A huge 86% of all British adults have suffered some form of gastrointestinal (GI) problem or ailment in the last year. If you’re one of them, you should know about something called L-glutamine.
WHAT IS L-GLUTAMINE?
L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your bloodstream. 60 percent of your skeletal muscle is made up of glutamine – so it’s considered a “conditionally essential amino acid,” which your body needs in large amounts.
First made popular by bodybuilders who were looking for ways to enhance the building of muscle tissue, scientists have now found that L-glutamine has powerful health benefits for anyone who is looking to heal their gut or their brain.
So you need it for good gut health – but are you getting enough?
WHERE CAN I FIND IT?
L-glutamine can be found in animal proteins such as meats and dairy, along with plant-based protein sources such as beans, raw spinach, parsley and red cabbage. The foods with the most L-glutamine benefits include:
- Cottage cheese
- Broccoli rabe
- Wild-caught fish (cod and salmon)
- Bone broth
- Grass-fed beef
- Chinese cabbage
But most people don’t get enough L-glutamine from their food alone. So if you’re working with digestive or behavioural brain disorders, you should consider supplementing!
L-glutamine boasts a whole lot of benefits, and these are just a few.
DO IT FOR DIGESTION
L-glutamine will benefit your health if you have any type of digestive issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, leaky gut or any of the issues associated with leaky gut (like joint pain, rosacea or any type of autoimmune response).1
Because it’s a vital nutrient for the intestines to rebuild and repair, you need this amino acid in your diet on a regular basis, to preserve the structure and function of the gut.2
L-glutamine also reduces intestinal inflammation and can help people recover from food sensitivities. Glutamine helps improve IBS and diarrhoea by balancing mucus production, which results in healthy bowel movements.3
Glutamine is the major fuel source for cells of the small intestine, it has been shown to heal leaky gut in clinical studies. It can also help heal ulcers by acting protection from further damage, plus offers a healthier, natural alternative to antibiotics for the treatment of stomach ulcers.4
A BRAIN BOOSTER
And it’s good for your brain as well!
Because of the gut-brain connection, glutamine also powerfully impacts your brain health. Glutamine is a precursor (necessary ingredient) for the neurotransmitter glutamate.
This is important because a disruption of the glutamine-glutamate cycle can result in all kinds of brain problems, including Reye’s Syndrome, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and alcohol addiction.5
How does it work? L-Glutamine boosts brain function by increasing glutamic acid and gamma-aminobutyric acid, two of the most important neurotransmitters in the brain. By increasing neurotransmission, the brain is able to complete important functions faster and more efficiently.6
L-Glutamine is also believed to remove metabolic residue in the brain, acting as a detox and improving brain function. The stimulating effects of L-Glutamine help increase energy and attention, making learning and cognitive function easier.7
HOW DO I TAKE IT?
You can get regular L-glutamine in what’s called its free form, and it should be taken with food ideally for proper absorption by the body. Typically, the best dosage is an ingestion between 2 to 5 grams twice daily, and up to 10 grams daily for serious power athletes. Although the effects of excess glutamine rarely cause problems, if you are taking oral glutamine long-term, it’s a good idea to also supplement with B vitamins. This especially applies to vitamin B12, which controls glutamine buildup in the body.
Find out more about how you can heal your gut and brain with Shann’s new book, The Kefir Solution: Natural Healing for IBS, Depression and Anxiety, due to be published by Hay House, June 2018.
1 Fujita, T. – “Efficacy of glutamine-enriched enteral nutrition in an experimental model of mucosal ulcerative colitis”. Published by British Journal of Surgery on June 14, 1995.
3 Van der Hulst, R. – “Glutamine and the preservation of gut integrity”. Published by The Lancet on May 29, 1993.
5 Huffman, F. – “L-glutamine supplementation improves nelfinavir-associated diarrhea in HIV-infected individuals”. Published by HIV Clinical Trials on September 2, 2003.
7 Prescott, Bonnie. – “Glutamine supplements show promise in treating stomach ulcers”. Published by The Harvard Gazette on May 15, 2009.
9 Albrecht, J. – “Roles of glutamine in neurotransmission”. Published by Neuron Glia Biology on October 21, 2011.
11 Wischmeyer, P. – “Clinical applications of L-Glutamine: past, present, and future.”. Published by Nutrition in Clinical Practice on March 18, 2003.
13 Miller, AL. – “Therapeutic considerations of L-glutamine:a review of the literature.”. Published by Alternative Medicine Review: Journal of Clinical Therapeutic. on April 4, 1999.