Why Would an Arthritis Product Treat Leaky Gut?
Having addressed the subject of leaky gut syndrome in my last newsletter, I thought now would be a good time to follow up on some anecdotal feedback we received from a health food store, which sells our NutriStart products. The owner of this store reported that she has had much success recommending our JointStart Supreme (an arthritis product) for treating leaky gut issues, so I set out to investigate each of the ingredients in JointStart Supreme, in order to find out why this product might be effective at helping to heal the gut lining.
What is Leaky Gut?
I will begin with a more detailed definition of what leaky gut is, as I only touched on the subject in my last newsletter.
When our gut lining is in good health, our intestinal mucosa allows the absorption of essential nutrients, while at the same time providing a barrier against the absorption of toxic substances into the body.
When the intestinal mucosa increases in permeability it allows for an increased absorption of antigens, endotoxins, inflammatory compounds, and even intact bacteria. This is the condition we refer to as leaky gut syndrome.
Once these pathogenic agents enter the bloodstream, they wreak havoc throughout the body, often even finding their way into the brain. I discussed many of the diseases caused by leaky gut in the last newsletter, so here it will suffice to say that the ailments are usually inflammatory in nature, and can affect the body and/or the brain (and thus are implicated in psychological and neurological conditions).
And, while increased permeability of the gut lining leads to increased absorption of pathogens, it paradoxically also leads to malabsorption of essential nutrients. Thus, not only are we under the stress of having to cope with additional toxins, but we are denied the nutrients essential to helping us cope with this additional burden to the body.
The response of the immune system to these invasive compounds is to go on the attack, which is an inflammatory response. This excessive inflammation can manifest as a variety of diseases (see last newsletter), including autoimmune conditions as the immune system attacks healthy cells, and organs, in an attempt to hunt down and eradicate the toxins flooding our system. (Source)
Given that inflammation is a big part of leaky gut syndrome, it is not overly surprising that JS Supreme would be of some help treating such symptoms, since it is chock full of natural anti-inflammatory compounds. However, more than just reducing inflammation, it appears that many of the substances found in JS Supreme also help to heal the gut lining. Let’s have a look at the ingredients in this product, and what benefits they might provide for treating leaky gut syndrome.
Boswellia is derived from frankincense resin, and is currently being tested by the scientific community to confirm its historical track record for treating certain types of cancer. (Source)
For our purposes here, however, the title of one study sums it up perfectly: “Boswellia serrata Preserves Intestinal Epithelial Barrier from Oxidative and Inflammatory Damage.”
This study showed that it appeared to be the antioxidant activity of boswellia that was involved in the “maintenance of the integrity and function of the intestinal epithelium” and in “protecting intestinal epithelial barrier from inflammatory damage”. (Study)
Bromelain is a protein digesting enzyme derived from pineapple, and is often used to treat indigestion or gastrointestinal disorders. Like all proteolytic (protein digesting) enzymes (including pancreatin, serrapeptidase, papain, and protease), bromelain has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Of course, as with all such enzymes, their first job is to digest protein, and only in the absence of protein will they move to their secondary function, which is to reduce inflammation. Thus these enzymes need to be taken on an empty stomach, or at least away from foods containing protein.
“Studies suggest that bromelain decreases colonic inflammation and reduces secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines that damage the gut lining.” (Study)
Ginger is another digestive aid with strong anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to be as effective as aspirin and ibuprofen at reducing inflammation in the body. Ginger has been used for centuries as a treatment for heartburn, menstruation problems, migraines, morning and motion sickness, and nausea. And, “ginger also has an antimicrobial ability which resists bacteria commonly involved in leaky-gut or gastrointestinal infection”. (Source)
Dr. Amy Myers, one of the most respected names in alternative medicine, believes that bone broth is one of the most important foods for repairing a leaky gut, and points out that bone broth contains glucosamine.
“Bone broth contains gelatin and collagen, two superstars for supporting a healthy mucosal lining, proper digestion, and intestinal functioning. Glucosamine in bone broth assists in repairing a leaky gut by combating inflammation and stimulating the growth of new collagen. Bone broth also contains amino acids like glycine and glutamine that aid digestion and promotes gut health.” (Source)
Supplemental hyaluronic acid (HLA) is included in JS Supreme for its ability to lubricate the joints, and is often taken in supplemental form for eye health (and is found in some eye drops). In foods, one of the highest sources of HLA is bone broth.
According to Dr. Josh Axe, an expert on leaky gut, “adding hyaluronic acid-rich foods and supplements in your diet, such as bone broth or protein powder made from bone broth, can help to encourage the gastrointestinal system’s natural healing process and potentially protect from leaky gut syndrome”. (Source)
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is commonly used to treat arthritic conditions, or sports injuries, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and because the sulfur component helps to repair tendons and ligaments.
MSM also helps to alleviate allergic symptoms, including those caused by food allergies, contact allergies, inhalation allergies, etc. It is able to reduce allergy symptoms by binding to the mucosa, thus blocking the interface between the allergens and the host. And, since it can bind to the mucosa, MSM improves cell permeability.
This ability of MSM has led one expert to claim that, “Given time, MSM will start to repair the damage causing the gut to leak. MSM improves the permeability and the absorption capabilities of the cells in your intestinal tract, it can improve your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.” (Source)
The aforementioned Dr. Axe ( author of Eat Dirt), also recommends MSM for this condition.
“It’s also useful for helping treat leaky gut syndrome since it can help stop particles from leaching out the gut through small junction openings, where they can enter the bloodstream and ignite an inflammatory response. This is due in part to the sulfur in an MSM supplement, which is important for digestion.” (Source)