The incidents of Gut Health issues are on the rise, and the majority of the population are dealing with some kind of Gut Health issues. If you have a food intolerance, an auto-immune condition, skin issues, mood disorders or IBS the chances are, you have intestinal permeability also known as “Leaky Gut”.
So what is intestinal permeability? It’s the connexion protein channels are intercellular channels that are known as gap junctions become compromised and porous. They are required for cellular small metabolite exchange; conducting endocrine and paracrine (hormonal and inter-cellular) signalling (3). Connexions are proteins connecting the cytoplasm and extracellular spaces, essential for healthy gastrointestinal tract (GIT) integrity (3).
Not only do gap-junctions facilitate paracrine signalling, but it also plays a fundamental role in epithelial barrier structure (particularly GIT) (2) reducing pathogenic, toxin and allergen infiltration into the interstitial tissue (6). Pretty much, it means that it keeps out pathogens and toxins from entering your blood circulation. Compromised GIT integrity is a key instigator of systemic and local inflammatory diseases, e.g. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, auto-immune conditions, food allergies and is a key part to nourishing imbalances and inflammation (2).
L-glutamine is an amino acid (AA), predominant in epithelial functionality, showing significant impact on mucosal integrity (6). L-glutamine plays extensive various roles within the body, regulating; acid-base homeostasis, immune/epithelial cellular synthesis/functionality/differentiation, anabolic pre-cursor to muscle growth, and is a precursor to the antioxidant glutathione (6). Glutamine is predominantly metabolised within gastrointestinal mucosa, providing significant energy supply and an estimated 35% of total carbon dioxide from various substrate reactions (6).
When our GIT mucosal barrier is compromised due to antibiotics, toxins, alcohol, stress, etc., its ability to ensure healthy mucosal layering is reduced. Prolonged sympathetic nervous system (SNS) stimulation (stress, extensive exercise, insomnia, caffeine, relationship issues, highly active lifestyles) decreases glutamine quantities. Thus, mucosal integrity is compromised inducing villi atrophy and epithelial damage. Glutamine increases nutritive absorption as it provides substantial energy for GIT epithelial/enterocyte proliferation, differentiation and maintenance and is important in mitogenic responses (cell-binding) to growth factors (6).
Glutamine has been shown to considerably improve GIT inflammation, morphology, functionality and symptomatic relief by reducing mucosal pH, pro-inflammatory cytokines, hypoxia and oxidative stress. It is recommended for intestinal epithelial permeability zinc, and N-acetylcysteine has increased therapeutic outcomes (6) with glutamine therapeutic dosage 20g – 30g per day (5).
A 2013 meta-analysis ‘Modulation of tight junction integrity by food components’ completed by the International Food journal signified that glutamine increased trans-epithelial electrical resistance in tight junctions in comparison to other nutrients/phytonutrients (2).
The review of L-glutamine shows it would be a vital therapeutic component to utilise in healing any disorders with Gut Health / GIT abnormalities, stress, trauma, autoimmunity or inflammation.
L-glutamine in supplement form is best, adding in organic bone broth daily is another excellent and nutritive source for L-glutamine.