Glutamine for Digestive Health

Amanda Goncalves

Written by: Amanda Goncalves

Updated: January 23rd, 2024

Glutamine is an amino acid, which is a fundamental building block of proteins. It is a natural amino acid in the human body and is important in the aging population and for general digestive health. Structurally, it’s the most abundant free amino acid in the bloodstream. This article uses current literature and clinical studies to provide insights into potential benefits and considerations associated with supplementing glutamine. We’ll also dive into the use of L-glutamine supplements for older individuals, considering their specific health conditions.

What is Glutamine?         

Glutamine, a key amino acid in the body, is essential for a strong immune system. It helps build immune cells like white blood cells, boosting their ability to fight infections. Additionally, it provides energy for these cells to grow fast and work efficiently. Plus, it helps maintain the gut’s defense system, keeping harmful germs out and reducing infection risks overall. It is made in our bodies from other amino acids, or we can get it from the food we eat, or glutamine can be supplemented for specific health reasons (Cruzat et al.).

Glutamine in Aging

As mentioned, glutamine is important for our digestion, and helps strengthen our immune system by building immune cells like white blood cells. As we age, our bodies do not make as much glutamine as they used to.

This reduction in glutamine can influence how our digestion works and the general fitness of our belly and intestine. Glutamine is a key player in nitrogen and carbon transport between tissues. During periods of intense physical activity or stress, the demand for glutamine may exceed the body’s ability to produce it, making it conditionally essential. So, for the aging population, getting enough glutamine from meals or occasionally via supplements can be effective. It might assist with some of the demanding situations that come with getting old and keep matters running nicely. But it is continually an excellent plan to speak to doctors to figure out the best method for you. (Sheloukhova, 2022)

doctor explaining glutamine to patient

Glutamine and Digestive Health

As we get older, glutamine becomes even more important for our digestive health. Our bodies naturally make less of it, and that can really affect how well our digestive system functions. This reduction can impact how well our stomachs work. Therefore, having sufficient glutamine is particularly important, especially for older individuals. This lower amount of glutamine can cause problems like not getting enough nutrients, having a weaker stomach barrier, and being more prone to stomach issues.

Taking extra glutamine as a supplement for older folks can give their stomachs a boost. It provides the essential stuff to restore and strengthen the belly lining, making it simpler for everything to digest nicely. This can help older human beings have healthier stomachs and avoid a few of the commonplace stomach problems that come with growing older.

Clinical research displays the association between glutamine supplementation and decreased mortality in trauma and seriously ill individuals. Additionally, glutamine has shown promise in assisting the immune system, lowering infection risks, and aiding in preventing or treating multiple organ dysfunction after injuries (Glutamine, n.d.). The recommended dose of glutamine varies on different needs. Consult a health care professional before starting a glutamine supplement.

Dietary Sources of Glutamine

Glutamine, a vital amino acid, is evidently found in plenty of ingredients. Animal-derived choices like pork, bird, fish, dairy, and eggs offer plenty of glutamine. Plant-based options, encompassing beans, lentils, soy, nuts, and seeds (especially almonds and sunflower seeds), in addition to complete grains like wheat, rice, and corn, and various vegetables like cabbage, spinach, and parsley, also make contributions to our glutamine consumption. Glutamine supplements, to be had in powder or capsule form, cater to health or fitness goals. However, keeping a well-rounded eating program to ensure enough glutamine is essential. It’s helpful to consult with a healthcare expert or a registered dietitian before making big nutritional adjustments or thinking about supplements. (Tinsley, 2018).

L-Glutamine as a Supplement for the Elderly

As we get older, our bodies won’t make a sufficient amount of this crucial amino acid. Glutamine can keep our stomachs wholesome, assisting our immune system, and supporting our muscular tissues to live sturdy. But we want to be cautious, mainly if a person has troubles with their kidneys, liver, or other health concerns. Older individuals ought to talk to their medical doctors before including L-Glutamine dietary supplements in their routine to ensure it is the healthy for them. (Glutamine, n.d.).

Glutamine-Rich Tacos

References:

  1. Tinsley, G. (2018, January 13). Glutamine: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/glutamine#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2
  2. Cruzat, Vinicius, et al. (2018). Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation. Nutrients, 10(11): 1564. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111564 .
  3. Glutamine. (n.d.). Mount Sinai Health System. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/glutamine
  4. Sheloukhova, L. (2022, July 27). Glutamine Supplementation Has Anti-Aging Potential. https://www.lifespan.io/news/glutamine-supplementation-has-anti-aging-potential/

About George Brown’s Culinary Management Nutrition Program

Students from the Culinary Management Nutrition Program at George Brown College Chef School participated in an academic writing content to create an article or video on glutamine for CDHF. The course, Nutrition Issues, is taught by nutrition professor, Dr. Linda Gillis. Mukti Modi was the winner for the article submission and Aamina Sheikh was the winner for the video submission. George Brown College provides students with real world applications and opportunities for learning.

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