L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is an important energy source for intestinal and immune cells. A significant body of evidence indicates its role in preserving the gut barrier function and preventing permeability, as well as maintaining a balanced microbiome.
- Leaky Gut
- Food Intolerances
- Gut Lining Permeability
Glutamine has key functions in helping to support gut health and is involved in promoting the cellular turnover of the gut mucosa. The gut lining is renewed every few days, therefore glutamine is critical in helping to support mucosal integrity. Furthermore, glutamine also helps to maintain a strong gut barrier. The small intestine contains a single-layered lining of intestinal epithelium, held together by proteins called tight junctions, which creates a barrier so that pathogens cannot travel across the gut. In periods of illness, stress or inflammation, the gut becomes permeable, causing bacteria to travel across from the gut into the bloodstream and throughout the body, a phenomenon known as leaky gut. Multiple studies have shown that supplementing with glutamine, after stress-inducing activities known to cause gut permeability, has resulted in the maintenance or increase in gut impermeability. Other roles of glutamine include helping to maintain a balanced microbiome, by promoting the growth of good bacteria and reducing strains of bad bacteria.
Furthermore, the combined effects of glutamine such as promoting gut lining turnover, integrity, impermeability and a well-balanced microbiome are likely to be beneficial for those with symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Glutamine has been shown to reduce IBS symptom severity score in 80% of participants with post-infectious IBS-D, and in 88% of participants with IBS. Significant improvements in several IBS symptoms have also been observed after glutamine supplementation, including abdominal pain intensity and frequency, abdominal distension as well as stool frequency and consistency.
Research and studies
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A systematic review: Role of dietary supplements on markers of exercise-associated gut damage and permeability
European Journal of Applied Physiology
Glutamine supplementation reduces markers of intestinal permeability during running in the heat in a dose-dependent manner
Frontiers in Nutrition
Glutamine supplementation enhances the effects of a low fodmap diet in irritable bowel syndrome management
Randomised placebo-controlled trial of dietary glutamine supplements for postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome
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