L-glutamine is considered one if not the richest of all amino acids. It makes up 50% of all the amino acids found in the blood. Glutamine is also one of the 20 amino acids needed in the human body for protein synthesis. Glutamine is referred as a “conditionally” essential amino acid by the health advisers of the Life Extension website. This is because our body can produce adequate amounts of this amino acid but during excessive exercises, infections, burns and surgery, additional glutamine is required. Let us see more of the relationship between L-glutamine and constipation.
L-Glutamine and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
One role of glutamine is to protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract which is known as mucosa. According to the University of Maryland, Medical Center, glutamine can be used by people who have inflammatory bowel disease as this may help them. Irritable bowel syndrome, same as problems with intestinal functions, can cause constipation. If you are suffering any of this condition, you may take glutamine supplementation as this is beneficial with these problems.
L-Glutamine and the Small Intestines
Glutamine is also necessary in maintaining the health of the small intestine. This organ of the body measures about 20 feet in length and is located in the abdomen. Inadequate amounts of glutamine may affect the villi that line the walls and the main function is to absorb vitamins and nutrients after the food is broken down into the stomach. Glutamine aids in helping the cells of the intestine so as to absorb water and prevent the body from dehydration which also causes constipation. This is according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. To help prevent these symptoms, one must ensure to have enough glutamine in the body.
Benefits of L-Glutamine
L-glutamine plays an important role in maintaining muscle mass, boosting immune system of the body, increasing growth hormone and improving athletic performance. Glutamine fuels white blood cells which are very important in supporting the immune system function. People who suffer from trauma, viral infections, chemotherapy and surgery often have depleted levels of glutamine that’s why additional amounts of glutamine are needed. They may have it from glutamine supplements. Also the endurance athletes can experience depleted glutamine so they may benefit from additional amounts coming from supplements or from dietary sources
Dietary Sources of L-Glutamine Supplements
One can increase his glutamine level by consuming glutamine-rich foods from animal proteins and plant proteins. Beef, poultry, pork, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk and ricotta are great glutamine sources from animal proteins. From plant, you can have it from raw spinach, raw parsley, beets and cabbage.
Side Effects of L-Glutamine
Glutamine is generally safe but it has possible interactions with some medications like doxorubicin, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil among patients with colon cancer. It can also stimulate the growth of tumors among cancer patients. Some less serious side effects include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, colds, dry mouth, swelling of the feet and hands, mild rashes, headache, dizziness and increased sweating.
L-glutamine is proven to help with IBS, constipation included. However, we still have to take a look at side effects it may bring. Better ask your doctor if you can take in L-glutamine supplements for constipation.