What’s the scoop on: Glutamine for Gut Health

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Today’s topic is glutamine, and specifically, how it helps to support our gut health.
So many people these days are suffering from gut issues, including leaky gut, gastritis, IBS, ulcers and general inflammation of the gut.

Glutamine may just be the thing to help.

What is Glutamine?

Let’s start by defining what glutamine actually is. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein in the body. Glutamine is one of a group of 20 amino acids which make up protein.

Glutamine is a non-essential and also conditional amino acid. This means that although our bodies can make some on their own, it uses up large amounts of it in certain situations and therefore requires more from outside sources.
Examples of when it would need more would be, during times of stress and physical trauma, illness, injury, or after intense exercise, like in the case of athletes.

Glutamine plays many roles in our bodies, including, but not limited to:

  • serving as a major source of fuel for the cells lining the intestines
  • supporting gut mucosal health
  • supporting the body to restore the intestinal lining
  • preventing bacterial translocation in the gut
  • helping to make other amino acids in the body
  • providing a major fuel source for cells of the immune system
  • supporting the immune system
  • working as an anti-inflammatory
  • removing excess ammonia and supporting the liver
  • helping to make glucose
Glutamine for gut health

Glutamine for Gut Health

As you’ve certainly picked up on by now, Glutamine is an important amino acid that is essential to our gut health.  In fact, the gastrointestinal tract is by far the greatest user of glutamine in the body, as cells in the intestinal epithelium use glutamine as their main metabolic fuel.

If you’re suffering from gut issues like leaky gut (gut permeability), IBS, gastritis, or even Coeliac disease or Crohn’s disease, this amino acid may help you. Of course, you must talk with your doctor if you have a serious condition like Crohn’s disease before you introduce anything new to the diet.

Glutamine is able to help our gut health for a variety of reasons, some of which we touched on just now. For one thing, it helps maintain our intestinal lining. This lining is essential for ensuring our bodies absorb all the nutrients from the food we put in. Equally, glutamine is used to help improve gut barrier function, thereby helping to prevent the passage of foreign substances through the gut wall (aka intestinal permeability).

What this means is, that by helping to maintain the health of the intestinal lining, it thereby offers protection of our intestinal lining and mucosa. As a result, this means it also helps protect us against problems like leaky gut syndrome or IBS, for example.

On the flip side, if that’s already a digestive issue of concern, Glutamine is once again a great supplement to take. That’s because Glutamine offers anti-inflammatory properties and is deemed absolutely essential for promoting cellular regeneration in the gut. With these restorative and anti-inflammatory properties working in favour of the mucosal lining, if used regularly, this supplement may just help to heal the gut.

Since one of the biggest concerns for digestive issues and bowel issues is inflammation, this amino acid certainly shouldn’t go unnoticed.

glutamine for gut health

Food Sources of Glutamine

Glutamine is found naturally in high-protein foods such as:

  • Meat – chicken, turkey, beef
  • Fish/seafood – tuna, cod, haddock, sardines, mackerel, crab, lobster, prawns, shrimps
  • Dairy products – cheese, milk, yoghurt, whey
  • Eggs
  • Leafy greens and cabbage
  • Beans – red kidney beans
  • Nuts and seeds – almond, walnut, pistachio etc.
  • Seaweed
  • Soya products
Higher nature glutamine powder

Dietary Supplements of Glutamine

Do I Need to Supplement It?

In general, since we naturally make this amino acid ourselves, supplementation isn’t an absolute must for everyone. If, however, you are experiencing digestive health issues, this is one supplement certainly worth considering.
If you have celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, gastritis, ulcers or IBS, it’s definitely worth chatting it over with your doctor to see if you could add it to your supplement routine.

Equally, if you’re of the older generation you may choose to supplement with glutamine to help top up your levels and continue to protect the gut. That’s because our body’s natural production of this amino acid gradually reduces over the years.

Interested in reading more about gut health?

Here are a few of our other articles on the subject:

Emily Nöth

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*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention

Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication