It raises some eyebrows when I say that glutamine helps repair leaky gut to heal psoriasis. The reason being- glutamine is generally consumed by professional athletes, bodybuilders and the people who are passionate about fitness and good physique. Glutamine provides them the nutrition and energy to cope up with intense training sessions and also, to enhance muscle building. But, glutamine is a vital nutrient for the gut health also. Glutamine is the primary source of fuel for cells that line your intestinal walls. Optimum amount of glutamine in your body promotes structural integrity of intestinal linings to treat leaky gut.
Among various dietary supplements to heal leaky gut, glutamine is certainly the most powerful one. It is easy to consume, easily available and most importantly- with barely any side effects because a healthy human body naturally has glutamine in abundance.
Don’t confuse glutamine with a steroid. It is the most abundant amino acid in your body. In this post, we would discuss about leaky gut, how it is related to psoriasis and what is the use of glutamine in treating leaky gut.
What is Leaky Gut and How it is related to Psoriasis
In simpler terms, your gut is a hollow pipe and the walls of your gut has a net like structure with extremely small holes. These micro holes allow only specific stuff to pass through and enter your blood stream. It restricts the undigested food particles, pathogens (disease causing bacteria) and other toxins from entering your blood stream. If due to some reason, this net structure gets damaged and the holes get bigger- then the above mentioned un-welcomed stuffs would seep through and mix into your blood stream. Your immune system doesn’t like these foreign invaders and becomes hyperactive. Such a furious immune system would register its protest by triggering an auto-immune reaction to cause inflammation and exponential growth of skin cells.
Hence, when the gut walls (also known as intestinal linings) become hyper-permeable and allows unwanted matters to enter your blood stream, such a mechanism is known as leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability.
Leaky gut, itself is a not a disease, but, its a mechanism which can result in various health complications (see below) if not corrected in time.
- Food sensitivities
- Autoimmune disorders (psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis)
- Low energy (fatigue)
- Digestive problems (chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcer)
- Joint pain
- Brain disorders
Various alternative health experts do acknowledge leaky gut and its harmful effects, but, the modern medical science is yet to approve it. Often conventional doctors and dermatologist would never discuss leaky gut as a potential root cause of psoriasis.
Research studies to link Psoriasis and Leaky Gut
- Published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, July 1991, a case study summarizes as- Intestinal permeability of 15 psoriatic and 15 non psoriatic people were examined and it was recorded significantly higher in case of psoriatic people.
- Another Psoriasis case study involves 5 patients having mild to severe symptoms. They were trained to follow an alternative treatment approach with the help of restricted diet, herbal teas and colonic irrigation. After 6 months, their intestinal permeability got reduced by almost 60% along with significant reduction in psoriasis symptoms.
- Unhealthy diet– Foods such as wheat gluten, dairy, red meat, nightshades and refined (artificial) sugar are the biggest culprit for leaky gut. Gluten, dairy and nightshades contain lectins (a complex protein). Lectins are hard to digest and sticky in nature. They stick to the gut walls, irritates them and widen the gaps to cause leaky gut. Refined sugar is the food for yeast and bad bacteria in your gut. These harmful foreign matters produce toxins which damage the gut linings to worsen leaky gut.
Read more: Dr Pagano Diet for Psoriasis
- Chronic stress– Stress increases inflammation in your body. Inflammation is your immune system’s response to stress. Also, chronic stress weakens your immune system gradually. Decreased immune system and increased body inflammation- these two developments would definitely propel the chances of leaky gut in the long run.
Read more: Why Stress triggers Psoriasis
- Too much toxins-In today’s time, we are surrounded by chemicals. Pesticides in the food, impure water (chloride, fluoride and other chemicals), long term use of antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen) – all these culprits can contribute in worsening leaky gut symptoms.
- Gut flora imbalance– Your gut has a balance of disease causing bacteria (pathogens) and healthy bacteria (probiotics). This equilibrium ensures optimum digestion and body immunity If this balance gets disturbed, then the pathogens would overpower probiotics to increase the level of body toxins. It can result in leaky gut followed by inflammation and autoimmune response. Various reasons for gut flora imbalance are- chronic illness, consumption of processed foods rich in refined sugar and refined white flour, pasteurized dairy products, GMO foods, chronic use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, pesticides and contaminated drinking water. Sometimes, this gut imbalance can start at birth also if the mother didn’t have a healthy gut balance.
Glutamine helps repair Leaky gut to heal Psoriasis
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins in our body. Glutamine is a non essential amino acid. It is the major nitrogen donor in your body. It provides almost one third of all nitrogen circulated in your body system. Your body synthesizes glutamine with the help of other essential amino acids and then it is transferred through the bloodstream to various parts of your body. Around 60% of your skeletal muscle is made up for glutamine. A healthy human body can synthesize enough glutamine by its own. But, under stressful conditions such as intense physical training, trauma (surgery), emotional instability, chronic illness, digestive tract related sisoders- your body can’t synthesize enough glutamine and becomes deficient in it. In such circumstances, it becomes an essential amino acid and you need to look for external dietary sources to make up for it.
The cells of your small intestine use it as their primary source of energy. They love it. They absorb it directly to produce more intestinal mucus and also, to tighten up the structural integrity of gut walls. It acts as a band-aid for digestive tract linings to treat ulcers, leaky gut and other digestive disorders. It is something like bathing the intestines with a protective coating to gauge further seepage of unwanted stuffs through the intestinal barrier. It stimulates intestinal mucus production to promote smooth bowel movements and relieve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
In short, glutamine promotes a healthy digestive health by treating leaky gut and increasing intestinal mucus production.
