Let’s talk about glutamine. Glutamine, or l-glutamine is one of eleven non-essential amino acids. A non-essential amino acid means the body is capable of producing enough to supply its needs without having to supplement. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body and among other jobs, it plays a vital role in intestinal health as well as recovery and performance.
The question is if glutamine is considered non-essential, and the body can produce sufficient amounts on its own, why or when would we need to supplement? Good catch. Of the eleven non-essential amino acids, eight are considered conditional. So, while your body can typically produce adequate supply of these amino acids, when you are stressed, sick or not consuming enough protein or carbohydrates, your body may not be able to produce enough of them.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Perhaps you’ve heard of leaky gut syndrome. It’s a blanket term that encompasses a multitude of gastrointestinal issues. It has to do with increased intestinal permeability. In a healthy functioning gut, the stomach and intestines have a protective lining that prevents bacteria, toxins and foreign invaders from invading the body. However, a person with leaky gut syndrome will develop cracks in this lining which then allows bacteria to enter the body by way of the gut. When this happens, you may experience inflammation, bloat, GI issues, even leading to autoimmune disorders and disease.
How Do You Get Leaky Gut Syndrome?
As mentioned above, the diagnosis of “leaky gut” is used to encompass a wide array of GI issues and disease. However, the rationale is clear. The gut has been compromised thus leading to easy entry for disease, toxins and invaders. So how can a gut be compromised?
One such way is by overuse of antibiotics, steroids and even over the counter pain relievers like aspirin or Tylenol. These medications can irritate the protective intestinal lining and with increased or prolonged use, permeate the gut barrier allowing these toxins to invade the body.
Much more commonly, your diet can greatly affect your gut lining and then the use of these medications further damage and destroy its integrity. Foods like artificial sugars, colors and dyes, as well as refined carbohydrates, dairy, gluten and soy for those with food intolerances and auto immune disorders, can contribute to inflammation and stress in the body. When you consume these foods, the body sets off an alarm against these foreign invaders, producing antibodies which trigger an immune response that can include diarrhea, constipation, bloat, joint pain, fatigue, headaches, hormonal imbalances and weight gain or loss. “Diet” foods are also to blame as many of these are foods that have been stripped of their nutritional integrity and pumped full of artificial sugars and chemicals to make them taste good. Labels such as, “sugar free”, “light” and “reduced fat” usually are just cover ups for “chemicals added” to these foods.
Glutamine for Gut Health
Lucky for us, glutamine has been shown to improve the integrity of the gut lining. It also helps calm muscle spasms in the gut and sooth upset stomachs and unfavorable GI symptoms. Glutamine is also shown to help in preventing infection and reducing inflammation. Studies show that supplementing with glutamine can help shorten hospital stays and decrease infection rates.
After surgery, glutamine can be taken to help reduce the risk of infection. In fact, those who have taken glutamine post operation, have been shown to not only recovery faster, but experience fewer negative outcomes due to surgery.
Furthermore, when the body undergoes trauma of some kind, it releases cortisol which depletes the body of its glutamine stores. So, supplementing with glutamine can play a significant role in wound healing, immune function and faster recovery.
Supplementing with 3-15g daily can help get your gut, and thus your body, healthy and free from invaders. The gut is the epicenter of your physical and mental well-being!
Including quality supplements for the gut in a healthy diet of whole foods can greatly reduce sickness, disease and inflammation. Be sure to choose quality brands like Protea Nutrition’s GI Assist which not only provides 3.5 grams of glutamine per serving, but also includes powerhouse line up of good for the gut nutrients like probiotics, digestive enzymes, betaine hydrochloride and more.