Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and is involved in more metabolic processes than any other amino acid. In particular, it’s the preferred source of fuel for immune cells and the cells that line the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Glutamine's Involvement in Gut Immunity
#1: Glutamine helps T-cells and macrophages do their job! It’s essential for proper GI, immune and muscle function.
#2: Glutamine helps maintain the structural integrity of the intestinal lining by preserving healthy gut mucosa and protecting the villi that line the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, nearly 70% of the immune system is located in the gut.
To carry out its important role in immune function, the gut must be in tip-top shape, however, due to poor diets, the overuse of antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, and a myriad of other reasons, many guts are not. But the amino acid L-glutamine has the ability to support a healthy gut and healthy immunity.
When Does the Body Need More Glutamine?
There are certain stressful situations that cause a decrease in glutamine in our tissues and impair the function of our intestine’s mucosal barrier. Surgery, illness, traumatic injury, viral or bacterial infection, malnutrition, and even chronic stress make it necessary to get enough glutamine.
Additionally, because muscle tissue is the main place where glutamine is produced, people with low muscle mass, such as the elderly or those with muscle wasting diseases, may be at risk for glutamine deficiency.
How Much Glutamine?
Common dosages for supplemental glutamine fall between 500-1,000 milligrams, three times daily, between meals. Give your gut—and immunity—a little extra support with glutamine!
Whether it’s taken as a preventative measure to maintain healthy immunity or to actively heal the gut lining, glutamine is a powerful amino acid that’s up for the challenge.
In Health and Happiness, Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
Natural Grocers Health Hotline. October 2015. Mueller, Liz.
Wischmeyer PE. Clinical applications of L-glutamine: Past, present, and future. Nutr Clin Prac. 2003;18(5):377-385.
University of Maryland Medical Center. Glutamine. Last reviewed June 20, 2009.