Glutamine heals Leaky Gut- Research Studies
- Published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, July 2014 issue, a case study summarizes as- twenty patients were divided into 2 categories. All of them were undergoing abdominal surgery. One group was administered 30 grams/day of glutamine and the other group was given placebo. After 7 days, for the first group (glutamine), the intestinal permeability got reduced. But, for the second group (placebo), the result was opposite.- Intestinal permeability of 15 psoriatic and 15 non psoriatic people were examined and it was recorded significantly higher in case of psoriatic people.
- In the Journal of Nutrition, May 2009 issue, the case study findings put glutamine at par with conventional antibiotics to treat stomach ulcers.
Other benefits of Glutamine for Psoriasis
- Reduced cravings for sugar and alcohol– It helps in suppressing the secretion of insulin hormone to stabilize blood glucose. It helps in reducing the craving for sugar and carbohydrates. Reduces cravings for sugar and alcohol help in weight loss also.
Read more: Alcohol and Psoriasis
- Improved Brain functioning– Leaky gut syndrome affects the brain function also. The effect can vary from person to person. When the harmful bacteria, undigested food and proteins enter the bloodstream and circulate through the body, it can affect the brain also. Insomnia, depression, lack of concentration, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)- sometimes, these disorders are related to leaky gut. Glutamine treats leaky gut and hence, helps in proper brain functioning also.
- To regulate body immunity– It is used by the white blood cells to regulate body immunity.
Benefits of Glutamine beyond Leaky gut
- To get a lean muscular body without excess fat– It helps in protein synthesis and fat burning. It means that if you are sweating hard in the gym to get rid of extra body fat without losing muscle, than glutamine is a vital supplement for you. It helps you to get a lean muscular body.
- Helps in Human Growth Hormone (HGH) secretion– A regular intake of 2 grams/day of glutamine can increase the secretion of Human growth hormone (HGH) by many times. HGH secretion helps your body to break down fats more efficiently to give you a lean muscular body without excess fat.
- Helps to beat “over training syndrome”– Your body would take almost 5 to 6 days to synthesize the amount of glutamine that you can lose in just one hour of intense training. Now, if you keep on doing intense training on a regular basis without replenishing glutamine from external dietary sources, then there are high chances that you would feel fatigue and low in energy. It can cause over training syndrome also. Replenishing your body with an external source of glutamine would help you beat these symptoms.
- Reduces Muscle wasting– Do you know that one hour of intense workout can reduce glutamine level in your body by up to 40%. Less glutamine means less energy. At this stage, your body would start drawing energy from the muscles than carbohydrates. It can result in muscle wasting. Optimum amount of glutamine would avoid this condition. AIDS patients also consume glutamine sometimes to avoid severe weight loss.
- Increased Ammonia excretion– Ammonia is a waste material produced in your body during the breakdown of proteins. Your liver converts it into urea which is excreted through kidney. If your liver (or kidney) becomes less efficient to get rid of it, it can accumulate in your body to create troubles. In such cases, glutamine acts as a buffer to promote increased excretion of ammonia from your body.
Food sources containing Glutamine
It is found in both- animal foods as well as plant foods.
Animal foods– Beef, pork, turkey, fish (cod, tuna, salmon), chicken, eggs, dairy products
Plant foods– Wheat, cabbage, beets, beans and spinach
Here, it is worth mentioning that most of the foods mentioned above are suspicious for a person dealing with psoriasis such as dairy, eggs, pork, wheat etc. Also, you are not going to get enough glutamine from these foods alone. Hence, you need to look for an external glutamine source to treat leaky gut and hence, psoriasis.
Good to know
Spirulina, a type of blue green algae, is a natural super food which is highly recommended to avoid any malnutrition during restricted psoriasis diet regimen also contains good amount of glutamine.
Dosage and How to consume
Your body naturally contains glutamine in abundance. Hence, consuming glutamine from an external dietary source would seldom pose any serious side effect. But, we should avoid too much, too soon. Consuming a few hundred grams of glutamine is not going to treat your leaky gut overnight. The optimum dosage of glutamine to treat leaky gut is 10 to 40 grams per day. I am afraid that anything less than 10 grams per day would not give you encouraging results.
Glutamine is available in two forms- powder and capsules. Considering the recommended dosage per day (which is pretty high), it is always good to consume powder instead of capsules. Always opt for flavorless glutamine powder of a reputed brand.
Confusion between Glutamine and L-Glutamine
A number of times, people get confused between glutamine and L-glutamine. Actually, both are the same things.
Glutamine exists in two forms: L-glutamine and D-glutamine. In terms of chemical structure, these are mirror images of each other. D- glutamine has no nutritional value and occurs in very small amounts. Hence, all the glutamine that we are discussing is L-glutamine. So, either we say glutamine or L-glutamine, we are talking about the same thing.
From Where to buy
You can easily buy a pack of flavorless glutamine powder of a trusted brand from a fitness store near to you. Otherwise, you can check it out at Amazon: –
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Psoriasis healing starts in the gut and it is a long term commitment. You have to adopt a holistic healing approach where different aspects- restricted diet, positive lifestyle, use of dietary supplements and herbs, stress management and use of natural external treatments- would work as a team to help you manage your psoriasis and live a better life. Glutamine is a very important supplement for people dealing with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a complex autoimmune disorder related to compromised digestive tract. Glutamine can offer a great deal of help in this case because the cells of your intestine linings love it. They feed on it for growth and development. It improves the overall gastrointestinal health by treating leaky gut and enhancing the intestinal mucus production. Consume a good quality glutamine for a prolonged period of time for long term healing benefits.