Home Digestive Health How Much L-Glutamine For Leaky Gut

How Much L-Glutamine For Leaky Gut

Written by Decyry Jhoy Serrano, RPh

Have you ever wondered what to do with your gastrointestinal tract discomforts like irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea?

If you are thinking that it is only you who experience these issues frequently, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, in 2010, around 280,000 people in the United States were hospitalized due to these gut problems.

In the same year, 21 of these people died.

So, what can you do so that you can heal leaky gut and improve metabolism in no time?

Will the conditionally essential amino acid l-glutamine and other amino acids help in addressing these issues

Proven Benefits of Amino Acid L-Glutamine for Gut Health & Metabolism

l-glutamine

1) Rebuilds and Repairs the Intestine

When you experience gastrointestinal health issues such as the leaky gut, the tendency is that your intestines will also be damaged.

Eventually, your intestinal health will not be optimal unless your intestines are rebuilt and repaired.

Take note that when you have digestive issues, your intestines might bleed.

But, what if I tell you that l-glutamine supplement can help you do this repair?

According to a study in Texas, l-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and the intestines utilize 30% of it.

Furthermore, as cited in a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, l-glutamine can help maintain gut barrier integrity.

This means that your intestinal epithelial cells will be repaired while helping them adapt to stressful conditions.

2) Reduces Intestinal Inflammation

Researchers from Brazil and Australia report that l-glutamine, derived from glutamic acid, stimulates inflammatory cytokines and balances cytokine production.

In other words, this most abundant amino acid regulates the inflammatory response of intestinal cells by interfering with the actions or synthesis of the prostaglandins in the body.

Take note that prostaglandins promote inflammatory effects.

So, when you have an inflamed intestine caused by certain GI issues like leaky gut, a higher concentration of prostaglandins will be seen.

Thus, when you have an acutely-inflamed gut and you take a daily l-glutamine supplement, your intestinal tissues and cells will be prevented from inflammation and oxidative stress, without any gastric irritation effects.

3) Helps in Food Sensitivities Recovery

When you have food sensitivities, the major organs in your body that will be affected are your intestines and stomach. 

Usually, if you ate something that triggered your intolerance, you will experience the health effects below:

  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Cramping or constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Fatigue or weakened immune system

However, if you do not know your specific food sensitivity, you will never have an idea about what remedies you will take.

Fortunately, no matter what signs or symptoms you feel, l-glutamine could help you improve your gut health.

According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, a 4-week dietary intake of l-glutamine can reduce 30% of IBS symptoms and food sensitivities.

So, if you add l-glutamine to your daily diet and supplements, there is a high chance for you to decrease the inflammatory effects you get from the foods you are sensitive to.

Remember, the higher l-glutamine means more food tolerance and less food intolerance.

Speaking of foods, you can consume bone broth to prevent brain fog and increase gut permeability.

To add up, if you want to know your food sensitivities, you might want to consider checking out these food sensitivity test kits by Everlywell. 

4) Decrease Intestinal Permeability

Remember, the main goal to reduce digestive problems is to decrease gut lining or intestinal permeability.

If you have a leaky gut, you might be having an imbalanced gut flora. Meaning, there is more bad gut flora than good ones.

When this happens, there is gut barrier dysfunction: the permeability of your gut lining increases.

Take note that in your gastrointestinal tract, you have this gut lining that acts as an intestinal barrier between your gut and your bloodstream.

Thus, when you have an increased intestinal permeability, there is a higher chance for the bad bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles to be released into your bloodstream.

Unfortunately, based on a clinical trial in China, when these toxins enter your bloodstream, this could cause infections, brain health, and immune function problems including sepsis and multiple organ failure.

So, how can l-glutamine powder help you avoid these gut-related issues?

According to a study in Tennessee, l-glutamine works by keeping your tight junction proteins and decreasing your gut lining or intestinal permeability. 

Moreover, when your gut lining is more permeable than normal, bacterial translocation or the passing of bad bacteria to the bloodstream may be seen.

However, when you add l-glutamine as one of your daily supplements, this translocation that mainly causes the infection, is prevented.

Aside from l-glutamine, if you want to reduce your intestinal permeability to prevent toxins from entering your bloodstream, you can consider checking out some of these best glutamine powders that you can buy online

5) Heals Ulcers

Patients with gastrointestinal ulcers like ulcerative colitis can benefit a lot from taking an l-glutamine supplement.

Keep in mind that l-glutamine is a protective amino acid that can heal leaky gut or IBS symptoms but also prevents future damages to intestinal health.

According to a study of surgeons from Boston, since the intestine utilizes higher amounts of l-glutamine, when it is deprived of this amino acid, intestinal mucosa ulceration and increased intestinal permeability can occur.

Moreover, in a clinical trial from Spain, it was reported that any route of administration for l-glutamine is effective to treat and heal these types of intestinal ulcers.

But, total enteral nutrition is way more effective for patients with severe ulcers.

Aside from being considered as a natural alternative to antibiotics, l-glutamine can prevent gastritis, a condition that often leads to an ulcer.

