17 August, 2011
What Does L-Glutamine Do for Gastritis?
Amino acid supplements are not just for muscle building. Amino acids have multiple functions in the body and can help treat a variety of health conditions. L-glutamine can help reduce inflammation, which may be helpful in gastritis, an inflammatory condition. If you have gastritis, talk with your doctor about whether L-glutamine may benefit your situation before using the supplement.
Amino acids help build protein, and glutamine, or L-glutamine, is the most abundant amino acid in the body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Most of the body's L-glutamine is found in the muscles and lungs. This amino acid helps boost the immune system, aids in removing ammonia from the body, and is necessary for brain functioning and digestion. Glutamine supplements are available in different forms, including liquid or capsule, and they are commonly available in 500-milligram tablets. Before using glutamine supplements, talk with your doctor to see if these are safe for you to consume.
The stomach is lined with what is called a mucosa, which contains cells that produce enzymes and acid for digestion, as well as mucus to prevent acid damage, notes the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, or NDDIC. When the lining of the stomach is inflamed, it produces less of these substances. This condition is called gastritis. Gastritis can be acute or chronic, and if chronic gastritis goes untreated for a long period of time, it can lead to gastric polyps, peptic ulcer disease and gastric tumors. Infection with the H. pylori bacteria is the cause of the majority of cases of chronic nonerosive gastritis, reports the NDDIC. Erosive gastritis is most often caused by excess use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
L-Glutamine and Gastritis
Since L-glutamine is necessary for healthy digestion and helps with wound healing, perhaps the amino acid helps with symptoms of gastritis. A study reported in May 2009 in "The Journal of Nutrition" found that mice infected with H. pylori and given dietary glutamine had less damage to cells, as well as lowered inflammation, than mice who did not consume glutamine. More research needs to be done to determine if supplemental nondietary glutamine has the same effect, and whether this is also effective in humans. If you have gastritis, talk with your doctor about whether L-glutamine is appropriate for you.
Before taking L-glutamine supplements, talk with your doctor about whether it is safe for you to use and tell her about any other medications and supplements you are on, to avoid adverse interactions. If you have gastritis, this amino acid should not replace any treatments your doctor has prescribed. Do not stop using any medications for your gastritis without first consulting your doctor.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Glutamine
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Gastritis; January 2010
- "The Journal of Nutrition"; Inflammation and Foveolar Hyperplasia Are Reduced by Supplemental Dietary Glutamine During Heliobacter Pylori Infection in Mice; S.J. Hagan, et al.; May 2009
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