August 12, 2021
By Christine Cheng, R.Ph and Fred Cheng, R.Ph.
It is reported that the enteric nervous system which controls the gastrointestinal (GI) system contains as many neurons as the spinal cord. This means there are about 100 million nerve cells controlling the physical movement, blood flow, absorption and secretions occurring in the gut along with the immune and hormone functions as well. The gut responds not only to stimuli found in the food; activation of the nervous system that causes a psychological response can also be felt in the gut. There is a lot going on!
When we are under stress, whether it is physical or psychological, our guts respond with changes in levels of gut motility and secretions, which can manifest in signs and symptoms such as gas, bloating, abdominal cramping, and/or changes in bowel movements (e.g., constipation, diarrhea).
For some, a cup of peppermint tea may be enough to settle that upset stomach. For others, a little more help is needed. For changes in the frequency of bowel movements, PROBIOTICS may help, regardless of whether the change is to constipation or looser stool. For those experiencing a greater frequency and/or looser bowel movements, consider supplementing with the amino acid, L-GLUTAMINE. It is the most abundant amino acid found in blood and skeletal muscles and up to 30% of the l-glutamine in the body is used by the intestines. During times of stress, l-glutamine levels have been found to decline quickly. For example, athletes who are training hard have an increased risk of infections due to compromised immune function; this has been linked to the decreased availability of l-glutamine for immune cell function. Supplementation with l-glutamine has been found to improve GI symptoms in those who have inflammatory bowel diseases and irritable bowel syndrome, both diseases that include diarrhea as symptoms. With each bowel movement, intestinal cells are shed. Amongst other nutrients, the body requires replenishing of its l-glutamine levels to help heal up the gut lining.
Another nutraceutical that is widely studied and shown to be beneficial for multiple gut issues is N-acetyl glucosamine, NAG. For those who are familiar with the use of glucosamine in helping with joint health, it may come as no surprise that the body can make use of another form of glucosamine to help another part of the body. In the gut, NAG supports healthy mucous production and supports the growth of Bifidobacteria (beneficial strains of bacteria).
Healthology, a newer Canadian manufacturer of nutraceuticals has combined l-glutamine and NAG with other gut soothing ingredients in their GUT-FX FORMULA. The goal of this product is to soothe the gut lining, reduce overall inflammation, and provide the nutrients to help rebuild. At just one teaspoon a day, Gut-Fx Formula is an easy way to provide your body with what it needs to heal up a damaged and upset GI tract.
Come talk to us about whether this product can be used to help soothe your gut.
Christine and Fred Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-operated Pharmasave stores in Cloverdale and Steveston, B.C. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Find them on Instagram and Facebook! Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore.
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