My guess is most of you reading this don’t like spiders. Some of you probably hate, hate, hate them!
Hey, I don’t blame you. Sure, they kill mosquitos and all, but spiders are just gross!
Well, even if you hate spiders, I think you’ll find it interesting spider venom is being used to treat one of the most common conditions in America.
Spider venom has just been found to be a possible treatment for the intense pain associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
IBS is actually a pretty significant health issue, as it affects almost 1 billion people worldwide. In America, it’s estimated anywhere from 2.4 million to 3.5 million people visit the doctor every single year to treat the symptoms of IBS.
Typical symptoms of IBS include tons of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.
For some people, IBS is just uncomfortable; for others, it can be absolutely crippling, keeping them figuratively chained to the toilet or the house because it’s so painful.
IBS can produce such intense pain some people resort to having surgery to help relieve it.
Well, that could be a thing of the past if this new treatment with spider venom actually pans out.
Spider Venom Might Help Treat IBS Pain
Australian and U.S. researchers saw encouraging news in a study they conducted, where they found an isolated protein in spider venom that might be able to help control the pain associated with IBS.
Here’s what Medical News Today writes about the study’s findings:
The team investigated 109 spider, scorpion, and centipede venoms. The strongest result was from the venom of a type of tarantula found in West Africa, known as Heteroscodra maculate.
The venom was found to activate an ion channel, or a protein in nerves and muscles, known as NaV1.1, which also plays a role in epilepsy.
The first finding of the current study was that NaV1.1 could be important in sensing and transmitting pain.
The team then found that NaV1.1 was present in pain-sensing nerves in the intestines, suggesting that the pathological levels of abdominal pain experienced by people with IBS could stem from NaV1.1.
The authors believe that identifying NaV1.1’s role in signaling chronic pain is the first step toward creating new treatment.
So what does that mean in simple terms?
Basically, the use of spider venom to figure out where pain receptors in the body are could help us both isolate those pain receptors, as well as help block the pain signals that travel to them.
This discovery is promising for millions of people because, right now, one of the only things they have to help treat IBS is avoiding their favorite foods that trigger the symptoms.
So, by blocking the NaV1.1 receptor, this can help to alleviate irritable bowel syndrome pain.
Who would have ever thought spiders could be so helpful?