Certain medical conditions can adversely affect a person’s overall health and wellness. Some of these can be life-threatening while some are just mildly uncomfortable. However, some of these conditions can be called chronic conditions that can present several different symptoms throughout the individual’s lifetime if not properly treated. One such condition is known as IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. But can amino acids specifically L Glutamine help in addressing the said health issue? This article will look at what IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is and what the amino acid L Glutamine can do for individuals.
L-Glutamine and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Brief Backgrounder
Before we look at the possible health benefits of L-Glutamine on IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome, let us first look at L-Glutamine is. It is a non-essential amino acid that is more commonly referred to as glutamine. The body can produce this amino acid but it can also be obtained from the food items we consume. The human body requires a total of twenty (20) nonessential and essential amino acids to properly function. As such, getting enough protein is considered critical for good health and wellness. The human body will normally be able to produce enough or adequate L-Glutamine but when a deficiency in the said amino acid occurs, people may benefit from taking increased levels of glutamine.
On the other hand, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a health condition that adversely affects the digestive system of an individual and can lead to symptoms such as the presence of white mucus after a movement of the bowels, a severe upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal cramps, bloating. IBS or irritable bowel syndrome can also be caused by a deficiency in Glutamine and those who will increase their levels of glutamine intake can observe a disappearance or reduction in the symptoms they are experiencing.
Can Glutamine Be effective against IBS or irritable bowel syndrome?
Proteins are very important for people to be able to function properly and the building blocks of proteins are amino acids. Within the human body, the most abundant form of amino acid is L-glutamine and it can aid in enhancing and improving the health of the intestinal tract. As such, L-glutamine may help those experiencing IBS or irritable bowel syndrome.
It has been observed that L-Glutamine is utilized by the intestines as a form of fuel to be able to function at optimal levels. This amino acid has also been shown to aid in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal walls and barriers.
What are the risk factors for L-Glutamine deficiency?
Some of the possible risk factors for a deficiency in L-Glutamine include lack of L-glutamine from the food items consumed, IBS, EoE or eosinophilic esophagitis, Crohn’s disease, other gastrointestinal disorders that are chronic, HIV or AIDS and other immune disorders, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, exercise that is intense, major infections, trauma, extreme stress, or shock.
L-glutamine can aid individuals suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome by assisting the esophagus and intestine’s mucous membrane. The mucous membrane can aid the body in preventing the penetration of bacteria while the process of digestion is ongoing. In addition, L-Glutamine has also been observed to improve the activity of the cells, aid in infection prevention, reduce and prevent inflammation, and soothing the tissues of the intestines.
Due to its ability to improve the production of energy, it is believed that glutamine can help in the reduction of the occurrence of intestinal spasms. Individuals whose IBS or irritable bowel syndrome are triggered by stress may also find relief when taking glutamine supplements. This is mainly because when people are stressed, the hormone cortisol is produced which can then deplete L-glutamine levels found in the tissue of the muscles.
What are the Possible Side Effects of Supplementing with L-Glutamine?
Generally speaking, supplementing with L-glutamine is considered safe for the majority of individuals, some individuals may have to avoid taking the said supplements. These include people who may experience some form of inflammation of the brain or liver, Reyes’ syndrome, liver disease, or kidney disease. Some studies also point to the possibility that some forms of tumors may gain more from L-Glutamine intake resulting in the tumor’s propagation and multiplication.
As such, people who are at high risk for developing cancer or those with a family history of the said dread disease may be advised not to take any form of L-Glutamine supplementation. On the other hand, other individuals may have some type of allergic reaction to L-glutamine and should avoid the said supplement. These allergic reactions may result in symptoms such as hives, joint pain, vomiting, and nausea. If any of these symptoms show, it is best to seek immediate medical attention.
People with a deficiency in L-Glutamine may also increase their intake of the said amino acid by altering their diet or eating strategy. These people may focus more on eating food items containing significant L-glutamine levels such as peas, beets, beans, lentils, tofu, dairy, spinach, cabbage, fish, and chicken. All in all, it is important to get the right amount of L-Glutamine as too much or excessive intake of Glutamine can also lead to some adverse health effects.
Aside from Glutamine, what other supplements can people take for irritable bowel Syndrome?
The other possible supplements for individuals affected by irritable bowel syndrome include enzymes for digestion as these can aid the body in digesting the particles of food items into molecules that are smaller making them more easily absorbed by the body. Some of these enzymes for digestion which an individual with IBS can take are the following:
- Trypsin- To come up with amino acids, the body can use trypsin to break down proteins
- Lactase- Lactose can be broken down by this enzyme
- Lipase- This enzyme can aid in the breakdown of complex fat molecules
- Pepsin- Pepsin can help process proteins found in dairy products, eggs, and meat.