Posted by Dr. Armen Nikogosian on Feb 22, 2019 1:32:35 PM
Gut health is slowly but surely taking center stage in the quest to achieve peak health.
Science continues to connect a myriad of health conditions to inflammation spurred by irregularities in the digestive tract. These conditions include a variety of gastrointestinal issues.
Poor gut health is increasingly being linked to fatigue, forgetfulness, low mood, and inflammation, to name a few. Because of the role gut health plays in these health conditions, patients turn to functional medicine practitioners for help with normalize their gut health. One option they could try is L-Glutamine supplementation.*
Glutamine is the most abundant naturally occurring amino acid in the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. This nonessential amino acid is stored as glutamate in the muscle, from where the body derives what it needs for normal, healthy functioning.
However, when a physiological stressor is present, demand for glutamine increases. The body burns through stored glutamine in response to an inflammatory response in an attempt to keep up with the cell turnover and production.
When the cells lining the gut wall, called enterocytes, become overtaxed or dysfunctional, supplementing with L-Glutamine can provide extra fuel that helps enhance the health of the gut’s barrier wall.*
Poor gut health can occur when the cells that line the intestinal wall become abnormally permeable, allowing undigested food particles and proteins to permeate, or leak into, the bloodstream. The immune response to the foreign invaders becomes overwhelmed, resulting in an array of symptoms.
Symptoms can include:
Food allergies or sensitivities
Bloating, gas, belching, and indigestion
Occasional diarrhea or constipation
Compromised immune system
Skin flare ups
Mood swings or low mood
Weight gain or loss
Cognitive issues, such as brain fog, mental confusion, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating
Causes of poor gut health can include genetics, a Western diet that’s high in lectins, gluten, and carbohydrates, excessive daily stress, certain microbes, and environmental toxins.
Glutamine works as a supportive agent to the gut by providing fuel to enterocytes, the absorptive cells that line the intestinal wall.* Enterocytes have a high turnover rate, constantly replenishing themselves. When there’s an upset in the production or action of these cells, an unhealthy gut can result. Although glutamine is naturally stored in the muscle, certain conditions can tax these supplies, which is where L-glutamine supplementation comes in. Glutamine helps feed the enterocytes so they can perform their proper function to protect the walls of the gastrointestinal tract.*
Glutamine has excellent absorption in the gut—about 90%, which is outstanding for supplement absorption. The average recommended daily glutamine dose is 10 to 20 grams; it is very well tolerated with no reported side effects. This makes glutamine a beneficial tool in supporting a healthy gut.*
Glutamine supplementation can be helpful in restoring gut health to some degree on its own, but for optimal gut health restoration it’s best used in conjunction with the 5 Rs.* The 5 Rs process removes the pathogens, repairs the lining, and resets the gut back to a healthy state:
Remove: This involves removing the offending bug, intruder, or sensitivity triggering the unhealthy gut.
Replace: Once the triggers are removed, factors that optimize digestive processes are introduced, such as fiber, vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, minerals, and amino acids like glutamine.*
Repopulate: This involves reintroducing good bacteria using probiotics, fiber-rich foods, homemade fermented foods, and supplements.*
Repair: Repairing the gut lining is essential for proper absorption of nutrients, and L-glutamine plays a core role in this step, in addition to a diet rich in foods that provide zinc, and vitamins A, C, and D.* Herbs such as gamma oryzanol, aloe vera, and slippery elm also enhance gut health.*
Rebalance: Lifestyle adjustments that help reduce stress are fundamental in rebalancing hormones and gut health include practicing yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness, as well as establishing a healthy sleep schedule.
Identifying the source of inflammation that’s causing excessive demand for enterocyte production is the first step in providing a comprehensive approach towards healing the gut. Glutamine supplementation can play a pivotal role in the restoration process of achieving a healthy gut.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Armen Nikogosian, MD practices functional and integrative medicine in Henderson, Nevada. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) and the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (MAPS).
Subscribe to get email notifications about the latest Davinci blog posts