Your Road to Wellness

Gastrointestinal Health

Magnesium is Even More Important than We Used to Think

Posted by on Brain, Cardiovascular Disease, Eating, Gastrointestinal Health, General Health, Health, magnesium, Vitamin D | 0 comments

Research is documenting how functions, organs, and nutrients are all interconnected. We cannot look at anything as separate entities anymore if we are going to get an accurate impression of what happens physiologically from the input of nutrient intake as well as exercise. The GI tract is one example where researchers have documented communication between the GI tract and the brain. We know the brain also communicates with the GI tract.

Intestinal absorption and subsequent metabolism of a nutrient, to a certain extent, is dependent on the availability of other nutrients.

The following research is showing us how the intake and the impact of magnesium are affecting vitamin D levels.

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Magnesium assists in the activation of vitamin D because all of the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D seem to require magnesium (Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS, 2018).

Deficiency in either of these nutrients is reported to be associated with skeletal deformities, cardiovascular diseases, and the metabolic syndrome.

The next study indicates the same thing. The researchers found that higher intake of magnesium resulted in higher blood levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), which is the most reliable way to measure vitamin D status (Deng X, et.al., 2013).

They also found associations of serum 25(OH)D with mortality, particularly due to cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer, and they were modified by magnesium intake. Magnesium has shown to reduce calcification of the arteries (Hruby A, et.al., 2014).

This means that if you must take a very high amount of vitamin D to keep your vitamin D level in a good range, you most likely need magnesium. If you take enough magnesium in a well-absorbed form, you should not need to take high amounts of vitamin D to keep it at a good level. What we also learn from research like this, is how important it is to take magnesium or any of the other common minerals in a formula that combines these minerals, since they affect each other. Amino acid chelates are the best form to take minerals because they are better absorbed and better tolerated. They don’t cause gastrointestinal irritation.

 

 

References
Deng X, Song Y, Manson JE, Signorello LB, Zhang SM, Shrubsole MJ, Ness RM, Seidner DL, Dai Q. Magnesium, vitamin D status and mortality: results from US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001 to 2006 and NHANES III. BMC Med. 2013 Aug 27;11:187.

Hruby A1, O’Donnell CJ2, Jacques PF1, Meigs JB3, Hoffmann U4, McKeown NM5. Magnesium intake is inversely associated with coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Heart Study. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Jan;7(1):59-69.

Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018 Mar 1;118(3):181-189.

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Can the Gi-tract cause inflammation elsewhere?

Posted by on Gastrointestinal Health | 0 comments

We tend to think of the gastrointestinal tract as related to digestion and absorption of food, electrolytes and the regulation of the water balance (homeostasis) in the body.

This is no doubt correct, but we are discovering that it is also much more than that.

One very important function is to regulate what’s let through the gastrointestinal barrier.

We don’t want to absorb just about anything.

I think everybody would agree that it would not be healthy.

What happens if we absorb particles over the intestinal wall that the body is not designed to handle?

The body would defend itself, that’s what the immune system is designed to do.

It will protect us the best way it can.

That means it will produce an immune response which is the same as an inflammatory response.

Some researchers like Fasano at Harvard University are even suggesting that this may be at least one of the reasons we develop autoimmunity (Fasano A, Shea-Donohue T, et al. 2005).

The inflammation triggered in the gastrointestinal tract does not only stay there, but it affects the rest of the body as well.

An irritation of the gastrointestinal membranes may lead to what is called a leaky gut, which means that particles that was not meant to be absorbed are let through the GI-barrier.

This will trigger an inflammatory response.

Certain food may trigger this and the bacterial flora in the gastrointestinal tract will also influence this.

It may be multiple factors.

Because inflammation is a risk factor for chronic disease and also a contributing factor for pain, it is very important to keep our GI tract healthy.

I will write more about this, but an easy way to start healing your GI tract, is to avoid food you know you don’t tolerate.

It would also be beneficial if you start taking a nutritional formula that contains substances found to reduce irritation and inflammation of the GI-tract and support healing.

To take a probiotic that has shown to help eliminate harmful bacteria will also be good.

Fasano A1, Shea-Donohue T. Mechanisms of disease: the role of intestinal barrier function in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal autoimmune diseases. Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Sep;2(9):416-22.

 

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How quickly can you change the gastrointestinal flora?

Posted by on Gastrointestinal Health | 0 comments

These bacteria even affect our mood, more of the friendly bacteria results in a better mood.

How can we change and improve the gastrointestinal flora?

There are numerous formulas on the market promising to do that and while some of them may be helpful, there is still a lot of beneficial bacteria we don’t know about.

We do know what these friendly bacteria like to feed on, so why not give them what they like?

Why not give them different food for a few days and see what happens?

That’s exactly what was done in this study (David LA, et al. 2014).

For 5 days the participants were given a diet of mainly animal products, and for another 5 days they were given a diet composed of plant products.

Their gastrointestinal flora was evaluated before they started and after each diet.

It only took 4 days before the flora had changed.

When the participants ate the animal based diet, their flora changed to accommodate that kind of food, and when they ate the plant based diet, their bacteria changed to accommodate that diet.

What’s important, however, is that the abundance and activity of Bilophila wadsworthia produced by the animal based diet supported a link between dietary fat, bile acids and the outgrowth of microorganisms capable of triggering inflammatory bowel disease.

It is important to keep in mind that inflammation triggered in the gastrointestinal tract goes systemically which means it affects the rest of the body.

Now you have a choice, you just have to decide what kind of bacteria you want to feed.

David LA1, Maurice CF2, Carmody RN2, Gootenberg DB2, Button JE2, Wolfe BE2, Ling AV3, Devlin AS4, Varma Y4, Fischbach MA4, Biddinger SB3, Dutton RJ2, Turnbaugh PJ2. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2014 Jan 23;505(7484):559-63. doi: 10.1038/nature12820. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

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What you eat determines your bacterial flora.

Posted by on Gastrointestinal Health | 0 comments

Why should you care about the bacteria you have in your gastrointestinal tract? Does it really matter as long as you don’t have diarrhea?

Yes, it does matter.

The type of bacteria you have in your gastrointestinal tract affects much more than your gastrointestinal tract. These bacteria can have an impact on your whole body and affect how you feel in many ways.

Some of the conditions these bacteria affects are irritable bowel disease, nonalcoholic liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis (Goldsmith JR, Sartor B, 2014). These bacteria can even affect your brain.

Research has discovered that greater bacterial diversity is more beneficial because lower diversity has been associated with insulin resistance, increased inflammation, increased cholesterol and triglycerides and even weight gain (Goldsmith JR, Sartor B, 2014).

How do we feed the bacteria that will reduce inflammation and produce the beneficial effects?

These bacteria use fiber as fuel, so the more plant based our diet is, the better it is.  A diet high in animal protein has been shown to produce more of a group of bacteria that have been associated with inflammation.

When we provide food for these good bacteria they return the favor by producing short chain fatty acids which the cells of our gastrointestinal tract use as fuel.

This results in healthier mucous membranes, preventing what is termed leaky gut, and the result is less inflammation.

Goldsmith JR1, Sartor RB. The role of diet on intestinal microbiota metabolism: downstream impacts on host immune function and health, and therapeutic implications. J Gastroenterol. 2014 May;49(5):785-98. doi: 10.1007/s00535-014-0953-z. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

 

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