Does L-Glutamine Heal Leaky Gut? Here’s What The Science Says…
In the past few years, there has been a lot of hype showing L-Glutamine can help heal leaky gut.
Is it scientifically backed? Or is it another “kale” fad that won’t stand the test of time?
In this article, we’re going to deep dive into the research around L-Glutamine and whether or not the science backs it’s ability to heal leaky gut.
I spent quite a few hours reading the studies done on L Glutamine and, to be honest, I was slightly surprised to see how much great research and support there is around using L Glutamine as a viable supplement to improve your gut health.
If you’re suffering from symptoms associated with leaky gut yourself, and are wondering if you should take L Glutamine, you will find your answer here.
Two things to note:
- If you’re looking for more general information about what leaky gut is, what causes it, and how to heal it (using more than just L-Glutamine), I highly recommend starting with our popular article on how to leaky gut in 2 weeks here.
- If you are in a hurry and are simply looking for a great L-Glutamine supplement, I highly recommend this one from Amy Myers MD. I take it myself and it’s done wonders for me.
The Role of L-Glutamine in Leaky Gut Treatment
There is a lot of fantastic research around L-Glutamine and the role it has when it comes to maintaining gut health. You may have heard of it being used as a dietary supplement, but research has shown that when used in a more targeted way, it can have a dramatic impact on leaky gut syndrome, which impacts other aspects of health.
Before we dive into the studies, I want to take a step back as to what leaky gut is.
In simplistic terms, in a healthy gut, there are cells that line the intestines (called the epithelial lining), that allow nutrients to pass through (this is a positive thing).
While allowing certain things to pass through, like nutrients, for example, is a positive thing, if things like undigested food, bacteria, and certain toxins are able to pass through, it can be detrimental to your health.
This is precisely what happens with leaky gut syndrome.
The reason it’s called leaky gut is that the spaces in the cell lining become large, which allows unwanted particles to pass through–which has been shown to lead to a wide range of serious health issues.
This is precisely where L-Glutamine comes in–to help repair the gut lining and prevent leaky gut.
What Does The Research Say About L-Glutamine & Leaky Gut?
Overall, the research is promising and provides a strong argument for supplementing with L-Glutamine.
A study done in 2011 titled ‘Role of Glutamine in Protection of Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junctions’ shows L-Glutamine to be an incredibly effective supplement when it comes to gut repair and general digestive health. The study provides great evidence for its use clinically, such as the importance and effectiveness of it as a repair agent for the epithelial lining of the gut.
The epithelial lining is vitally important to gut function.
It’s through these cells that we absorb the nutrients in our food and prevent the junk from getting through.
Research from 2018 shows us that L-Glutamine supplementation improves the size, health and functionality of the epithelial lining, allowing us to gain more benefit from our food and better protect us against toxins.
Think of the epithelial lining as the doorman of a club–it decides who goes in and who goes home.
If the doorman isn’t paying attention, he lets in the guys looking for trouble!
If your epithelial lining is damaged or not working properly, you end up with too many toxins slipping through, which leads to sickness and disease.
What we know from research is that L-Glutamine helps to prolong the life of the epithelial cells and improve their function. Furthermore, low Glutamine levels are linked with increased rates of epithelial cell death and poor cell signaling, meaning they offer reduced protection against bugs.
More recently, research published in 2017 showed that prior to earlier understanding, L-Glutamine actually has a much greater role in helping to repair and even prevent intestinal disease.
The report itself suggests that; ‘In gut physiology, glutamine promotes enterocyte proliferation, regulates tight junction proteins, suppresses pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, and protects cells against apoptosis and cellular stresses during normal and pathologic conditions.’
In English you can actually understand, what this means is that by taking L-Glutamine, you can help to stimulate the growth of new, healthy lining cells of the gut, allow the safe passage of ‘useful bodies’ (aka the “good” nutrients) through the gut lining, whilst preventing the passage of toxins and bacteria into the gut.
L Glutamine also reduces systemic inflammation and helps to improve the gut’s ability to package and remove toxins.
L-Glutamine Also Helps With Immunity
We’ve known for a while that immunity originates in the gut, but the mechanism wasn’t especially clear until recently.
Now we know that the amino acids help to fuel the cells involved in the body’s immune response. We know this because studies show that during periods of illness and infection, immune cell consumption of glutamine exceeds their consumption of glucose, suggesting it is an important fuel to support an immune response.
In a 2018 review on L-Glutamine and its role in metabolism and immune function, it became clear that there’s a three-fold benefit to L-Glutamine in immunity.
First, it helps to stop bugs from getting through the gut wall and into the bloodstream.
Secondly, it helps to fight any diseases that do make it through!
Finally, it helps to stimulate the repair of any cells damaged during the fighting of an infection.
L-Glutamine & Leaky Gut – Wrapping It Up
Put simply, L-Glutamine is a proverbial shot in the arm for stimulating gut function, repair, and health.
While there needs to be more research conducted, there is strong evidence that L-Glutamine can help repair our gut lining and help alleviate or prevent many of the diseases associated with leaky gut.
If you’re looking for a solid L-Glutamine supplement, this is the one I take and highly recommend.
If you like this read, make sure to check out other great reads:
- Our Ultimate Leaky Gut Diet Plan goes into great detail about what foods you can eat in order to manage your leaky gut.
- Healing Your Leaky Gut In 2 Weeks, another great resource backed by scientific claims.
- For more supplements that can help, read out Best Supplements To Heal Leaky Gut, and delve deeper into the science backing them.