Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas is a five to six inch long, leaf-shaped gland that is found behind the lower part of the stomach and extends downward toward the spleen and left kidney. The two main functions of the pancreas are to produce digestive enzymes that break down proteins, fat, and carbohydrates in the small intestine and to release the hormones glucogen and insulin, which are responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. If digestive enzymes build up inside the pancreas and begin to attack it, it can become inflamed.
Pancreatitis can be either acute or chronic. In eighty percent of cases, acute pancreatitis is caused by excessive alcohol use or gallstones. This condition can also be caused by an infection or the use of certain drugs that are used to prevent seizures, treat bipolar disorder, treat rheumatoid arthritis, or act as an agent for cancer chemotherapy. In extremely rare cases, acute pancreatitis may be caused by injury to the abdomen. Acute pancreatitis usually causes severe pain that comes on suddenly and starts in or around the area of the navel and radiates backwards.
The pain is usually increased by movement and relieved by sitting. Often, it may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. These conditions may sometimes be very severe. Other symptoms of pancreatitis include upper abdominal swelling and distension, excessive gas, upper abdominal pain described as burning or stabbing, fever, sweating, hypertension, muscle aches, and abnormal, fatty stools.
Chronic pancreatitis is a condition in which the inflammation has caused irreversible changes in the tissue of the gallbladder. This condition often involves repeated episodes of gallbladder infection and gallstones. The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis may be hard to distinguish from those of acute pancreatitis. However, the pain of chronic pancreatitis tends to be chronic rather than coming on suddenly. Additionally, chronic pancreatitis may be accentuated with periodic episodes of acute disease. In the majority of cases, chronic pancreatitis is caused by the long-term use of alcohol.
Since the pancreas is responsible for producing the hormones insulin and glucagons, which regulate blood sugar levels, pancreatitis often leads to digestive difficulties and glucose intolerance, which is also known as diabetes. This is especially the case if the pancreatitis is chronic.
The following nutrients are recommended for treating and preventing pancreatitis: chromium picolinate, garlic, calcium, magnesium, digestive enzymes, pancreatin, proteolytic enzymes, raw pancreas glandular, vitamin B complex, choline, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, coenzyme Q10, DLPA, grape seed extract, L-cysteine, vitamin E, and zinc.
Additionally, there are a few herbs that are helpful in dealing with pancreatitis. Burdock root, milk thistle, and red clover are helpful in cleansing the bloodstream and liver. This reduces the burden of the pancreas. Cedar berries, Echinacea, gentian root, and goldenseal stimulate and strengthen the pancreas, while dandelion root stimulates bile production and improves the health of the pancreas. Licorice root is responsible for supporting all glandular functions.
However, it can elevate blood pressure if it is overuse. This herb should not be used on a daily basis for more than seven days in a row and should be avoided by anyone who has high blood pressure. Olive leaf extract is responsible for acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, making it extremely helpful if you have an infection.
Look for these and more remedies at your local or internet vitamin store. Always choose name brands like Solaray to ensure quality, purity and authenticity of what you buy for better health.