February 4, 2019
What is Gut Health and Why is it Important?
Our gut plays a crucial role in our overall health. If we have impaired gut health, it can impact our ability to absorb nutrients, the gut ecosystem, the health of our immune system, hormonal function, the state of our mental health and our ability to physically train to our maximum ability. The gut has millions of neurons all releasing the same neurotransmitters as the brain, and it’s for this reason that the gastrointestinal tract is often referred to as the ‘second brain’. With so much responsibility for ensuring the healthy functioning of so many biological systems within the body, it’s crucial that the intestinal lining is optimal for proper gut health.
What Causes Damage to the Intestinal Lining?
There are many ways the intestinal lining can become damaged. Drinking heavily, smoking, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen or using cocaine, all for extended periods, can cause damage to the gut wall. Physical stress to the gut, including injury, surgery or an illness such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or severe viral infection can also damage the lining of the intestines.
One of the most common ways the intestinal lining is damaged is by an infection by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. H.pylori is capable of getting into the lining of the gut and infecting it, especially if the lining is already thin or damaged by other means. This infection results in gastritis, an inflammation of the gut lining, which causes nausea, vomiting, and indigestion.
What are the Consequences of a Damaged Intestinal Lining?
A damaged gut wall can lead to problems with absorption of nutrients, which can itself lead to malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies.
If left untreated, a damaged gut wall could lead to bleeding and the formation of ulcers.
A condition called leaky gut syndrome can also develop. The gastrointestinal system breaks down food, turns it into usable nutrients for absorption and assimilation and then eliminates the waste. In leaky gut syndrome, partially digested food is able to pass into the bloodstream via the damaged part of the gut wall.
This can cause food intolerances and inflammation. Inflammation triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which stresses the body further and negatively affects the immune system.
Sufferers of a leaky gut may then develop allergies, weight gain, problems with their skin and reduced athletic performance – all things they may not associate with problems with the gut.
How do Gut Health Supplements Help?
There are a number of supplements that can help restore gut health when taken along with a healthy diet free from processed foods, saturated animal fat, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
Probiotics, that contain good gut bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus help restore the delicate balance of good vs bad bacteria in the gut, the so-called microbiome. Equally, prebiotics, a type of fiber found in fermented foods such as kimchi and kefir, help good bacteria to flourish.
The amino acids commonly added to post-workout recovery shakes, L-Glutamine, also helps to seal areas of increased permeability in leaky gut syndrome.
There are also branded ingredients like AstraGin® that are specifically formulated for the health of the intestinal wall. AstraGin® is made up of two highly specified extracts of Astragalus membranaceus and Panax notoginseng. These two extracts help repair damaged and inflamed lining of the intestinal wall by increasing the mTOR pathway activated protein synthesis, allowing it to function properly. These compounds also stimulate transporters to help vital nutrients pass through and into the bloodstream for utilization.
When the lumen is damaged, it is much harder for these nutrients to pass through and be utilized by the body. Similar ingredients only focus on the absorption of nutrients when looking at this problem, but AstraGin® addresses the underlying challenges. By focusing on both the healthy structure of the intestinal wall, as well as nutrient absorption it grasps the whole picture rather than just one aspect. A healthy gut is vital to a healthy body.
If you'd like to learn more about AstraGin® please contact us below and one of our business development representatives will be happy to connect with you: