Monday, June 1, 2009

Inflammation in the Gut = DNA Damage that Affects Whole Body

Inflammation bad. Protection of the gut good.

If you read my blog regularly, follow Dr. Rodier's work, or subscribe to our newsletter, you've gotten the spiel many times before.

Now, pathology, toxicology, and oncology researchers are getting hip to this concept. UCLA researchers just published in Cancer Research their findings that "local intestinal inflammation induced DNA damage to lymphocytes of the peripheral blood circulating throughout the body. This means that chromosome damage was not limited to the intestine, but involved tissues of the body distant from the site of inflammation." Research confirmed that the severity of colitis in the mice being studied correlated to levels of chromosome damage in the blood.

Alas, I know a little more than the average person about intestinal issues, from first-hand experience as well as through family members with first-hand experience.

I found the quote by Dr. Jonathan Braun, professor and chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UCLA and one of the study's authors compelling:

"Patients come to us with abdominal complaints and we can’t tell if they are inflammatory, obstructive or a bacterial overgrowth. At present, the only way to diagnose the patients is to do full endoscopic examinations, which are both invasive and expensive.” Braun went on to say that a "biomarker blood test could replace the invasive endoscopic exam and allow physicians to identify smoldering inflammatory disease before it becomes full blown."

Why was I so drawn to this piece of research today? I just had a scare of my own, with a couple of days in the hospital from late last Thursday through Saturday afternoon. No need to worry, I'm back at work and feisty as ever after a couple of days on IVs and no food to allow a bowel obstruction to release (phew, escaped surgery, thank heavens!).

Although I've talked a lot about my autoimmune/leaky gut diagnosis last year and my dad's intestinal issues, I don't think I've ever told my readers about a bad surgery I had at age 18 that has caused no end of havoc with extensive surgical adhesions (including a miscarriage and two ecotopic pregnancies--I've been told there's a bit of a spider web of adhesions in my belly).

Besides my personal interest in intestinal health, I always love to see research with a bent toward prevention, especially prevention of cancer.

Even if conventional docs will use the new testing to prescribe anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, integrative docs will have a new diagnostic to convince their sometimes-reluctant patients to change their lifestyles, diets, and environmental exposures to reduce intestinal inflammation, post-haste! A lot more is at stake than annoying irritation of the bowel.


Anonymous said...

Right on Cindy!

Last year I had all the IBS symptoms. It took forever for my primary care MD to refer me to a gastro MD. He found small intestine inflammation and I was producing too much bile acids.

The inflammation wreaks havoc on your energy level and general health.

Cindy Marteney, CEO, Our Health Co-op said...

Arlene, Have you ever taken glutamine? It's a critical healer for inflammation of the GI tract. My naturopath recommended 2.5 grams a day and the jar I have has a scoop size of 5 grams, so I recommend it in powder versus capsule form.

A more alkaline diet, omega 3's, digestive enzymes, probiotics, greens, and botanicals like ginger and Panax ginseng are also valuable in helping the gut regain good health. I hope you are doing well.

Warm regards,