Posted By: CustomVite Nutrition Team Date: August 16, 2017 Comments: 0
You’ve probably seen glutamine in protein powders at your local health food store, but have you ever wondered what health benefits it has to offer beyond helping to build and repair muscle?
Glutamine is one of twenty amino acids used to make protein in your body. It is classified as a semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that it can be produced by your body but can also be depleted due to high levels of stress or consistent strenuous physical activity. Under such circumstances, glutamine becomes an essential amino acid and it is important to take in adequate amounts to meet your body’s increased demands.
Glutamine plays many important roles in the body such as balancing blood sugar levels, improving energy, and fighting the common cold, but most interestingly, glutamine has been well researched for helping to protect and promote a healthy gut. Furthermore, among the various tissues that use glutamine, the intestine uses about 30% of total glutamine in the body, thus further proving that it is a vital nutrient for the intestine. How does it work? Well without getting too nerdy, glutamine acts like a signal telling your gut to keep intestinal cells alive and prevent them from premature apoptosis (a fancy term for cell death). It also has anti-inflammatory effects in your gut. Therefore, glutamine protects your gut and keeps your intestinal cells healthy and functioning.
Further attesting to its gut-improving abilities, glutamine is currently the best-known compound for reducing intestinal permeability. What is intestinal permeability? It’s the ability of your body to control material passing from inside your gut through to the rest of your body. Maybe at first glance, intestinal permeability seems like a good thing, but actually increased permeability (“leaky gut”) can cause various health conditions such as allergies, and irritable bowel syndrome. In these conditions, some substances in your gut such as toxins, and undigested proteins or fats that are normally not able to cross into the rest of your body, leak out of the intestines and circulate to your bloodstream. Research shows that increased intestinal permeability can be greatly improved by the addition of dietary compounds such as glutamine.
(1) Hendler, S. S., Rorvik, D.M. (2008). PDR for nutritional supplements. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Reuters.
(2) Kim, Min-Hyun, Kim, Hyeyoung. (2017). The roles of glutamine in the intestine and its complication in intestinal diseases. International Journal of Molecular Science, May 12:18 (5).
(3) Meynial-Denis, D. (2016). Glutamine metabolism in advanced age. Nutrition Review, April 74 (4): 225-36.
(4) Rapain, J, R. Wiernsperer, N. (2010). Possible links between intestinal permeability and potential therapeutic niche for glutamine. Clinics (Sao Paolo), June; 65(6): 635-643.
(5) Wartian Smith, P. (2008). What You Must Know about Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & More. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers.
6) Weil, A. (2005, December 12). What is leaky gut? Retrieved from: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/gastrointestinal/what-is-leaky-gut/