Thursday, July 21, 2011

L-Glutamine: The ultimate remedy for IBS-D?

Update 05 sept. 2011: I added some advice on using L-Glutamine at the end of this article.

First of all, my apologies for the lack of updates these last few months. I am still dedicated to finding efficient treatments for IBS, and well, I need to test and approve them before posting anything here.
Now to the good news. Fellow irritable bowel syndrome(diarrhea variant) sufferers, there is one drug you MUST try out. If you check out some websites, lots of users have had tremendous relief thanks to it: L-Glutamine.


What is L-Glutamine?


A quick stop on the wikipedia page tells us that it is an amino-acid, naturally produced by the body. It is considered as non-essential (i.e your body creates it, no need to take some supplement for normal people), but recent discoveries may change this point of view.
L-Glutamine's first role in the system is to help the muscles regenerate after an effort. Not necessarily what we want, but it's good to know, because you should find it easily as a supplement for body builders at your local sports store, or on amazon.

How does it help me?

To the point that interests us now: It has been discovered that L-Glutamine plays a very important role in the digestive system.
  1. It absorbs water from the stools, meaning you should have less diarrhea. This happens within the first days of taking it, and believe me, it works really well, way better than calcium.
  2. It repairs the intestine.
  3. It repairs the intestinal wall, thus helping other conditions that are linked to IBS, like leaky gut syndrome.
Points 2 and 3 above won't happen overnight, and you will need to take the supplement for months. But it's cheap, tasteless, and easy to take, so all we need is a little patience.


Could L-glutamine CURE IBS-D?


This assertion may seem exaggerated, but a recent study published in the gut magazine shows that many IBS-D sufferers do not create enough L-Glutamine naturally. Here's what happens: under stress circumstances, the amount of glutamine lowers in the body. A normal person will have its glutamine levels restored naturally within days. For many IBS-D sufferers, this won't happen, due to a defficient RNA (meaning, if several persons in your family suffer from IBS, you might have found the reason). 
Have you ever had a stressful period where your symptoms got worse, and after it they still remained pretty bad? This could be it.
So taking L-Glutamine as a supplement for a few months may be the way out for many of us. Once the gut has been repaired, no need to go on with the treatment, maybe take some from time to time to keep the levels up. 
You can actually read a lot of success stories on the internet by searching l-glutamine and ibs with your favourite research engine. 

My success this far


I began taking L-Glutamine on the 8th of June, 2g twice a day, outside meals. Since then, I had... 2 diarrheas. Now, I still experience urges, a need to go to the bathroom urgently, but even this starts to get better. Even in stressful situations, I find out that I do not necessarily need to go.
So what happens next? Well, if things keep going on at this rate, all symptoms should disappear in a few months. I have been suffering from IBS since I was a kid (now 31), the gut won't heal overnight. In the worst case, things remain like they are, and I already found a way to feel a LOT better. I will keep you informed.


To conclude with, unfortunately, L-Glutamine won't work for everyone. First of all, IBS-C sufferers, although some of them claim to have some success on the forums. Also keep in mind that IBS has many different causes, see my post on the origins of IBS. But I'm sure we'll eventually find something that works for you!

Some advice on using L-glutamine 


(update) 
As of the 5th of September, I still experience the full benefits of L-Glutamine. I strongly advise you to try it out. In the meantime, I have discovered a few things about it that may help you.
  • Buy L-glutamine in powder form, it's more efficient than in capsules.
  • L-glutamine makes the kidney work more. So be sure to drink more water as normal. Do not take it if you have some kind of kidney condition.
  • Take your L-glutamine 30 minutes to 60 minutes before a meal, twice a day. This will drastically reduce the amount of diarrheas you experience.
  • Start with 1g twice a day, move up to 2g after a few days.
  • If you start feeling constipated, reduce your intake.
  • L-glutamine is also known to be a neuro-transmitter, and will excite you. For me, this means some light insomnia, nothing I can't handle. But some people reported panic attacks! Be sure not to take too much L-glutamine to avoid such problems, I would suggest not exceeding 5g a day. This dose used to make me more irritable, so I cut it down a bit. Of course everyone is different, but be careful here.

28 commentaires:

Guillaume said...

Here's a link to an article explaining the study in detail:
http://www.prohealth.com/fibromyalgia/library/showArticle.cfm?libid=15566&B1=EM090810B&slvor=10467.1015015.0.1.0.46463&eid=hspencer@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

It's working great. I've cut back on immodium. I can't believe how well and immediately it went to work.

Thanks Guillaume!!!!!!!

Guillaume said...

Glad I could help! Please keep us informed on your progress!

chrisoutwright said...

