, sweeping undigested material through the digestive tract into the large intestine, and occurs every hour and a half to two hours. Click To Tweet

The relationship between stress, the MMC, and digestion was first observed in the early 19th century by William Beaumont, a former surgeon in the U.S. Army who later became known as the “Father of Gastric Physiology.” He noticed that “fear, anger, or whatever depresses or disturbs the nervous system” was associated with the suppression of GI motility and impaired digestion. (7)

And as for diet and alcohol? In general, the American diet is high in sugar and empty carbs and low in fiber. A high sugar diet, like stress, results in blood sugar swings that lead to continuous snacking and even more sugar cravings. Alcohol in general irritates the digestive system by producing more stomach acid than usual, and affects every digestive organ, from your esophagus to your intestines. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to more serious GI issues that disrupt the MMC.

What can you do?

Sign up for my 5-Day GutLove Reset Program!

I’ve developed The GutLove Reset to give gut sufferers the  jumpstart to begin healing your gut. We’ll work one on one to get to the root of your issues.

My Reset is a great start to your healing journey. Every person is different. Discovering your own healthy history, stressors, food sensitivities, and insulin sensitivity are keys to long term gut wellness, and this is at the core of the Reset.

The adage is “go with your gut.” And I couldn’t agree more. But first make sure it’s in tip top shape.