In a recent article in Medical News Today it asks the question if bacteria in your stomach could possibly have an effect on your joints, something that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long understood.
Finding a link between osteoarthritis and the bacteria in our guts seems unlikely. However, new research concludes that they could, in fact, be bedfellows. A new study probes gut bacteria and their role in osteoarthritis.
Obesity comes with a raft of related health risks, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is also intimately tied to osteoarthritis, often referred to as the "wear and tear" arthritis, osteoarthritis involves the slow degradation of cartilage, or the padding between bones in a joint.
In the United States, osteoarthritis affects an estimated 31 million people and is a leading cause of disability, globally.
People who carry excess weight put extra strain on their joints. This, it was thought, explained the increased risk of osteoarthritis that comes with obesity. A new study, published this week in the journal JCI Insight, looked at a more intriguing mechanism that might link these two conditions: gut bacteria.
We have billions of bacteria living in our intestines. They are vital for good health and, over recent years, just how vital they are has become increasingly clear.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Stomach
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands the stomach, known as "the sea of food and fluid", is responsible for "receiving" and "ripening" ingested food and fluids. When food is ingested, it passes down into the stomach where stomach qi and fluid decompose it into materials to be further digested in the small intestine.
Food is divided into two parts in the stomach. The "pure" part is sent upwards to the spleen for transformation into nutrient materials for the body. The "impure" part is sent downwards to the small intestine. This function is called the "descending the impure" in TCM. While the spleen rules "ascending" functions, the stomach rules "descending" functions. If the stomach loses its descending properties, disharmony occurs, leading to symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Being a yang organ, the stomach prefers a moist rather than dry environment. Excess of yang may sometimes cause "dryness fire" which leads to stomach disharmony as well. This condition presents as a dry mouth and thirst.
These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs.
Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture treatment and we can discuss how we can help you, to read more about Eca click here.