Over the past several years there has been increasing appreciation of the significance of the integrity of the gut walls to the overall health of the entire body. A large body of literature now describes the phenomenon known as "leaky gut", a syndrome characterized by abnormal permeability of the gut to potentially toxic or antigenic materials. Inflamed bowels, alcoholism, rheumatic conditions involving the gut, allergic disorders, and a variety of other problems appear to be associated with abnormal gut permeability.
A related phenomenon, the subject of even more scientific attention, is bacterial translocation, whereby whole bacteria or bacterial poisons (endotoxins) pass through the gastrointestinal walls to be absorbed by the lymph glands, liver, lungs and other organs. This explosive bacterial translocation and the associated absorption of endotoxins can result in multiple organ failure.
A variety of natural materials have been shown in experimental and clinical studies to enhance the protective and barrier functions of the gut walls, and hence to diminish hyper-permeability and bacterial translocation. PermAvite formula provides a blend of these natural materials that may participate in maintaining the normal structure and functions of the gastrointestinal tract. Among PermAvite's key ingredients and actions:
Epidermal Growth Factor
Epidermal Growth Factor is a polypeptide that has a variety of biological effects that are relevant to gastrointestinal integrity and barrier function. It inhibits gastric acid secretion, promotes gastric healing, and may participate in the local defense of the duodenum. One study demonstrated a synergy of glutamine (above) with Epidermal Growth Factor in thickening the small intestine. In sum, Epidermal Growth Factor is established as a protective cytokine for the stomach, and it appears to be involved in maintaining the structural integrity of the whole GI tract.
Cellulose, Acacia and Slippery Elm
These materials supply insoluble and soluble varieties of fiber, both of which have a role. The soluble fibers ferment in the gut, releasing short-chain fatty acids such as acetate and butyrate. These fatty acids, in turn, provide direct intraluminal nutrition to the gut walls, enhancing their integrity and barrier function. Cellulose, which is almost pure insoluble fiber, apparently acts in a mechanical fashion (like a "broom"), having the main effects of dietary fibers, decreasing transit time and enhancing detoxification through various mechanisms, including direct binding of toxins in food.
This amino acid is important for gut barrier function and health. The significance of glutamine nutrition for the gut is underscored by the effects of experimentally-induced glutamine deficiency: diarrhea, villous atrophy, mucosal ulceration and intestinal necrosis. Supplemental glutamine stimulates the release of growth hormone, which has a protein-anabolic effect on the entire body, especially wounds or other areas that have suffered catabolic stress. Furthermore, supplemental glutamine has been shown to protect against bacterial translocation, promote healing, and to encourage the growth and absorptive capacity of the intestinal mucosa. Glutamine also fosters glycogen storage in muscle, and inhibits muscle atrophy induced by corticosteroids.
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are a special, naturally-occurring carbohydrate. Their unique advantage is that they are not digested or absorbed in the upper GI (like classic dietary carbohydrate) but are passed undigested to the colon where they can be fermented and used as fuel by colonic flora. FOS are preferentially used by the beneficial bacterial strains such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, the proliferation of which, in turn, tends to suppress the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Hence, FOS may indirectly contribute to reducing bacterial translocation by reducing the number of pathogenic organisms and their byproducts (endotoxin). Beneficial bacteria also protect the liver and colon by preventing the formation of toxic compounds, and they produce B-complex vitamins and antimicrobial substances.
N-Acetylglucosamine (NAG) is a principal constituent of mucopolysaccharides and is thus a vital compound in connective tissue. The gastric and gut epithelium is very rich in mucopolysaccharides which are involved in maintaining structural integrity. Further, supplemental NAG has been used both internally and externally to speed wound-healing. Last, NAG is a probiotic factor which stimulates the growth of favorable bacterial flora while opposing the growth of some pathogens (e.g. Candida albicans).
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