Hi!
I've been using L-Glutamine for 1.5 weeks now.
My IBS-D went away after a few days, but sadly something else crept in! I felt really tired even after only 1g per day, no matter if sport was accompanied to the dosage. My sleep seemed better though. But still, on top of being edgy and grumpy and spaced out some of the time, some kind of depression quickly doomed for me within my mind.
I can't explain why such a small dosage could produce all of this. My only explanation at hand could be some sort of fatal combination of calciumcarbonat, which I take with meals in advance, with the glutamine.
Now I am trying to shed off all accumulation in my body of both of them and then start reintroducing seperately and in small amounts, first-off being glutamine. I also find that my attention got really worse, escpecially my motivation and remembering. As I had no real problem with both of them I subscribe it to either of the supps.

Anonymous said...

I have been taking L - Glutimine powder for about two months now. It has virtually eliminated my body aches and pains! My IBS is much better! This is a miracle for me!

Anonymous said...

I seem to have some strange reaction to L glutamine-really weird feelings of rectal burning, stomach cramps and no reduction in D. I have to take it at night because I can't bear the symptoms during the day if I take it in the morning. Has anyone else had this? Does it go away? I've never been able to take it for longer than a few days. I've tried more than one brand, but it made no difference.

Guillaume said...

Hi, how much l-glutamine do you take? I would suggest starting really slow, like 0,5g a day. If that still triggers unwanted symptoms, it's probably not for you. Have a go at calcium before meals, or change your diet.

Anonymous said...

Hi Guillaume,
I've cut down to 835mg per day from 1600mg, in addition to 3 caltrates daily. (which I've been taking for 6 months-it helps, but not enough). The symptoms are less on the lower dose, so I'll try that for a couple of weeks and see what happens.
Love your site btw!

Guillaume said...

Thanks! Hope it will help. Otherwise you can always try changing your diet.

Glutamine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi,

Thanks Guillaume for this fantastic post. I have IBS-D or SIBO (or both!). I started Glutamine (mixed with other stuff - Intestamine by Bioceuticals) at 1g x2 yesterday.

The effect was incredible. I felt really happy, energetic and had a great night's sleep. My digestive system also improved a lot.

But the next day I had a skin rash. I will try pure L-glutamine and update.

Again, thanks for all the great info! However I am confused if you are cured. Also your blog is .au are you from Australia ? I am ...

Guillaume said...

glad to read it works for you!

"cured" may be exagerated, I am symptom free in everyday life using a low-fodmap low-carb diet. Symptoms tend to come back under stressful situations.

The ".au" you see is a feature from blogger, everyone sees the extension from his own country. I am actually French, but live in Germany.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info! Did you continue the L-Glutamine or did you stop it? If you stopped it - why ?

I am glad you have found a way to overcome your IBS. So using a low fodmap low carb diet do you still need to avoid trigger foods ? Eg can you just eat some icecream say once a week and have no issues ?

I am working on my stress with "get some headspace". I found it particularly helpful because of the iphone app. But I did it 2x a day to be aggressive.

Again thanks so much for your blog - great work!

Guillaume said...

I stopped L-glutamine after starting changing my diet, because I started getting constipated. No need for l-glutamine when everything is working well!

Trigger foods are actually forbidden under a low-fodmaps diet (lactose, fructose, gluten), so no, I don't try to eat ice-cream. However, it contains some lactase (the enzyme needed to digest lactose) as well, so you may want to try it.

For stress, I am currently trying vipassana meditation, and it seems really promising.

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Anonymous said...

That's great. I wish I could do low fodmap low carb also - but I am vegetarian and have been for 20+ years.

Also I have read that parasites can cause the same symptoms as IBS and often there is a misdiagnosis.

http://www.cdd.com.au/pages/disease_info/parasites.html

Apparently a standard stool test is not very accurate.

Yes, get some headspace is similar to vipassana, but more long the lines of mindfulness.

I like it because of the guided iphone app.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I think that it's worth mentioning that L-Glutamine can cause severe sinusitis in certain individuals (unfortunately for me, I'm one of them). As the effects on the symptoms of IBS-D can be quite marked, I am currently experimenting with dosage rates to find out at what point the sinus problems are triggered.
It seems that L-glutamine can promote the production of mucus in the colon which helps with IBS, but it can also promote the production of mucus in the sinuses.

Guillaume said...

Thanks for the comment, I had actually never heard of this side effect.

Anonymous said...

I have had IBS since 1997- following chemotherapy that wiped out my critters in my gut. I had many gut infections as diagnosed by Great Smokey Mountain labs (name has since changed) and was treated repeatedly with Cipro (antibiotic)and it would resolve for some time and then eventually return and get retreated. It started with IBS-C which I frequently "spot" treated by taking magnesium citrate powder 1-3 tsps per day. Usually three doses would get me back on track and resolve the constipation but sometimes it was so bad it would take a week or two. I found food allergies/intolerances or trigger to be my main problem. Call them what you want, but I was "blessed" with these terrible food intolerances once I completed chemotherapy of 8 months for Hodgkins disease. My most offensive foods are: dairy-whey, lactose, casein,milk, yogurt,cheese, butter, egg yolk and whites, garlic, sugar/ sweetener of any kind- including artificial sweeteners, salmon, kiwi, barley, corn, green beans, watermelon. Strangely, I can tolerate, and like goat milk, goat cheese, goat butter, most vegetables and meat,chicken and most fish. I also seem to have no problem with wheat any longer but I went many years without it due to sensitivities.
In the last several years, my IBS-C has turned to IBS-D. I suspect this is due to all the antibiotics from infection, pneumonia, Lyme Disease and gall bladder infection.

