L-Glutamine for GERD

Man preparing meat
Someone is slicing meat, a source of glutamine, on a chopping board. (Image: ladi59/iStock/Getty Images)

There are many ways to manage gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which leads to heartburn and acid reflux. These include lifestyle changes such as losing weight, wearing looser clothing and eating smaller meals, as well as medications or surgery. Some supplements, such as L-glutamine, also may be helpful, but make sure that you consult your doctor before trying any new supplement.

Identification

Glutamine is an amino acid, meaning it’s a building block of protein. In fact, it is the most abundant amino acid in your body. However, extreme stress such as heavy exercise or an injury can deplete your glutamine levels. This amino acid is important for removing excess ammonia from your body. You also need it for digestion, normal brain function and immune system function. The common form in dietary supplements is L-glutamine. It’s available in tablet, liquid and capsule form.

Effect

Glutamine may be useful if you have GERD because it has anti-inflammatory action that decreases the intestinal inflammation associated with acid reflux, according to an article on FoxNews.com. Glutamine helps to protect your gastrointestinal tract lining, which is called the mucosa, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Dosage

Recommendations for how much L-glutamine to take vary, so check with your doctor if you are interested in this approach. For example, Dr. Michael Janson, past president of the American Preventive Medical Association and the American College for Advancement in Medicine, suggests 1,000 to 2,000 mg twice daily, although he notes higher does may benefit some people. For example, in “Tired of Being Tired,” Jesse L. Hanley and Nancy Deville recommend a dose of 3,500 mg of L-glutamine one to three times a day. Doses of 500 mg daily are generally considered safe, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. Consult a doctor before trying higher doses.

Considerations

You can easily obtain glutamine from food. Dietary sources include animal and plant proteins such as raw cabbage, raw spinach, raw parsley, pork, beef, poultry and milk products. Take supplements only with the supervision of a healthcare provider. If you have liver disease, kidney disease or Reye syndrome, you should avoid glutamine. If you are elderly and have decreased kidney function, you may need to reduce your dosage of glutamine.

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