But how does this happen even if it is not an antibiotic?

Based on one study in the United Kingdom, l-glutamine works by increasing the blood flow to the gut to heal leaky gut, gastritis, peptic ulcer, and stomach ulcer faster.

6) Improves IBS and Diarrhea

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea are the most common signs of the leaky gut syndrome. So, how does l-glutamine improve these symptoms? 

a) Increases essential nutrient reabsorption

Based on one study published in the Journal of Cell Biology, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea cause the tight junctions to loosen.

Thus, when this occurs, there is a higher chance for the leaky gut syndrome to be more severe and the nutrient absorption will become limited.

However, when a patient starts to use l-glutamine supplementation, the gut barrier function will improve and the re-absorption of nutrients such as sodium and water will be enhanced.

b) Balances mucus production

Take note that the presence of a small amount of mucus in your bowel is normal.

However, when the mucus production is high, this could cause severe leaky gut syndrome leading to frequent IBS and diarrhea.

According to scientific evidence in France, l-glutamine stimulates mucosal protein synthesis. Eventually, when there is inflammation, there would be an improved mucosal protein balanced in the gut.

c) Protects the mucosal membrane

In the gut, we have this mucosal membrane that blocks or prevents pathogens or toxins from entering the system.

These pathogens come from the food we eat. 

So, l-glutamine provides this gut mucosa membrane protection not just only to the intestines but to the esophagus as well, thereby preventing leaky gut syndrome.

d) Soothes intestinal tissue

One of the uses of l-glutamine, when you have an IBS or diarrhea caused by leaky gut is it soothes the intestinal tissue.

Remember, when your symptoms are left untreated, more injury can occur.

7) Speeds Up Metabolism

There are many forms of l-glutamine and aside from helping you improve your leaky gut, l-glutamine also helps you enhance your metabolism.

a) Amino acids and glucose metabolism

One of the physiological functions of l-glutamine is glucose metabolism. Glutamine is a glucose precursor and it participates in the formation of amino sugars.

Thus, when you have enough l-glutamine in your system, you can give your body nourishment while preventing leaky gut and health diseases like diabetes.

Remember that when there is a malfunctioning glucose metabolism, the integrity of your cells might be compromised and you will increase your risk of having malnutrition.

b) Amino acids and muscle metabolism

Aside from preventing leaky gut, just like the other amino acids, l-glutamine also supports your muscle growth through healthy muscle metabolism.

Furthermore, this muscle metabolism is needed by athletes and people who wish to reduce their weight.

1. Preserve muscle tissue

People in the fitness industry, especially bodybuilders and athletes, aim to preserve their skeletal muscle tissue to improve their athletic performance.

Fortunately, l-glutamine can help in preventing this so-called “muscle wasting”.

If you do not have enough l-glutamine in the body, what will happen is that your body will use your muscles as your energy source rather than the carbs that should be metabolized during glucose metabolism.

According to a study in France, muscle wasting or muscle atrophy is associated with aging. However, l-glutamine can combat this age-related disease.

How?

Remember, l-glutamine stimulates muscle protein synthesis, and when this synthesis is impaired, the higher the chance for you to experience muscle atrophy.

2. Promotes healthy weight loss

One great thing about l-glutamine is that it can help promote weight loss while preserving your muscle mass.

What does this mean?

In a randomized control trial from Brazil, the composition of the gut microbiome is affected by l-glutamine and when there is a balanced gut microbiome, healthy weight management can be achieved.

In another study from Iran, because of l-glutamine’s fat-burning effects, a daily intake of 30 grams of glutamine powder can reduce both the belly and body fat of diabetic patients in just 6 weeks.

This is consistent in another study from Brazil. Researchers found that obese patients were able to reduce their weight circumference in just 2 weeks by taking the same amount of glutamine powder.

Moreover, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, states that an l-glutamine supplement alone can reduce the weight of individuals. This means that without altering their diet, weight loss can be achieved.

8) Enhances the Body’s Fat Burning Feature

The fat-burning effect of l-glutamine is associated with human growth hormone (HGH). When you take glutamine, your human growth hormone increases as well.

This simply means that l-glutamine can boost or secrete more levels of human growth hormone in the body.

But, how are these two related to fat burn?

According to a study in Wisconsin, the human growth hormone burns body fat by stimulating lipolysis.

Therefore, when you have more human growth hormone levels, fat burning will be enhanced.

9) Protects Gut Cells from Apoptosis

Apoptosis is a condition that triggers cell death, and, with regards to intestinal cells, these molecular mechanisms contributing to cell survival and apoptosis are programmed.

Meaning, it is sometimes needed during inflammatory bowel diseases.

Spontaneous apoptosis of cells is normal and essential especially when there is inflammation due to leaky gut or other GI issues because an inflamed cell has to die to stop the spread of the inflammation.

However, keep in mind that proliferation and apoptosis must always be balanced.

It cannot be like this: more cell death and less cell production or vice versa.

