(NaturalHealth365) If you’re one of the estimated 45 million Americans living with irritable bowel syndrome – also called IBS – then you understand how upsetting this common condition can be. Constipation and diarrhea are probably constant companions of yours, as well as issues like bloating, a sense of bowel urgency, and abdominal pain – often worse right after eating. But, have you heard how glutamine can help?
In the quest to find natural solutions for IBS or digestive upset, adding a glutamine supplement to a well-balanced diet could be the next key step. And even if you don’t have irritable bowel syndrome, this amino acid could very well still be beneficial for your overall well-being.
Study reveals how supplementation with glutamine can reduce the symptoms of IBS
A 2018 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Gut shared some promising results for people looking for holistic relief from IBS symptoms. The authors specifically wanted to assess the effectiveness and safety of an oral glutamine supplement – often called L-glutamine.
First things first: what is glutamine? Basically, it’s an amino acid or a ‘building block’ of protein. Your body produces it naturally, but it’s also found in some foods.
Glutamine is a major player in many bodily functions, including the growth of immune and gut cells, the storage of glycogen (which your muscle needs for energy), and the fueling of mitochondria. By the way, heavy exercise, stress, and anything that weakens the immune system can deplete glutamine stores in the body.
The strength of this study is quite solid. It was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial lasting 8 weeks with a total sample size of 106 people. All subjects had recently developed irritable bowel syndrome following an intestinal infection. The study group (n = 54) took a daily oral glutamine supplement, while the control group (n = 52) took a placebo.
At the end of the 8 weeks, the researchers found that, compared to the placebo, the oral glutamine supplement “dramatically and safely” reduced IBS-related symptoms. Also, intestinal hyper-permeability (the degree to which material passes through the gut wall into the rest of the body) improved in the study group – but, not in the control group.
Why does this last point matter? Because intestinal permeability can dictate how well your body absorbs nutrients from food … and how well it keeps harmful toxins out.
Going beyond gut health: 5 more signs you may benefit from a glutamine supplement
Gut health issues like constipation and diarrhea (with or without IBS) represent one major indicator that you could benefit from a glutamine supplement. But there are at least five signs which suggest you need more of this amino acid, too.
Consider talking to your doctor about adding a L-glutamine supplement to your diet if you have any of the following:
- A weakened immune system
- Frequent sugar or alcohol cravings
- Low muscle mass and/or a slow post-workout recovery
- Poor wound healing
Wondering how much glutamine supplement you should take? The dosage used in the double-blinded study was 5 grams taken three times per day.
But, keep in mind that this was a relatively short-term supplementation protocol. More research is needed on the safety of long-term L-glutamine supplementation – so be sure to chat with your physician about this issue.
Fortunately, glutamine is also found in things like eggs, beef, tofu, and rice. So, depending on your health status and dietary habits, you could be getting anywhere from 3 to 6 grams per day. Everyone has a different situation, but at least this is good ‘food for thought.’
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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