Healthy Gut IV
Considered the core of health for millennia, the gut is largely ignored by most of us. Give your gut the attention it deserves with this IV.
Healthy Gut IV
About This IV
Zinc and L-glutamine both reduce intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) closing the tight-junctions between intestinal cells and thus protecting us from over-activating our immune systems and setting off inflammation. L-Arginine is included in this IV because it raises the levels of IGF-1 (the active form of Growth Hormone) a critical component in maintaining “Occludin” integrity, a protein which “seals” the space between intestinal cells preventing “leaky gut”. Glycyrrhizin has been added to this IV as it is a strong anti-inflammatory with cortisol modulating properties. The other ingredients are antioxidants like vitamin C and glutathione which are important protectors of the mucous layer and cells of the intestinal tract, shielding against the damage done from intestinal inflammation.
The gut has long been considered the center of good health in traditional medical practices like Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine. Until recently, the gastrointestinal tract was largely ignored by Western medicine. It was thought it was simply the place where nutrients were digested. However, recent research has shown that maintaining a healthy gut is essential to overall health. In fact, the intestinal tract plays a key role in so many biological process it’s hard to list them all. Here are but a few examples:
- Digestion of food into small particles
- Absorption of critical nutrients like amino acids, carbohydrates, fats and minerals
- Elimination of waste products such as heavy metals via bile
- Immune function—the intestinal tract is the LARGEST immune organ.
- Barrier function—keeping out bacteria, viruses and fungi as well as other toxic substances from being absorbed. This is compromised in conditions such as IBD, IBS and “leaky gut”.
- Inflammation—due to it’s intimate relationship in immune function and it’s regulation of foreign substances from crossing into our blood stream, the gut plays perhaps THE key role in inflammation.
Put simply, if your gut is out of balance, you cannot achieve optimal health. Apparently traditional medicine wasn’t so far off after all.
The problem in modern society is that our intestinal tracts are easily compromised by factors such as stress, anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs like ibuprofen), antibiotics, poor diets, alcohol consumption and smoking to name a few.
Signs of an unhealthy gut include but are not limited to abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. If you suffer from any of these or other forms of digestive distress, we encourage you to come in and see us for a Healthy Gut IV immediately.
You see, this IV was designed to enhance the proper function of the intestinal tract by adding elements like L-glutamine which is an important source of energy for the cells of the intestinal tract. Zinc and L-glutamine both reduce intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) closing the tight-junctions between intestinal cells and thus protecting us from over-activating our immune systems and setting off inflammation. Antioxidants like vitamin C and glutathione are important protectors of the mucosa and cells of the intestinal tract shielding against the damage done from intestinal inflammation.
All of these vitamins and minerals are brought together in one IV to help kick start the healing process for your gut.
After our skin, the intestinal tract is the major interface between us as human beings and the outside environment. It is really not “inside” of us so much as it “runs through us”. Starting at the mouth and ending at the rectum and anus, the intestinal tract is a “tube” than runs through our bodies and helps us break down food (with the help of our teeth, stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, bile), absorb nutrients like amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and eliminate waste.
The intestinal tract also houses billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi (collectively known as the gut microbiome) which need to be kept separate from “us” otherwise they would cause certain death. This barrier function of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is just as important as its other functions. In fact, the GI tract happens to be the largest, most important part of our immune system.
The first layer of cells in the GI tract form the “mucosa”. These cells sit very close one another forming “tight junctions” (see diagram below) so as to prevent foreign organisms or substances from entering our bodies. They also secrete a protective mucous layer and IgA’s which are protective antibodies for the same purpose.
Deeper within the wall of the intestines the immune system is housed in the form of lymph nodes in what is called the Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue (GALT). The deeper levels of the intestinal walls also content the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) which is a nervous system dedicated to the gut itself and is only partially controlled by Central Nervous System (CNS).
Many factors can affect the integrity of this intestinal barrier, wear down the mucous protection, decrease IgA production and finally break down the “tight junctions” between the cells of the intestinal tract making them permeable to substances. When this happens even whole bacteria and viruses can “leak” through the gut lining into your blood stream which is not desirable. This phenomenon is called “increased intestinal permeability”, and it is commonly referred to as “leaky gut”.
When you have a leaky gut, your immune system is exposed to foreign materials, toxins and organisms which triggers the immune system to attack using powerful inflammatory compounds. This can set off a tragic downward spiral where the gut becomes more permeable, systemic inflammation takes off like a fire in a forest, and your “leaky gut” gets worse.