I recently had to devise a new plan of attack since my food allergies have worsened significantly, and I assume this means my gastrointestinal microbiota have become less diversified and over-run by the bad guys in town.
I have taken huge doses 450-900 billion critters twice daily of probiotics in excess of 6 months, and lower dosages for 15 years. The high dose probiotics were from customprobiotics.com and are dairy free. I used the bifidus blend and the D-lac formula which combines I think 6 (or 9?) probiotics. Both of these products helped immensely at first and maybe would have helped more if I continued longer but I flared in december due to illness and family stress which is part of the reason I got lazy and quit taking them- the other reason is expense. If you want to try them, start slowly. Yes, they may cause diarrhea as they are battling for hot property inside your guts and everyone can't be a winner. I found I tolerated the d-lac even at high dose with no problem, but even the smallest dose of bifidus blend initially caused me "acidic sulfurous gas" and sometimes diarrhea at first. But I read on line that one mom's child had this same effect- she indicated her child had a recurrent c-diff infection and she suspected this was the cause......and I had repeated C-diff infections as well, and I surmised the same cause!
SO I believe there was a big battle between c-diff and Bifidus going on and it was one worth waiting on to work itself out. I will be restarting my probiotics in the next few months but I have a few more things I want to try first.
I have recently found Sodium Bentonite clay (1-3 tsp powdered Clay diluted in 4oz water)to be extremely effective at resolving the diarrhea. It appears there may be too many bile acids being secreted, or not being reabsorbed by the body (I had my gallbladder out in 2008). It also appears that proper bacteria in the gut affect re-absorption of bile acids and too many bile acids not being reabsorbed irritate the colon wall. Bile acids are suppose to be absorbed in the small intestine,and when inadequately re-absorbed, cause diarrhea.
This worked for me in 24 hours. Its pretty cheap, I bought my Sodium Bentonite clay from uniquehealing.com in 1 pound packages but it's also available in capsule. It's tasteless and so worth not having diarrhea.
I feel pretty safe leaving the house.

Guillaume said...

Many thanks for this very detailed post. I had never heard of Sodium Bentonite for IBS. Sounds interesting.

Anonymous said...

i bought l- glutamine and cant wait to start . can you tell me how to make sure it is 1 gm though? i have bought the granules which come in satchets of 10 gm each. do i do this as an approx measure? how exact do i need to be in taking 1 gm each time and should i start with 1 gm ?
also can i take it afternoon and night? prefer to avoid any tabs in the morning as i have the thyroid tabs that i take thx

Anonymous said...

my ibs started ( sadly ) when i had a problem with the boiler in my house. apparently it was leaking carbon monoxide, in small doses though. went to teh doctor multiple times but they could not figure out the problem. they kept asking if i was under stress, CO does subject the mind to stress as it deprives the brain of oxygen.
since then i have been trying to figure out how i can cure it, since its been at least 10 yrs since the stress went away, but the problem remains.
l-glutamine looks interesting. liquorice also helped in teh past as i have gastritis also which means i cant take spicy food,coffee etc.

do let me know if l-glutamine should be combined with anything else.

thanks for your help

Guillaume said...

I wouldn't worry too much about an approx measure. I would recommend taking it 30 minutes before meals.

Anonymous said...

For those who had problems with glutamine, I wanted to mention that how it is manufactured matters. I had been unanble to tolerate any brands that I bought in the past. I am a celiac and they always gave me celiac reactions and put my heart into a-fib. I finally found a brand that doesn't give me any problems. (Country Life Gluten Free) and it seems to be helping me quite a bit.

I am realizing that I need to check how supplements are manufactured and what trace byproducts might still remain in them.

Anonymous said...

Same thing happened to me. Would get dizzy as well. Had to stop taking it.

Anonymous said...

I think you can be allergic to this stuff... Especially if you're sensitive to MSG.

boatman said...

when you say start out small and build up to prevent constipation, is it something your body will adapt too? Or can it keep causing constipation at small doses?

Guillaume said...

A little adaptation will probably happen. But I principally meant that you have to find the dosage that doesn't trigger constipation for you.

Mary said...

I have been on this for about week and it seems to really be helping my chronic diarrhea nightmare. One side effect I've started noticing is cystic acne? Just had a few pop up but I haven't struggled with acne in a while and am currently pregnant, which typically keeps it at bay. Any thoughts? Did this happen to anyone else?

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