According to a study in Minnesota, many factors can disturb this balance such as the following:

  • Oxidative stress
  • Nutrient deprivation
  • Lack of growth factor

Thus, without these factors, sustained apoptosis could occur, and that is dangerous to gut health, making the leaky gut condition more severe.

Sustained apoptosis can trigger some of the following health conditions to occur:

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Bacterial infection
  • Celiac disease

In a study published in the journal of Infection and Immunity, l-glutamine can protect cells from cell death by suppressing apoptosis.

It has an anti-apoptotic property and at the same time, it maintains normal cellular redox status.

In another study from China, l-glutamine is reported to be associated with caspase activation as the amino acid regulates the said activity. 

Take note that caspases induce apoptosis. Thus, when there is a low level of l-glutamine in the system, the higher the chance for the patient to experience cell death.

10) Promotes Enterocyte Proliferation

Enterocyte proliferation means the production of more intestinal lining cells. 

As said above, in the case of a leaky gut, l-glutamine balances cell proliferation, and apoptosis.

However, cell or enterocyte proliferation does not only mean more cells are produced.

Before cell proliferation, signaling pathways would be activated. Eventually, not only the enterocytes will be increased but also the following:

  • Goblet cells
  • Paneth cells

According to a study in Canada, when these cells are activated and regulated, this will lead to increased intestinal wall integrity. 

In another study from North Carolina, it was reported that supplementation of l-glutamine can enhance the action of epidermal growth factors on mucosal proliferation, again, leading to the maintenance of intestinal tissue stability and prevention of leaky gut.

11) Treats and Manages Diverticulitis and Diverticulosis

Diverticulitis is a condition wherein there are infected pouches that form in your intestines and this condition can trigger a leaky gut. 

On the other hand, diverticulosis is a condition wherein these pouches push through your colon walls. Just like diverticulosis, this can also trigger a leaky gut.

Although these two conditions can be managed without surgery, when they are left untreated, they may promote gut health dangers such as rectal bleeding, abscess, and formation of fistulas.

But, if you have any of these two, glutamine supplementation can help you!

According to the National Institute of Health, taking 15 grams of l-glutamine twice a day can improve the condition of patients with leaky gut, diverticulitis, and diverticulosis.

So, whether it be a severe form of these three, considering l-glutamine supplementation might be one the best options for you.

12) Treats and Manages Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is another gut health issue that is sometimes associated with the leaky gut syndrome.

This condition is a type of irritable bowel disease characterized by inflammation in the intestinal tract.

Some of the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Malnutrition

Since it is already known that l-glutamine can help reduce the inflammation caused by Crohn’s Disease and leaky gut, it is important to know as well that even at a low dose oral glutamine supplementation, the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease can be reduced.

According to a study in Saudi Arabia, a 12 grams per day dose of l-glutamine can reduce symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and leaky gut, and decrease intestinal permeability within 4 weeks.

However, for this to happen, patients should also take other amino acids. For additional information, you can check out these branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) benefits to your gut health.

13) Supports the Gut Immune System

We all know that if you have a deficiency in this amino acid, you are vulnerable to a leaky gut and your immune health will be affected.

Thus, you will be at risk of experiencing autoimmune diseases like HIV or AIDS. 

But, did you know that l-glutamine can also boost your gut immune function?

This amino acid strengthens the gut immune health so that no toxins or infections would enter the digestive tract, preventing leaky gut syndrome.

According to a study in the United Kingdom, as the amino acid boosts the immune system of the patient, improved gut barrier function can also be observed.

In another study from Florida, it was reported that when the immune system is weak, the gut microbiota is affected. This means that the gut microbiota will be vulnerable to imbalances.

Moreover, if this imbalance is left untreated, according to a study in Maryland, this could worsen not just the leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease but also trigger tumor-related diseases.

Along with l-glutamine or other amino acids, probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes can also support digestive health by increasing the diversity of healthy gut bacteria.

If you have a leaky gut and you are looking for foods to take, bone broth will do. 

For additional prebiotics and probiotics in supplement form, you can try checking out this article.

For specific probiotics for the leaky gut, the Complete Probiotics Platinum, another supplement form, is also highly recommended.

The Bottom Line

Indeed, l-glutamine, a conditionally essential amino acid, is not only for the immune and brain health. 

It also focuses on managing the leaky gut and metabolism. Also, patients with leaky gut and metabolism issues may find out what their underlying illnesses are, such as food tolerance.

One great thing about l-glutamine supplementation is that it affects muscle mass and muscle growth. 

Just like the other amino acids, it helps burn fat and promotes weight loss while preventing muscle wasting.

No wonder, many athletes also consider this as one of their daily supplements.

Looking at the whole concept of how l-glutamine works on the digestive system, everything is correlated. 

With l-glutamine, there is balance in gut microbiota, the gut lining or intestinal lining becomes less permeable and this eventually leads to reduction of inflammation and suppression of digestive tract discomfort or symptoms.

Lastly, in case of gut injury, l-glutamine can help build and repair gut muscle tissues.

Thus, patients suffering from illnesses like diverticulitis, diverticulosis, and Crohn’s Disease can benefit a lot from this amino acid.

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