L-Glutamine, Leaky Gut & the Gut-Skin Connection
Updated: Nov 7, 2021
What is leaky gut and how can l glutamine help?
Maybe you've already read my post on how leaky gut may be causing your skin issues... If not, here is a quick introduction to leaky gut. Fairly self-explanatory by its descriptive name, leaky gut is when the lining ( the tight junctions that hold everything together) of our gut becomes loose and too permeable. These tight junctions are crucial in upholding the integrity of our gut lining. When they become loose large proteins and pathogens that should be kept within the gut walls, are leaked into the bloodstream.
This can be caused by stress factors in our diets, lifestyles, environments and more.
What happens next is our immune system identifies these large 'foreign' substances from the gut in the bloodstream and attack them as invaders.
Now, remember, the immune system engages inflammation to acutely attack invaders. This is useful for cleaning up acute experiences, but If leaky gut is persistent, chronic inflammation can result in a stress burden on the body...
Want to know what the symptoms and causes of leaky gut could be? Head over to this blog post here. Already know the deal and want to know how l glutamine plays a role in gut lining repair? Read on...
What are the benefits of l glutamine for leaky gut?
What is l glutamine?
L glutamine is an amino acid ( a protein building block for our body) that is naturally made in the body.
What does L glutamine do?
We are very efficient with the use of these amino acid building blocks and so Glutamine has many roles in the body
Precursor for muscle growth and repair
Kidney and liver support
Hepatic and renal gluconeogenesis
Precursor for making neurotransmitters and glutathione ( a potent antioxidant)
Fuel for the intestine and immune cells
Energy metabolism, muscle repair, intestinal integrity, gut immunology
Benefits of l glutamine for leaky gut:
L glutamine is an amino acid that is especially useful to our intestines.
One study showed that the intestine utilises about 30% of total glutamine proving itself as a key piece in the gut puzzle. In the gut, glutamine:
Promotes gut cell replication, to help close loose junctions in the gut lining
Regulates tight junction proteins, to prevent pathogens and toxins from entering the intestine
Used as fuel for your gut cells. Did you know that simply digesting the food we eat can take up to 15% of our bodies total energy?
Reduces inflammation by regulating inflammatory pathways, improving the tight function to block bacterial infiltration, boosting immune cell activity and soothing the intestinal tissue.
Protects against cell stress. Cortisol depletes glutamine levels, as well as acting as a precursor to our favourite stress-busting, free radical-fighting antioxidant; glutathione.
One to highlight here: cortisol depletes glutamine levels. Now, who isn't living in a high stress, or chronic stress state these days? What with a pandemic, sedentary lifestyles, the western diet, along with relationship pressures, there always seems to be something in life that challenges us. It's time to support the body against this state as best we can!
Benefits of l glutamine for skin:
As mentioned, skin conditions can become common when a leaky gut allows toxins, proteins, and pathogens into our body and bloodstream. This can include urticaria (rashes) eczema, psoriasis, acne and skin infections.
Additionally, the top layer of our skin is made up of fibrous structural proteins: keratin and collagen. Collagen is made up of amino acids, and the amino acid benefits for the skin are plenty. Glutamine is one of those amino acids that benefit the skin. You see, l-glutamine increases the biosynthesis of collagen. I just breached 30 so I'm keen to keep that collagen production line up and running for plump and youthful skin!
Glutamine is also beneficial for blood sugar balancing which is key for balancing hormones that can cause breakouts.
Lastly, remember glutathione? This antioxidant also helps clear out toxins by helping our liver process smoothly and tidying up the 'mess' that are reactive oxidative species in our bodies. L glutamine is a precursor to glutathione. ( what doesn't this nifty guy do?!)
Conclusion: L glutamine benefits the skin by supporting collagen production, healing leaky gut, and boosting antioxidant action.
What foods contain l-glutamine?
Glutamine is a naturally occurring component in the body, but you'll also find this nutrient in high protein foods, most commonly animal meats. For those veggies, vegans and plant-powered people, glutamine can also be found in other protein-rich plant-based sources. See this list below:
cabbage (there was one study where cabbage juice was drunk to heal peptic ulcers, due to the high glutamine and vitamin U content - to great effect!)
Best l glutamine supplement for leaky gut & skin
Best l glutamine powder for leaky gut ( in my opinion) are actually the powdered forms.
For me, the best l glutamine supplement for leaky gut was Nutri Advanced's Glutagenics, mostly due to the additional Zinc and Quercitin - making this a more costly supplement than l glutamine on its own but a gut-loving scoop of goodness!
When is the best time to take l glutamine?
Either on an empty stomach before breakfast, or with a meal.
L glutamine dosage for leaky gut
A dosage of anywhere from 10-40g can be beneficial to an individual, depending on the need and requirement. I would say to increase your amounts gradually over a period of weeks to Some may have adverse reactions depending on their genetics or current state of health.
If you start using an l glutamine supplement and it doesn't agree with you - don't push through. Speak to a professional to help guide you - you may be able to come back to it once other healing has taken place.
Who shouldn't take l glutamine
Some people with cancer, or those who have a high risk of cancer
So we know that l glutamine has many beneficial roles in the body. Science is still catching up with clinical trials so with promising data in experimental models, further studies are needed to evaluate glutamine supplementation in clinical practice. Remember that L glutamine is one small component in the healing journey to a healthier gut - not a magic quick fix. If you're looking to heal leaky gut, please speak to a professional to help you navigate through.
I'm offering a free discovery call and would love to chat to see how I can support you! You can book in here.