And what do osmomechanical stress, changes of temperature, chili powder, curry powder, ginger, Benicar, hormone D, steroids, and cannabinoids have in common?

// 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).” []

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. [] 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+ [126128]. All the TRP channels appear to be regulated by PIP2 [134137] .” []

  • PIP2 = phosphoinositides = phosphatidylinositol phosphates (PIPs) = phosphorylated deriviatives of phosphatidylinositol (PI) []
  • PIP2 = phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate and PI, and phospholipase C (PLC) from the first excerptare 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:

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).

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.

A summary:

/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./

Calcium sparklets, TRPV channels and vanilla

     Calcium sparklets are not a good thing, not in excess at least. This is just a few interesting articles that have TRPV channels in common. The calcium channels cause problems in a variety of ways for some people. Identifying who is at risk for problems with fluid balance could help prevent the chronic degenerative changes that can result from electrolyte imbalance. (This post led to parts of this webpage: Relaxation & Stress)
     I was amused when the search term ‘sparklets’ turned up something pertinent to my field of interest. TRPV channels and vanilloid receptors with overactive calcium flow can increase pain and other types of muscle and nerve signals.

Calcium sparklets are not a type of chewing gum. They are a sudden increase in flow of calcium through certain calcium channels in vascular tissue. A specific chemical trigger called protein kinase Calpha (PKCalpha) was found to signal L type calcium channels into increased calcium flow [3]. The sparklets occurred in diabetic vascular tissue following high blood sugar levels [2]. A cooperative action taking place with as few as three calcium channels needing to be open for maximal vasodilation to occur [1].
TRPV4 are a type of vanilloid receptor. Loss of function due to genetic difference has been associated with hyponatremia, low sodium blood levels. [6]

“TRPV4 is activated by hypotonicity in vitro, and perturbations of even a few mOsmol/kg H2O were sufficient to achieve this effect (5–7); such exquisite sensitivity closely parallels the in vivo mechanism whereby a change of only a few mOsmol/kg H2O influences release of arginine vasopressin. In rodents, TRPV4 is expressed in the blood–brain barrier-deficient central osmosensing nuclei (5, 35), and targeted deletion of the TRPV4 gene gives rise to aberrant osmoregulation in murine models (20, 21).” [6]

     Time to bake something with vanilla. The above paragraph’s reference to a blood-brain barrier deficiency having a genetic component suggests that susceptibility to headaches also could have a genetic component. The change in osmoregulation means that membranes could be more resistant to fluid and particles crossing or more open and barrierless (and  prone to get migraines). The problem could combine a deficiency in ability to transport needed nutrients into the cell with an increase in leakiness of important things out of or into the cell. The lack of nutrients like magnesium would further reduce the calcium channel blocking potential of the cell.
     So is vanilla something that some people genetically need more of? good question. And the bigger bell ringing loud was the risk of hyponatremia means that a low salt diet could lead to even lower levels of sodium in the blood.
     TRPV receptors have to do with pain control as well as flow of fluid and electrolytes (osmoregulation). Vanillin receptors can have a calming effect on the body and sooth pain. Baked goods with vanilla have a little extra besides love soothing the body. (So does hot pepper though – capsaicin).

Magnesium flow through the proton gates that the TRPV group of receptors control is what helps reduce  pain (when there is enough magnesium) and what causes pain signals when there isn’t enough to protect the cell interior from calcium entry. Calcium signals overwork, which leads to pain.
Calcium channel blocker medications are trying to close the gates and keep the calcium out – magnesium would be super delighted to do that if enough were being absorbed from the intestines (too full of calcium and active hormone D3).

