Glutamine is one of my favorite nutrients for healing the gut (or repairing the intestinal barrier). Here is the extract from a paper published last month: Glutamine and intestinal barrier function:
The intestinal barrier integrity is essential for the absorption of nutrients and health in humans and animals. Dysfunction of the mucosal barrier is associated with increased gut permeability and development of multiple gastrointestinal diseases.
Recent studies highlighted a critical role for glutamine, which had been traditionally considered as a nutritionally non-essential amino acid, in activating the mammalian target of rapamycin cell signaling in enterocytes.
In addition, glutamine has been reported to enhance intestinal and whole-body growth, to promote enterocyte proliferation and survival, and to regulate intestinal barrier function in injury, infection, weaning stress, and other catabolic conditions. Mechanistically, these effects were mediated by maintaining the intracellular redox status and regulating expression of genes associated with various signaling pathways.
Furthermore, glutamine stimulates growth of the small intestinal mucosa in young animals and also enhances ion transport by the gut in neonates and adults. Growing evidence supports the notion that glutamine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for neonates and a conditionally essential amino acid for adults.
Thus, as a functional amino acid with multiple key physiological roles, glutamine holds great promise in protecting the gut from atrophy and injury under various stress conditions in mammals and other animals.
I’d like to share how some well-known practitioners use glutamine for healing.
In this article by Dr. Josh Axe: 4 Steps to Heal Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disease, glutamine is listed as one of the key gut healing nutrients:
L-Glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut. Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine benefits include acting as a protector: coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants. Take 2–5 grams twice daily.
Be sure to check out the whole article for great images of leaky gut and how leaky gut can lead to leaky brain and mental health problems like anxiety, depression and bipolar disorders. What Dr. Axe states is so true: in many cases, if you can heal the gut, you can heal the brain.
Dr. Axe references a 2008 paper that discusses normalization of leaky gut in chronic fatigue syndrome with
natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative substances (NAIOSs), such as glutamine, N-acetyl cysteine and zinc
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is fundamental to the well-being of the digestive and immune systems. Glutamine is great for repairing damage to the gut, helping the gut lining to regrow and repair, undoing the damage caused by leaky gut, and reducing sugar cravings. I recommend 3-5 grams a day.
Adding in nutritional supplements like glutamine to allow the gut to calm down, heal itself, and begin to rebuild those vital intestinal barriers to keep out the invaders.
Dr. Mark Hyman shares this in his book The UltraMind Solution in the gut food section:
Glutamine: 2,500 mg twice a day [this equates to 5000mg or 5g/day] You can use the powder or capsule form. This is a nonessential amino acid that is the preferred fuel for the lining of the small intestine and can greatly facilitate healing. It can be taken for one to two months. It generally comes in powder form and is often combined with other compounds that facilitate gut repair.
In an article on Leaky Gut Syndrome, Sharon Garrett shares how she loves a product called GI Revive, a product that combines glutamine with other gut-healing nutrients:
I LOVE this product and it lasts a long time. It contains L-glutamine, Slippery Elm, Marshmallow Root, Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice, Mucin, Okra Extract, Cat’s Claw, Quercetin, Prune Powder, Zinc, MSM, Chamomile, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Aloe Vera Extract, and Citrus Pectin. This product was one of the cornerstones of my own progress to heal my gut, and I still use it today for maintenance!
You can read more about glutamine for blood sugar stability, calming and gut healing here.
And be sure to read cancer concerns and benefits if you have active cancer and talk to your doctor before using glutamine. Stay tuned for more blog posts on glutamine and the cancer debate. I’m still gathering information to share with you.
Keep in mind that licorice root/DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), probiotics, zinc, slippery elm, marshmallow root and quercetin are other supplement options for gut healing if you can’t tolerate glutamine for some reason.
Have you used glutamine for gut healing? Have you used other approaches for gut healing? Please share and feel free to post questions you may have.