As part of a nutritional strategy to impart improvements to mucosal barrier in compromised patients the use of a naturally occurring growth factor has been explored in many studies and in some supplements in clinical use. Glandular extract derived from bovine sources that contributes epithelial growth factor (EGF) offer an additional strategy for epithelial tissue repair. EGF is a normal constituent of saliva production during the act of eating, is also secreted into the gut lumen and found in colostrum and milk. The purpose is to aid in the management of epithelial tissue health and it is naturally degraded by pancreatic enzymes during digestion.
The amino acid L-Arginine is suspected through animal models to increase intraluminal production of EGF and may explain why this protein is a useful method for repairing intestinal damage.
The act of licking a wound is known to be a route to transfer the EGF to damaged tissues and contributes to more rapid wound healing.
Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is a polypeptide that stimulates growth and repair of epithelial tissue. It is widely distributed in the body, with high concentrations detectable in salivary and prostate glands and in the duodenum. Saliva can be a rich source of EGF, especially the saliva of certain non-poisonous snakes. The use of serpents in healing rituals may reflect the value of ophidian saliva in promoting the healing of wounds. Thorough mastication of food may nourish the gut by providing it with salivary EGF. Purified EGF has been shown to heal ulceration of the small intestine.
Naturally occurring EGF is regarded as being a very safe ingredient and food concentrate. In numerous studies the absence of EGF contributes to altered cell division and mutation and the restoration of EGF reverses these changes.
There are many types of EGF and they have a complex range of roles in human physiology. The consumption of the small amount of glandular derived extract has been shown in numerous clinical experiments to be far more effective in supporting a return to normal barrier quality when combined with L-Glutamine, than when glutamine is consumed on its own. Adding L-Arginine may also aid repair.
How much do we produce per day
EGF is found in varying concentrations in milk, saliva, urine (9-100 ng/mL).
When we are well we produce enough to maintain control over epithelial repair. In illness and disease including IBD and oral cancers we produce too little and this facilitates an increased reactive oxygen species development.
Regarded as a naturally occurring protector, the inclusion of glandular salivary EGF complexes bound to glandular complex’s represent a minimal supply of an essential tissue repair molecule.
Salivary EGF acutely (within minutes) upregulates small intestinal absorption of electrolytes and nutrients, an effect which was shown to be related to a concurrent lengthening of the apical microvilli of enterocytes.,,
Salivary and gastric EGF also inhibits pathogenic adherence to epithelial cells reducing adhesion and virulence factors and so contributes to healthy mucosal immunity. It is well documented that EGF is present in large amounts in, and has diversified biological activities on, the gastrointestinal tract.
Therefore, the inhibitory effect of EGF on pathogenic colonisation in this tract suggests that EGF may specifically recognise and interact with the epithelial cells in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby interfering with the interaction between pathogens and the epithelial cells. EGF can also inhibit pathogenic colonisation in other tissue and organ types, including bladder and kidney. EGF is an effective preventive or therapeutic agent against pathogenic infections in a wide variety of tissue and organ types, particularly the urogenital tract.,,,
Salivary and gastric EGF upregulates function in the entire intestine, including the colon.
The role of naturally occurring agents in a concentrated form for the benefit of human health is nothing new, but many people with compromised gut function are unable to masticate adequately. The result is a declining level of EGF and increased risk of colonisation and barrier defects. EGF alone imparts benefits but when used in conjunction with arginine and glutamine may be even more effective in increasing mucosal trophicity and health.
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