By Dietitian Jill Place
I wrote this about two years ago and it’s STILL one of the most popular blogs on this site. I guess because many think that Glutamine is the leaky gut solution.
Me … I think it’s just part of that solution. As I evaluate and treat each person individually depending upon their health history and current status.
I’m resharing this article with you today to remind you that there ARE supplements that can have life-changing effects on people. I tell a spectacular healing story about Glutamine below.
But I also must emphasize that these one-supplement stories (actually two in this instance) are rare. And that it usually takes an entire program of diet, supplements, and time (depending upon the severity of the problem it could take several months and even years) for someone to heal.
One particular supplement, L-Glutamine (its scientific name), is always a part of my protocol to heal “leaky gut” digestive systems ravaged by gluten and food sensitivities. As a matter of fact, it’s one of my personal ones … a big tub of it sits next to the collagen protein I always include in smoothies.
Because sometimes just identifying and avoiding sensitive and allergic foods doesn’t always quite heal your gut. Sometimes it’s quite damaged and “Bad Gut Guys” … bacteria, toxins, yeasts, and molds … have overgrown in it. And leaked into places in the body that they shouldn’t be … hence the term “Leaky-Gut”.
So what needs to take place is to remove those “Bad Gut Guys” (cartooned here). I’ll talk about the other supplements I use to do that in a later article. And then repair the gut. To do that, I use this spectacular supplement, L-Glutamine.
Here’s some words I wrote for a supplement company about it. And … because it was for a supplement company, I also annotated it with research studies.
For those who love research studies in articles … and feel what I’m saying is validated by them … go for it! I get a little science-techie here … but I’m sure you can wade through the annotations to get that L-Glutamine is an all-around essential supplement.
L-Glutamine, GREAT GUT HEALER
My practice can’t exist without this vital supplement, the most abundant non-essential amino acid (protein) in the body. It is best known as necessary for making proteins, but is also important for other processes, including cellular energy and the regulation of acid-base balance. We usually have enough, but in times of stress and chronic illness, we need a lot more.
Long touted as important for protein muscle synthesis in exercise, research has shown that this is a benefit only for those with prolonged activity of 90 minutes or more (1). It does increase glycogen stores for these elite athletes, (2) which has a profound effect upon endurance and exercise recovery. So if you’re a weekend warrior or work out less than that, I wouldn’t advise L-Glutamine supplementation. And as someone who gets asked about it all the time, I’m glad I cleared THAT up …
Some Profound Glutamine Research
I’m going to tell you two amazing stories about how L-Glutamine has changed the lives of many in my care. It was the cornerstone of protection from the ravages of chemotherapy and radiation when I was part of a famous integrated cancer team.
I brought it into the clinic. And recommended it in larger-than-normal (but well-researched) doses to everyone undergoing treatment. It improved recovery and required much less gut restoration in 95% of my patients who took it as recommended.In the great majority of 36 clinical studies, glutamine supplementation “improve(d) host metabolism and clinical situation without increasing tumor growth” (3). In other words, it kept the immune system afloat amid a poisonous onslaught of chemo drugs.Click To Tweet
L-Glutamine is so important to the health of the immune system that it is called an “immunonutrient” (4). L-Glutamine proved to be such an important part of treatment in my clinic that the MD who did chemo research in my clinic included it in one of his study protocols.
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A Solution for Leaky Gut
But the most dramatic use for L-Glutamine appears to be as a solution for “leaky gut”, a condition that can affect up to 80% of us to varying degrees. “Leaky gut” is when the digestive system becomes damaged by many things, including antibiotics and other medication, illnesses such as cancer and the treatments for it, and our Standard American (SAD) Diet.
These may destroy the villi, (those “little fingers” at the top right of this leaky gut cartoon) which absorb nutrients from what we eat, and the tight junction barrier that keeps things that shouldn’t be in the bloodstream (i.e. the little green “bombs”) out of it, and decimate the “Good Gut Guys” … friendly bacteria that hold the whole thing together (the thumbs-up guy below).
Research seems to suggest that L-Glutamine regulates these intestinal tight junction barriers (5); in other words, it prevents the “leaking” of foreign matter into the bloodstream, thus causing all sorts of physical issues.
It also is instrumental in overall intestinal integrity (6). And, as we remember from all those yogurt commercials, 70% of the immune system resides there. Therefore, a happy gut is also a happy immune system.
My Most Dramatic L-Glutamine Healing
All I know is thata 17-year-old with “leaky gut” and continued weight loss was dramatically and rapidly healed and gained weight with a simple regime of L-Glutamine and digestive enzymes. In three short weeks! Click To TweetAnd that’s just one of the great stories about the benefits of this amazing supplement.
Some say that the use of L-Glutamine is controversial. But recent studies (7) have all but eliminated conjecture about the use of L-Glutamine in cancer and immunotherapy. As for “leaky gut” … the proof is in the many, many positive case studies and miraculous healings … some which I’ve witnessed myself.
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• Robson PJ, et al Effects of exercise intensity, duration and recovery on in vitro neutrophil function in male athletes . Int J Sports Med. (1999)
• Bowtell JL, et al Effect of oral glutamine on whole body carbohydrate storage during recovery from exhaustive exercise . J Appl Physiol. (1999)
• Kuhn KS, et al Glutamine as indispensable nutrient in oncology: experimental and clinical evidence. Eur J Nutr. (2010)
• Kim H Glutamine as an immunonutrient . Yonsei Med J. (2011)
• Li N, et al Glutamine regulates Caco-2 cell tight junction proteins . Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. (2004)
• Potsic B, et al Glutamine supplementation and deprivation: effect on artificially reared rat small intestinal morphology . Pediatr Res. (2002)
• Michalak KP, al Key Roles of Glutamine Pathways in Reprogramming the Cancer Metabolism. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (2015)
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