According to a new clinical trial by researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, a daily supplementation of glutamine improves intestinal permeability more effectively than whey protein. Glutamine helps maintain gut barrier function by providing fuel for rapidly dividing cells—especially enterocytes (absorptive cells) as well as the epithelial cells that line the intestines.

During their controlled trial, which appeared in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences, the researchers randomized 30 middle aged men with intestinal permeability aka “leaky gut” into two groups. The first group was given glutamine daily containing 0.5 g of the amino acid per kilogram of ideal body weight. The second group received whey protein, also at 0.5 g per kilogram of ideal body weight. After two months, intestinal permeability in each participant was assessed by measuring the ratio of lactulose and mannitol that was excreted in their urine. While those in the whey protein group showed some improvement, the greatest benefit was found in those taking supplemental glutamine. Not only did the glutamine support a healthier intestinal barrier function, it also improved morphology.

These new findings reinforce earlier research suggesting that glutamine supports healthy intestinal barrier function.

For patients with intestinal permeability I use a Glutamine powder, a dairy-free pea protein, and a GI repair product. The Dairy-Free protein is a natural pea protein powder o­ffering a high level of functionality and nutritional benefits. It is free of casein, lactose, and gluten. I like this product since many patients with autoimmune disorders because almost all of them have food sensitivities and commonly have problems with diary and gluten. The GI repair product provides comprehensive support of gastrointestinal health and function. It provides therapeutic levels of L-glutamine, N-acetyl-glucosamine, MSM, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow, chamomile, okra, TOA-free cat’s claw, quercitin, and mucin for comprehensive support of optimal gastrointestinal health. In addition, prunus and citrus pectin are included to aid regularity. I use Klaire labs for my probiotics. They have a climate controlled facility and a patented InTactic delivery technology that enables the bacteria to withstand the stomach acid.

Benjamin J, Makharia G, Ahuja V, Anand Rajan KD, Kalaivani M, Gupta SD, Joshi YK. Glutamine and whey protein improve intestinal permeability and morphology in patients… a randomized controlled trial. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2012 Apr;57(4):1000-1012.

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