As you can see in the pictures below, some of the factors that lead to increased intestinal permeability are:
- Stress—physical and psychological
- Medications—anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs like ibuprofen), antibiotics
- Small Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Chronic illnesses: Diabetes, Autoimmune illness
- Food allergies
Once the fires of inflammation are set off in your gut, your immune system release ever more inflammatory compounds like cytokines and interleukins in a misguided attempt to solve the problem. This can ultimately lead to the destruction of the mucosal layer of the intestinal tract and cause poor absorption of essential nutrients from our food. In more severe cases the inflammation spreads throughout the body. This is why intestinal permeability has been linked to conditions such as:
- Multiple organ failure
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory joint disease
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Juvenile onset arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Food allergy
- Atopic dermatitis, eczema
- Chronic heart failure
- Psychological disorders
- Pelvic radiotherapy
Re-establishing a healthy gut mucosa is integral to health, nutrient absorption and a normally functioning immune system. The ingredients in this IV have been shown to help in this process.
L-glutamine is an important energy source for the cells of the intestinal mucosa and is conditionally essential for normal mucosal structure and function. Glutamine appears to be required for normal production of secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) in the intestines. Secretory IgA is the most abundant immunoglobulin in external secretions and is central to the normal function of the intestinal mucosa as an immune barrier. Glutamine also seems to help maintain gut mass and protect intestinal barrier function against bacteria and may be essential to survival during critical illness in humans.
Research has shown that the addition of L-glutamine to total parenteral nutrition TPN (IV nutrition for the critically ill) prevents pathologic increase in intestinal permeability in humans. A 1993 controlled study in 20 randomly assigned hospital inpatients compared the effects of standard total parenteral nutrition (STPN) to glutamine-enriched total parenteral nutrition (Gln-TPN). Investigators concluded that supplementation of TPN with glutamine prevented deterioration of gut permeability and preserved mucosal structure.
Glutamine-enriched TPN also preserves Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) function and intestinal IgA levels in animal studies. A 2005 controlled animal study showed that glutamine added to the diet led to a significant reduction of increased intestinal permeability and bacterial translocation in experimental biliary obstruction. In a 2015 study glutamine was also shown to restore the tight junction proteins between intestinal cells in diarrhea dominant IBS (1-8).
Zinc—also included in this IV—is a mineral with many important functions in metabolism. For example, it seems to help control intestinal permeability. In a 2015 study of children admitted to the hospital with gastroenteritis (diarrhea) those given hydration fortified with zinc had greatly improved intestinal permeability (9)
It is likely that in mucosal damage and inflammation the cells of the intestine are faced with increased oxidative stress and antioxidant depletion, making antioxidants such as vitamin C and glutathione useful in treatment. A 1995 study in patients with IBD showed significantly decreased levels of vitamin C in mucosal tissues compared to non-IBD controls. (10). Studies have also shown that the intestinal layer of patients with active Ulcerative Colitis (UC) were low in trace minerals like zinc, iron and selenium as well as in glutathione peroxidase signifying a tissue antioxidant deficiency versus those with inactive UC (11).
- Yalcin SS, Yurdakok K, Tezcan I, Oner L. Effect of glutamine supplementation on diarrhea, interleukin-8 and secretory immunoglobulin A in children with acute diarrhea. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 38(5):494-501.
- Burke DJ, Alverdy JC, Aoys E, Moss GS. Glutamine-supplemented total parenteral nutrition improves gut immune function. Arch Surg. 124(12):1396-1399.
- Klein S. Glutamine: and essential nonessential amino acid for the gut. Gastroenterology. 99(1):279-281.
- Alverdy JC. Effects of glutamine-supplemented diets on immunology of the gut. J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 14(4 Suppl):109S-113S.
- van der Hulst RR, van Kreel BK, von Meyenfeldt MF, et al. Glutamine and the preservation of gut integrity. Lancet. 341(8857):1363-1365.
- Kudsk KA, Wu Y, Fukatsu K, et al. Glutamine-enriched total parenteral nutrition maintains intestinal interleukin-4 and mucosal immunoglobulin A levels. J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 24(5):270-274; discussion 274-275.
- White JS, Hoper M, Parks RW, et al. Glutamine improves intestinal barrier function in experimental biliary obstruction. Eur Surg Res. 37(6):342-347.
- Bertrand J, Ghouzali I, Guérin C, Bôle-Feysot C, Gouteux M, Déchelotte P, Coëffier M. Glutamine Restores Tight Junction Protein Claudin-1 Expression in Colonic Mucosa of Patients With Diarrhea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 0148607115587330.
- Tran C D, Hawkes J, Graham RD, Kitchen JL, Symonds EL, Davidson GP, Butler RN. Zinc-fortified oral rehydration solution improved intestinal permeability and small intestinal mucosal recovery. Clinical pediatrics, 54(7), 676-682
- Buffinton GD, Doe WF. Depleted mucosal antioxidant defences in inflammatory bowel disease.Free Radic Biol Med. 19(6):911-918
- Sturniolo GC, Mestriner C, Lecis PE, D’ODORICO A, Venturi C, Irato P, D’INCÀ R. Altered plasma and mucosal concentrations of trace elements and antioxidants in active ulcerative colitis. Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology, 33(6), 644-649.