For anyone who has suffered from the unpleasant symptoms of leaky gut, first of all, we empathise. Any digestive problems can have a negative effect on your quality of life. So when it comes to trying to find a solution, it makes sense that you’re willing to try new things.
But it’s also tough to sort the fact from the fiction and the marketing spin from the good-quality information.
At Max’s, we aim to take the spin out and bring you facts so you can make better decisions about everything from training to how to set up your diet. And in this post, we’re going to focus on whether L-Glutamine is the leaky gut solution you’ve been searching for.
What Do We Mean When We Say Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut refers to when the lining of your gut is… well… leaky. The medical term for this is ‘permeable’. That’s a problem because your intestines (which is also referred to as your gut) make up most of your internal digestive system. And because of that, there is a LOT of surface area there.
When your gut is permeable, it means that things that aren’t supposed to be in your bloodstream get in there. Your intestinal wall is a bit of a suit of armour for your insides. And if it’s leaky, then bacteria and toxins can get through that armour and cause havoc elsewhere in the body.
There’s a body of emerging research in the area that suggests (though it’s early days so far) that leaky gut could be linked to inflammation of parts of the body and long-term chronic illness.
L-Glutamine and Leaky Gut
To continue the ‘suit of armour’ metaphor from above, L-Glutamine is like the ‘patch’ that can help repair the gap in the suit of armour. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid. And amino acids are the ‘building blocks’ of the body and important for everything from cell regeneration to muscle development.
L-Glutamine helps with leaky gut because the cells that line the intestinal wall can use it as a fuel source. They then convert that fuel, along with a whole host of other essential nutrients and vitamins, into new cells. And as those new cells form and regenerate, something pretty interesting happens.
Early evidence suggests that the intestinal cells produce more intestinal mucus. This is a good thing since that mucus helps protect the intestinal lining from further damage. On the ‘building’ side of the equation, it also appears that new gut cell formation is helped along by L-Glutamine. And as that happens, the ‘gaps’ in the lining are narrowed and filled, and the ‘suit of armour’ is repaired.
Or, to put it really simply, if increased protein helps your muscles get bigger, then L-Glutamine can help your gut get stronger.
Additional Benefits of L-Glutamine for Leaky Gut and Health
- Undigested food stays where it is supposed to: in your gut! That has a two-fold benefit: no food-borne bacteria enter your bloodstream. And also, your body has the best opportunity to absorb all the nutrients and vitamins from your diet.
- Your immune system is highly reliant on your gut to function effectively. If your gut is in top shape, then it is able to utilise the inputs from your food to fight free radicals and keep you in good health.
- Inflammation in the body has been linked with all sorts of nasty health outcomes, from IBS to migraines. Any process that reduces inflammation is a benefit, and there is emerging evidence that a better functioning gut can reduce inflammation in the body.
- There is some anecdotal evidence that using L-Glutamine usage can help curb sugar cravings by stabilising blood glucose (sugar levels) which cuts off the signal that our brain sends to demand a sugary fix.
What Are Sources of Glutamine?
Like protein, L-Glutamine can be found in a regular, healthy diet. There are about 10 grams in a kilogram of red meat like steak. About the same amount can be found in four eggs. Alternatively, around 5 grams can be found in a standard serving of protein powder if that powder is whey-based.
Of course, the most concentrated form of L-Glutamine is found in supplements of Glutamine powder. And it’s this type that is best suited to those who want to treat a leaky gut problem.
Supplementation works because it ‘loads’ the body with a high dose of a nutrient that it can use quickly. It also allows stores of that supplement to be built up far more quickly than it could be if it was only taken from food.
L-Glutamine supplementation can be between 2 grams to 10 grams a day. With any new supplement, it's always a good idea to start with a low dose and gradually increase it to allow your body time to adjust and avoid any unpleasant side effects.
It can also help to spread out your L-Glutamine supplementation throughout the day. So you might take some with your morning meal, then mix the other half into a glass of cold water that you drink before bed.
To learn more about L-Glutamine and other Max’s supplements, we invite you to visit https://maxs.com.au/collections/lab-series