The Benefits Of Taking Glutamine For Gut Health
I am 100% about whole foods for prevention, often cure, and just generally ensuring we are doing our best to stay healthy - but when it comes to disease and illness, sometimes we need some extra assistance from supplements.
Today I'll discuss glutamine. One of the main 4 supplements I recommend for improved gut health in those with sensitive digestive systems.
The body generates glutamine, an amino acid, naturally, but at times of stress our natural reserves drop, making it a ‘conditionally’ essential amino acid. This means it must be obtained from dietary sources or supplements when our body is fighting infection or disease.
Dietary sources of glutamine include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, wheat, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach, and parsley. Small amounts of free L-glutamine are also found in vegetable juices.
Wound healing and recovery from illness
When the body is stressed (from injuries, infections, burns, trauma, or surgical procedures), it releases the hormone cortisol into the bloodstream. High levels of cortisol can lower your body’s stores of glutamine. Several studies show that adding glutamine to enteral nutrition (tube feeding) helps reduce the rate of death in trauma and critically ill people. Clinical studies have found that glutamine supplements strengthen the immune system and reduce infections (particularly infections associated with surgery). Glutamine supplements may also help in the recovery of severe burns.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Glutamine helps to protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract known as the mucosa. For that reason, some have suggested that people who have inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) may not have enough glutamine. However, 2 clinical trials found that taking glutamine supplements did not improve symptoms of Crohn’s disease. More research is needed. In the meantime, ask your Doctor or Dietitian when deciding whether to use glutamine for IBD.
Other Digestive Issues
Glutamine is the major fuel for enterocytes, and it promotes intestinal growth and metabolism and maintains the structure and function of intestinal mucosa, especially in situations of gut injury. In humans, glutamine-enriched parenteral nutrition maintained villus height and limited the increase of gut permeability i.e. leaky gut.
Glutamine is an important nutrient for rapidly dividing cells such as cells from the immune system and the gut. During several conditions a lack of glutamine may occur. This will result in functional disturbances of the immune system and/or the gut. Glutamine is produced mainly by the muscle tissue. A decrease in muscle mass during nutritional depletion may result in decreased glutamine production capacity. Also during critical illness, there is an increased demand for glutamine probably as a result of an increased utilization by the immune system.
How to Take It
Take glutamine with cold or room temperature foods or liquids. It should not be added to hot beverages because heat destroys glutamine.
For children 10 years and younger: Do not give glutamine to a child unless your doctor recommends it as part of a complete amino acid supplement.
For adults ages 18 and older: Doses of 500, 1 - 3 times daily, are generally considered safe. Doses as high as 5,000 - 15,000 mg daily (in divided doses), or sometimes higher, may be prescribed by a health care provider for certain conditions.
Where to get it
You can order it online, or find it in your local health stores or pharmacy. Both myself and my past clients have had huge success with Intestamine from Bioceuticals which is a practitioner only gut health supplement. If you're interested, please email me for more information.
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider.
Glutamine appears to be safe in doses up to 14g or higher per day, but you should only take doses this high under the supervision of a health care provider.
Glutamine powder should not be added to hot beverages because heat destroys this amino acid. Glutamine supplements should also be kept in a dry location.
People with kidney disease, liver disease, or Reye syndrome (a rare, sometimes fatal disease of childhood that is generally associated with aspirin use) should not take glutamine.
Many elderly people have decreased kidney function and may need to reduce the dose of glutamine.
Do not use if you have cirrhosis or severe liver disease. Glutamine could make this condition worse. People with this condition should avoid glutamine supplements.
Glutamine is different from glutamate (glutamic acid), monosodium glutamate, and gluten. Glutamine should not cause symptoms (headaches, facial pressure, tingling, or burning sensation) associated with sensitivity to monosodium glutamate. People who are gluten sensitive can use glutamine without problems. However, some people may be sensitive to glutamine, which is completely separate from gluten.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. Always check with your own Doctor or Health Professional before taking any supplements. This post is not prescriptive and no accountability will be taken if any adverse reactions occur as a result of you taking glutamine supplements based on this information.
- Glutamine | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/glutamine#ixzz3Js2OLrYi
- Souba WW. Nutritional support. N Engl J Med 336: 41–48, 1997.
- Van der Hulst RR, Vankreel B, Meyenfeldt MF, Brummer RJ, Arends JW, Deutz NEP, and Soeters PB. Glutamine and the preservation of gut integrity. Lancet 341: 1363–1365, 1993.