     A study on the use of magnesium with opioid pain killers demonstrated the power of magnesium’s effect on for helping reduce diabetic pain. Diabetics normally do not find pain relief from opioids but when magnesium was given in advance the pain killer worked – and the pain killing effect continued for three days after the opioid medication effect would have worn off. The research discussion seemed to focus on using 30 mg with IVs of  morphine or other opioid and didn’t not address the fact that the 300 mg dose had reduced pain on its own, without opioid medication. [18]
  • by Sonkusare SK et al, Elementary Ca2+ signals through endothelial TRPV4 channels regulate vascular function. Science. 2012 May 4;336(6081):597-601. []
  • Calcium and diabetic vascular dysfunction, Focus on “Elevated Ca2+sparklet activity during acute hyperglycemia and diabetes in cerebral arterial smooth muscle cells,  by Katherine M. Dunn, KM and Mark T. Nelson (11/11/09 Am J Physiol Cell PhysiolFebruary 1, 2010 vol. 298 no. 2 C203-C205) “This report is also the first to describe a molecular mechanism by which hyperglycemia produces increased [Ca2+]in VSM and suggests that this mechanism of Ca2+ sparklet activation may be uniquely initiated by hyperglycemia.”    [ article]
  • Article by Amberg GC et al “Calcium sparklets regulate local and global calcium in murine arterial smooth muscle” J Physiol. 2007 Feb 15;579(Pt 1):187-201. Epub 2006 Dec 7. [Free article]
  • The first three are from a search for ‘sparkles’ in pubmed, no sparkles-but autosuggester came up with ‘calcium sparklet’ and the whole list looks interesting: []-Truth can be stranger than fiction.

4. A different search ‘magnesium deficiency hyperglycemia‘ provided a summary worth reading :  Magnesium and Potassium in Lone Atrial Fibrillation, by Patrick Chambers, MD, pdf file: [] *** this needs to be added to the IoM 1997 report on magnesium. Lefthandedness section near the bottom notes an increase calcium flow across cell membranes in left handers. A genetic difference that can lead to an increase in the isoprenoid pathway and inhibition of Na/K pumps in the membranes is suggested to occur in some left handed people. The difference can lead to an increased need for magnesium.

5. Reminder – vascular calcification is somewhat reversible and a simple way to start is to add less by limiting the amount of calcium taken in daily. Two servings a day of calcium rich foods is adequate for most people; there is also calcium in smaller amounts in many other foods too. Calcification of Soft Tissue, hardening organs and softening bones (post, 8/19/11 )

6. A loss-of-function nonsynonymous polymorphism in the osmoregulatory TRPV4 gene is associated with human hyponatremia, by Wei Tian, et al []

7. Physiology and Pharmacology of the Vanilloid Receptor, by Angel Messeguer, Rose Planells-Cases, and Anton Ferrer-Montiel (Curr. Neuropharmacol., 2006 January: 4(1) : 1-15) [link]

Excerpt:  In addition to the contribution of the vanilloid receptor as a target of the neurogenic inflammation underlying different diseases, TRPV1 is gaining interest for the treatment of neuropathic, postoperative and chronic pain and, recently, for the therapy of epithelial disorders. Thus, for instance, topical capsaicin or resiniferotoxin have been used in postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, postmastectomy pain and arthritis [64,103]. Recently, TRPV1 has been clearly validated as a key target for management of chronic pain in bone cancer [42]. As a result, the development of specific TRPV1 antagonists is a central focus of current drug discovery

***antagonist equals block – the vanilloid receptors are also involved in soothing – feed and educate the receptors because they all serve multiple purposes. Pain has a purpose – to signal that something is wrong. Masking pain with antagonists that deaden a function – to signal a problem – was a very disappointing climax to that paragraph. TRPV1 receptors and all the rest of the gang are very exciting – let’s not waste more money and time inventing synthetic antagonists to a message system that is very intertwined in controlling gates and flow of substance. the pain is there for a reason – starvation – lack of building blocks – lack of function.

8. More on vanilla from “Confessions of a Cardamom Addict” blogspot – blog part one–  –blog part two – ***These cover the history, processing, environmental concerns, major botanical varieties.

18(vit D bib.). [] Magdalena Bujalska, Helena Makulska-Nowak, Stanis³aw W. Gumuka Magnesium ions and opioid agonistsin vincristine-induced neuropathy , Department of Pharmacodynamics, Medical University of Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieoecie 26/28, PL 00-927 Warszawa, Poland

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the 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. Thanks.