// 7/1/16 addition: This post is for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which is not well understood, easy to diagnose or treat, and can be life threatening when more severe symptoms continue long term. The condition can continue for years or be a life long issue that flairs up at times and is less severe at other times.
Dietary tips can be helpful but why some foods seem to trigger symptoms while others don’s has not been well understood either. The common factor underlying why some foods seem to be triggers for many people may be the TRP channels that are found in cells throughout the intestines and actually in most cells of most life forms. //
So what do osmo-mechanical stress, changes of temperature, chili powder, curry powder, ginger, Benicar, hormone D, steroids, and cannabinoids all have in common?
They all may be able to overstimulate Transient Receptor Potential channels (TRP channels) within the gastrointestinal system and cause severe diarrhea in susceptible individuals.
“In many cases, the activation mechanism of TRP channels is unclear (Figure 1), but known activators include specific agonists such as mustard oil (TRPA1) and capsaicin (TRPV1), an increase in intracellular Ca2+ (TRPM4, 5), temperature (heat: TRPV1, 2, 3, 4, TRPM4, 5; cold: TRPM8, TRPA1), mechanical or osmotic stress (TRPV4, TRPCs?) and phospholipase C (PLC) activation. TRP channel activity can be further modulated by intracellular phosphatidylinositol phosphates, such as PI(4,5)P2 and membrane potential, but also by inflammatory mediators, cannabinoids and steroids (Nilius, 2007; Rohacs, 2007; Nilius and Voets, 2008).” [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3012403/]
The TRP channels are a large group found in many species of life from yeast, to worms, fish and mammels. The agonists/activating chemicals for many of the types of TRP channels have not all been identified as of yet.
One type of TRP channels were formerly called Vanilloid Receptors, and are now called TRPV channels. Vanilloid Receptors were known to be activated by capsaicin found in hot peppers and chili powder. And more recent or less well known research has also found that they can be activated by cannabinoids and steroids, (see the link from the excerpt above), and osmomechanical stress.
Osmo-mechanical stress might be a precursor to edema, excess fluid in the extracellular space; if an organ or cell over fills with fluid it would mechanically be adding physical pressure to the organ or cell — and instead of popping like an overfull water balloon the TRP channels open in response to the physical pressure and let the excess fluid leak out into the extracellular space or into the area surrounding the heart for example. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92821/] Fibrotic heart disease would be adding mechanical stretching stress within the heart. TRP channels are being studied for possible use in preventing fibrotic heart disease. From that research article, we are told that changes in temperature may also activate them:
“The activation mechanisms of TRP channel are highly diversified. Some TRP channels appear to be constitutively active, whereas others are activated by Gq-linked receptor activation, oxidative stress, changes of temperature, or an elevation of intracellular Ca2+ [126–128]. All the TRP channels appear to be regulated by PIP2 [134–137] .” [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874073/]
- PIP2 = phosphoinositides = phosphatidylinositol phosphates (PIPs) = phosphorylated deriviatives of phosphatidylinositol (PI) [http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.cellbio.21.021704.102317]
- PIP2 = phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate and PI, and phospholipase C (PLC) from the first excerpt, are involved in cannabinoid metabolism within plasma membranes: [page 9 Kendall et. al., Behavioral Neurobiology of the Endocannabinoid System (Springer, 2009, New York)]
Steroids and hormone D function similarly. And Benicar and curcumin can function similarly to hormone D. And curcumin is a medically active extract from turmeric, a powdered spice that is a main ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric is made from the root of a plant that is biologically very similar to ginger, which is also a root that is used as a dried spice or may be used as a chopped vegetable in stir-fry dishes and other foods. Ginger has over 400 active phytochemicals, and one of them might be acting similarly to the curcumin — but that is speculation based on the similarity of symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome that both ginger and curry powder stimulate.
Because — what else do osmomechanical stress, changes of temperature, chili powder, curry powder, ginger, Benicar, hormone D, steroids, and cannabinoids all have in common? — They all may irritate Irritable Bowel Syndrome, (IBS), for some people, along with emotional stress and other things like eating fructose in much quantity (example: from a piece of fruit or fruit juice) or gassy vegetables like cabbage and cruciferous vegetables and beans (gas would be adding mechanical pressure to those TRP channels which might be an over-active culprit in IBS patients).
- The book, “Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Nutrition You Can Live With; Including Dozens of Healthful Mouth-Watering Recipes,” by Elaine Mager, M.P.H., R.D., includes dietary advice and other information about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). (Warning – most of the recipes contain gluten
- Re corticosteroids and hormone D: http://www.oapublishinglondon.com/article/1471
Other diseases that are not well understood but which involve edema and excess fluid entering the area between cells include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).
- TRP channels theoretically may be involved in COPD but more research is needed: The role of Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels in the pathogenesis of COPD, by M. Baxter, 2013 https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk/handle/10044/1/29840
- A graphic image from a 2014 paper shows several different types of TRP channels & which types of triggers they react to and their role in COPD, so more research occurred (arachidonic acid derivatives is another way to say a breakdown product of cannabinoids, low pH – acidity, oxidative stress, and cigarette smoking and other environmental irritants are also mentioned as possible triggers of TRP channels involved in COPD): The Role of TRP channels in COPD, Figure 4 of 4, from
K. E. Baker, et al., Novel drug targets for asthma and COPD: Lessons learned from in vitro and in vivo models, June 2014: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/263098278_fig4_Fig-4-The-role-of-TRP-channels-in-COPD
- TRP channels are also involved in heart disease and Congestive Heart Failure (CHF): http://ajpheart.physiology.org/content/308/3/H157
- Oxidative stress in the placenta may be involved in pre-eclampsia, a prenatal complication involving hypertension and edema which can become life threatening if it worsens into eclampsia. Pathology of the Human Placenta, page 128-129, Potassium channels may be involved along with a lack of oxygen and the increase of calcium flow into cells. Ion channels typically use the electrical power of magnesium, potassium, sodium or calcium to power their energy needs and allow them to function to selectively allow transport of some chemicals across cell membranes without allowing an open flow of any amount or any type. https://books.google.com/books?id=NxvikswRnOIC&pg=PA129&lpg=PA129&dq=preeclampsia+and+TRP+channels&source=bl&ots=yAQU5prQ7R&sig=LWaEjNtAjByu7sdsUJKEjO6ho0U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjou4ey8MfTAhXLs1QKHRhLCfMQ6AEISDAF#v=onepage&q=preeclampsia%20and%20TRP%20channels&f=false
So a lack of adequate potassium or magnesium might be involved in allowing too much calcium to enter the interior of cells where it can act as a trigger to increase the flow across the TRP channels even more.
/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./