Naturally Treating Gut Inflammation
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. The most common manifestations of this condition are defined as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, both of which are characterized by abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, rectal bleeding, and/or weight loss.
Those with undiagnosed inflammation of the lining of the colon will show symptoms which include constant abdominal pain, cramping, and/or diarrhea.
While drugs are often used to control this condition (and often surgical removal of parts of the intestines), one group of researchers focused on drug-free potential treatments. Their study used a mixture of krill oil, the probiotic L. reuteri, and vitamin D3 (KLD), in an attempt to see if the three elements would work together synergistically to reduce gut inflammation. Studies were done both in vitro (with cell lines), and in vivo (with mice).
Some of the inflamed cell lines and mice were exposed to krill oil, vitamin D, and/or L. reuteri alone, while others received the combination of all three (KLD).
Results indicated that “KLD restores epithelial cell-cell adhesion and mucosal healing during inflammation, while decreasing the adhesiveness and invasiveness of AIEC (pathogenic) bacteria.”
Furthermore, in the mice “KLD significantly improves body weight, clinical score, histological score and large intestine length of mice with DSS-induced colitis.”
The study concluded that the combination of all three components was highly effective, strongly decreasing inflammation, reducing harmful bacteria, and rebuilding the intestinal mucosa. (Study)
We know, as did the researchers, that both vitamin D and krill oil have anti-inflammatory properties. But, let’s have a closer look at the probiotic they used: L. reuteri.
L. reuteri is an indigenous bacteria of the human GI tract with a number of proven beneficial effects, which I will now briefly touch upon.
As noted in the study above, L. reuteri can reduce harmful bacteria in the gut, which it does by producing antimicrobial molecules. “Due to its antimicrobial activity, L. reuteri is able to inhibit the colonization of pathogenic microbes and remodel the commensal microbiota composition in the host.”
“L. reuteri can benefit the host immune system. For instance, some L. reuteri strains can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines while promoting regulatory T cell development and function.”
“Bearing the ability to strengthen the intestinal barrier, the colonization of L. reuteri may decrease the microbial translocation from the gut lumen to the tissues. Microbial translocation across the intestinal epithelium has been hypothesized as an initiator of inflammation.”
This “ability to strengthen the intestinal barrier” is of great benefit to anyone, but especially for those with leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune conditions, and for those on the autism spectrum.
Even more exciting is the potential for this probiotic to strengthen the blood brain barrier. As I described in my blog on the subject of Maintaining The Blood-Brain Barrier, the probiotic L. plantarum improved both gut and blood brain barrier integrity. This would lead me to believe that any probiotic that improves gut integrity, such as L. reuteri, would also improve blood brain barrier integrity. Indeed there is much scientific “evidence of a causal relationship between gut microbes and BBB integrity”, so it is no stretch to think that L. reuteri might also serve both functions. (Source)
Furthermore, L. reuteri’s benefit in reducing inflammation occurs not only in the gut, but as well in “remote tissues”, meaning that it can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. In fact, researchers have gone so far as to state that, “the decrease in the abundance of L. reuteri in humans in the past decades is correlated with an increase in the incidences of inflammatory diseases over the same period of time”.
They then conclude that “direct supplementation or prebiotic modulation of L. reuteri may be an attractive preventive and/or therapeutic avenue against inflammatory diseases”. (Source)
Given that L. reuteri is a natural resident of our intestinal tracts, and that prebiotics can encourage its colonization, I would be remiss if I did not at this point suggest the use of NutriStart’s Lactospore product. As most readers are aware, Lactospore is not a probiotic per se, but functions more like a prebiotic, simply encouraging the growth of indigenous good bacteria in our gut.
It is most rewarding to find another area where stacking NutriStart products offers an even wider range of benefits than each supplement on its own. Personally, I already use NutriKrill, Quick D, and Lactospore Supreme, just to cover my bases as far as omega 3’s, vitamin D, and probiotics are concerned. So, it only inspires further appreciation for my supplement regimen to discover that these substances are also protecting my gut integrity (and possibly my blood brain barrier as well).
And, as we saw in the newsletter on how JointStart Supreme helps to heal leaky gut syndrome, many of our products serve multiple functions as it is. This is because, while Health Canada requires all natural products to make a claim (and prove it with scientific research), anyone familiar with herbs or nutrients knows all natural supplements have more than one use or function in the body.