By Keith Weingardt, DVM, CVA
An optimally functioning digestive system is the foundation for a healthy animal. ThorneVet’s Gastriplex is designed to provide the foundational support for optimal bowel health in the dog, cat, and horse. An animal’s digestive tract can become unhealthy due to consumption of highly processed diets, adverse reactions to foods, the presence of chronic inflammation, and development of a bowel terrain/environment that does not support a healthy probiotic population, but instead allows for pathogenic bacteria to overgrow.
When the intestine is suffering from chronic inflammation, the inflammation can cause increased permeability of the intestine, which can result in the introduction of toxins and other compounds into the bloodstream that would otherwise be contained in the bowel – a process often described as a “leaky gut.” The existence of a leaky gut usually causes a cascade of negative reactions that up-regulates the immune system to over-react to these foreign substances, feeding a vicious cycle of inflammation, not just in the intestine, but also systemically throughout the body. Gastriplex is designed to address both the excess inflammation that can cause an increase in permeability, as well as helping to seal the tight junctions in the gut to decrease the potential for leakage.
The amino acid Glutamine is the primary fuel for the enterocytes, the cells that line the intestine and play a critical role in maintaining mucosal cell integrity and gut barrier function. Glutamine also supports immune function in the digestive tract. Many stressors can impact the normal function of the enterocytes. By providing supplemental Glutamine, Gastriplex ensures there is an adequate supply of Glutamine for optimal enterocyte function and bowel integrity. Similarly, the amide N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (NAG) also promotes a healthy mucin layer in the gut. This beneficially protects the gut mucosa from potential damage from harmful enzymes, bacteria, and undesirable changes in pH. NAG also inhibits the binding of bacteria to the gut mucosa and enhances the growth of the beneficial bacterial species Bifidobacterium bifidum.
By reducing inflammation and by maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosa, the bowel environment becomes more conducive to the growth of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. Gastriplex incorporates the spore-forming, stable probiotic Bacillus coagulans into the formula to facilitate the growth of these types of beneficial organisms. Bacillus coagulans is specifically chosen because of its natural spore form, a form that allows it to bypass degradation by stomach acids and to become activated in the intestine. Gastriplex also includes Saccharomyces boulardii, a non-pathogenic yeast that helps decrease intestinal permeability and increase the production of secretory IgA, the first-line defense of immunoglobulin in the gastrointestinal tract.
Of special note, ThorneVet’s newly reformulated version of Gastriplex has been upgraded to now include the tissue-ready form of Vitamin B12 – Methylcobalamin. Companion animals who have inflammatory bowel issues have been shown to have reduced absorption of Vitamin B12. Oral supplementation of this tissue-ready form of Vitamin B12 provides this important co-factor for many of the animal’s integral biochemical processes. Gastriplex now also includes L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (or 5-MTHF), a tissue-ready form of Folate that provides important support for optimal liver detoxification, as well as cardiovascular health and nervous system function.
Both Pantothenic Acid, also known as Vitamin B5, and Folate, also known as Vitamin B9, help convert digested food, especially carbohydrates, into energy. The presence of Pantothenic Acid is also required to help break down cholesterol. These three B vitamins are included in Gastriplex because these B vitamins are often deficient in situations of a companion animal having compromised nutrient absorption or poor digestive function.
Gastriplex also includes several botanical extracts that reinforce the actions of the other compounds in the formula in a synergistic fashion. Slippery Elm provides soothing protection for the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is well known for its ability to promote a healthy digestive tract, especially for down-regulating the undesirable processes that can cause inflammation or irritation of the stomach and duodenum. And to provide ongoing protection of the intestinal tract against inflammation, Gastriplex includes Quercetin, an antioxidant flavonoid that scavenges free radicals and promotes a healthy inflammatory response. Quercetin is provided as a phytosome complex – Quercetin bound to sunflower-sourced lecithin – which significantly enhances Quercetin’s bioavailability.
By addressing the processes that can cause digestive dysfunction from multiple avenues, ThorneVet’s Gastriplex truly provides a broad-spectrum solution to many of the digestive problems encountered in our veterinary patients.
Dr. Keith Weingardt owned and operated a holistic veterinary practice in San Diego, California, and currently owns and sees patients at Animal Healing Arts in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Weingardt has spent almost two decades studying a wide array of modalities to support his patients. He is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and has received extensive training and certification in Chinese Medicine – Herbology. Dr. Weingardt blends a foundation of nutrition with both Chinese and Western herbal medicine and appropriate nutritional supplement support to achieve optimal health for his veterinary patients.
Dr. Weingardt has a consulting relationship with ThorneVet.