Ask the Pharmaceutical Products Expert – Ajit Johal
When it comes to the health of our so called “gut” the majority of us underestimate its importance. While explosive diarrhea the day after the company Christmas party may cause us to reconsider mixing cheap wine and stale shrimp, we rarely pay any attention to the health of our gut. With gut related disorders such as celiac disease, irritable bowl syndrome , and inflammatory bowel disease becoming more common, maybe it’s time we gave this neglected body system some love.
So what’s so special about that long tube that runs from our mouth to our anus? In one end and out the other, and maybe after a few days in Mexico things don’t go so well. Not so simple my friend. The gut is in fact a big player in your overall health. Let’s focus on the undervalued cells the line the walls of your intestines. These cells form barriers between one another forming tight junctions which prevent what’s inside from going out and vice a versa. When your gut can’t handle all the abuse you are subjecting it too, the rest of your body starts to feel the pain. This phenomenon, called “gut translocation”, occurs when the gut lining breaks down and allows toxins to leak into the rest of the body. Doesn’t sound very pleasant, does it? Toxins entering the body can be attributed to numerous health problems such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and ADHD. Even skin conditions such as acne can be caused by the body’s inflammatory response to toxins leaching from the gut. So yes Pedro, your acne is because you eat too many chocolate bars. Intestinal wall cells also contain tiny projections called villi which absorb nutrients passing through the gut. Unhealthy villi leads to malabsorption. Your tissues are not getting the nourishment they need, no matter how much healthy food you are piling on your plate. When nutrients are not being absorbed, they have no where to go but out the other end. That’s when you find yourself stuck hanging out with the charmin ultra bears for the evening. Wall cells also contain immunoglobulin A , a first line defense against toxins and foreign substances that enter your body. In addition, gut wall cells produce up to 90% of the serotonin in your body, so happy gut equals happy life.
So how do we take care of these hardworking intestinal wall cells, and keep them as healthy as possible? The solution lies with a supplement called “L-glutamine”. As the primary nutrient of the upper gut, L-glutamine helps maintain the health of your intestinal cells. For more information on the benefits of L-glutamine see the post titled “The Benefits of L-glutamine”.
In addition to intestinal wall cells, there are the critters that live in your gut. Believe it or not your body contains more bacteria than human cells. These bacteria are in a constant state of war, a classic battle between good vs evil. Your job is to feed the good guys so you feel happy and energetic during the day. Let the bad guys win, and your left with diarrhea, yeast infections, and a list of other non-desirable conditions. The balance of flora in your gut can always be altered by ingesting friendly bacteria in yogurt and cottage cheese. At the same time, antibiotics can kill the good flora in your gut and let the bad guys take over and wreak havoc in your system. Probiotic supplements are an excellent way to maintain a good flora balance during antibiotic treatment and ongoing. For more information on probiotics, see the post titled “Guide to probiotic supplementation”.
So hopefully your gut will get some much needed attention, in the form of quality food and important supplementation. Start with small changes, and eventually you will find a boost in your overall health with just a few improvements to your gut.