Heal Your Digestion with the Benefits of L-Glutamine
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No one really enjoys thinking about their inner belly. I like things to just…you know, chug along like they’re supposed to. But there are times that things get out of whack. Getting them back on track has to be a priority.
Keeping your digestive system in peak condition is crucial to your entire body. Researchers refer to the gastrointestinal universe as your body’s “second brain” – for very good reason. When things start to go wrong, it directly impacts how you feel from head to toe.
The benefits of L-glutamine are cropping up in well-respected journals globally as scientists pinpoint this essential amino acid for a lot more than protein building and muscle fitness.
Tackling Major Gastrointestinal Issues…Naturally
Worldwide, stomach cancer is the #5 most commonly diagnosed cancer. In 2012, more than 950,000 cases of stomach cancers were diagnosed. Helicobacter pylori bacteria and the Epstein-Barr virus have been linked to many cases but have not been tested for in all patients. Men have twice the risk of stomach cancer than women but both genders have increased risk with age.
Scientists are beginning to see a link between other stomach conditions and stomach cancer. For instance, when a patient presents with a stomach ulcer, it is usually caused by the H. pylori bacteria. Treatment (to date) was a strong dose of antibiotics.
Half of the world population suffers with H. pylori. It’s classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO). Left untreated, it can lead to stomach cancer.
As is becoming frighteningly common, H. pylori is beginning to mutate. Too often, it is resistant to the antibiotics that once helped. Researchers with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that the benefits of l-glutamine minimize stomach damage done by H. pylori.
Published in the Journal of Nutrition, senior author of the study, Susan Hagen, PhD, stated, “Extra glutamine in the diet could protect against gastric damage caused by H. pylori. Gastric damage develops when the bacteria weakens the stomach’s protective mucous coating, damages cells, and elicits a robust immune response that is ineffective at ridding the infection.”
She went on to explain that when gastric distress is ignored, bigger problems develop that include gastritis and damage that creates an ideal environment for cancer cells to grow. “The damaging effects of ammonia on gastric cells could be reversed completely by the administration of L-glutamine. The amino acid stimulated ammonia detoxification in the stomach – as it does in the liver – so that the effective concentration of ammonia was reduced, blocking cell damage.”
During animal studies over a six-week period, the researchers concluded that l-glutamine benefited expression of specific cytokines (interleukin 4, interleukin 10, and growth factor-alpha mRNA) that, “All play an important role in the stomach’s ability to protect against damaging effects resulting from other responses to H. pylori infection.”
For patients who require parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding), l-glutamine improved the overall balance of nitrogen in their gut and preserved the structure of the gastrointestinal system. The simple addition of glutamine strengthened the mucus layer and helped to prevent deterioration of gut walls.
Though the study was small, the findings are promising. Preserving gut integrity is pivotal to preventing long-term damage and the syndrome known as leaky gut. This only recently discovered syndrome is believe to be the primary cause of auto-immune diseases.
There are many supplements on the market that can help you up your daily intake of this essential amino acid but I always suggest looking at your diet (and food sources) before you go with packaged solutions.
Get More Benefits of L-Glutamine with These Foods
- Seafood (tuna, salmon, cod)
- Bone broth
- Grass-fed beef, poultry, and pork
- Dairy products such as cottage cheese (preferably organic)
- Cabbage, spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli
- Fermented foods (miso, kimchee, pickles)
- Celery, carrots, beets, asparagus
- Organ meats
Utilizing the benefits of l-glutamine can help rid you of dangerous bacteria, balance nitrogen levels, and maintain overall gut integrity…but there is much you can do to protect your essential gastrointestinal system where 80% of your immune system is located.
10 Tips to Love Your Gut
- Quit smoking
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Avoid processed meats
- Do a detox cleanse once a year (twice is better)
- Aim to keep “good for you” foods at 80% of your diet or higher.
- Exercise regularly (even mild to moderate helps more than you know)
- Increase consumption of pre-biotic foods (garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, artichokes)
- Increase consumption of pro-biotic foods (yogurt, cheese, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut)
- Lower mental and emotional stress (meditation is a fantastic help)
- Drink more water (half ounce for pound of bodyweight daily)
Protecting your gut is something you need to start doing today. The older we get, the higher risk we have of gut-related problems and diseases.
Think about what you can do through your diet and habits to protect your belly from ulcers, leaky gut, and cancer. Every investment you make in the health of your belly, the better off you’re going to be for decades to come!
Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.