In my practice, glutamine is one of my favorite amino acids to implement. Glutamine is one of the most abundant amino acids produced and used by humans. It is used for various functions in the body, most notably within the immune system and gastrointestinal (GI) system. Although we produce this amino acid, in times of high stress, it is depleted. Supplementing glutamine can assist with decreasing inflammation, supporting immune activity, and improving gut barrier function.

In the immune system, glutamine is used in the production of cells called lymphocytes. These cells are responsible for attacking cells infected with viruses or cancerous changes, they also increase antibody production. Glutamine increases the production of a type of cellular messenger called cytokines. These cytokines are used by the body as a signal to bring more immune cells to an area. Overall, glutamine supports general function in the immune system but is especially useful in conditions causing chronic stress on the body.

In the gut, glutamine is used to repair the mucosa. It does this by supporting the production of new cells as well as modulating the spaces between cells. In most conditions where there is damage to the intestinal lining, glutamine is useful for speeding healing time. Conditions such as “Leaky Gut” where there is increased intestinal permeability benefit from glutamine.

Glutamine is a precursor to an important molecule in the body called glutathione. Glutathione is a major antioxidant that is also used for nutrient metabolism. There is a correlation between glutathione deficiency and many common diseases including liver disease, diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, and Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidants are useful in treating these diseases because they all present with increased oxidative stress. Glutathione is often supplemented on its own for its antioxidant activity.

Typically, I use glutamine with my patients experiencing GI dysfunction both acutely and chronically. This includes everything from oral ulcers to diarrhea. Glutamine is given in the l-glutamine form and is dosed anywhere between 5,000-30,000 mg per day. For appropriate dosing and to see if glutamine supplementation is a good fit for you, schedule an appointment for a consultation.

Kim H. (2011). Glutamine as an immunonutrient. Yonsei medical journal52(6), 892–897.

Wu, G., Fang, Y. Z., Yang, S., Lupton, J. R., & Turner, N. D. (2004). Glutathione metabolism and its implications for health. The Journal of nutrition134(3), 489–492.

Cruzat, V., Macedo Rogero, M., Noel Keane, K., Curi, R., & Newsholme, P. (2018). Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation. Nutrients10(11), 1564.

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