What is L-glutamine?
L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (protein building block) in the body; as such, it has a wide range of functions. Critical for removing excess ammonia (a common waste product in the body), glutamine supports the immune system, muscle and organ growth and repair, as well as brain and digestive functions. It’s also been shown to protect against the breakdown of the mucous lining in the gut. Most glutamine is stored in muscles, followed by the lungs, where much of this protein is made.
On a typical day, our body makes enough glutamine to meet ordinary needs. However, when we’re under stress (emotional or physical – from heavy exercise to mental illness, injury or surgery), we may not produce enough glutamine to address the stress hormones flooding our body. That is when taking a supplement comes into play. Additionally, a glutamine supplement is often helpful for individuals with medical conditions such as GERD, inflammatory bowel disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, where their glutamine levels may be consistently low.
L-glutamine in Supplements
L-Glutamine supplements are usually in pill form, but you can also find a powder version which should be mixed with a cool liquid. It’s critical to remember: always use cool, never hot foods or liquids. Heat destroys glutamine. Unless otherwise recommended and supervised by your health practitioner, a glutamine supplement is not recommended for children under age 10 or for people with kidney or liver disease, or a history of seizures. Proper dose is crucial to how well L-glutamine works and it should be taken on empty stomach. Always consult with your holistic practitioner before adding a supplement such as glutamine to your diet.
Elena Klimenko, MD, a certified functional medicine physician, will help you choose the right course of action to improve your nutrition. In her holistic health practice, she uses lifestyle modification, herbal and food based supplements to address the root cause of your medical symptoms. Call today to find out more about functional medicine and holistic health and speak with Dr. Klimenko at 212-696- HEAL(4325).
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- University of Maryland CAM Database. “Glutamine” Accessed on October 4, 2016: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/glutamine
- Rapin, Jean Robert, and Nicolas Wiernsperger. “Possible Links between Intestinal Permeability and Food Processing: A Potential Therapeutic Niche for Glutamine.” Clinics 65.6 (2010): 635-643. PMC. Web. 4 Oct. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898551/
- Larson, Shawn D. et al. “Molecular Mechanisms Contributing to Glutamine-Mediated Intestinal Cell Survival.” American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology 293.6 (2007): G1262-G1271. PMC. Web. 4 Oct. 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2432018/
- Weitzel L, Wischmeyer P. “Glutamine in Critical Illness: The Time Has Come, The Time Is Now.” Critical Care Clinics. 2010;26(3).