You may have heard about glutamine before. This substance has previously been used by athletes and people who have been badly burned, have been hospitalized for chronic diseases, or have suffered from immune dysfunction.
Glutamine is a type of amino acid, a molecule that binds with other amino acids to make proteins.
Glutamine has many important functions throughout the human body. It is the most abundant amino acid, accounting for 30% of the human amino acid pool. Glutamine is used in large quantities to make proteins, repair damaged tissue, provide a fuel source to various cells, maintain the gut immune system, and help cancer patients recover from their chemotherapy.
Glutamine has also been used to help stabilize blood sugar and decrease the risk of developing diabetic neuropathy. Glutamine works to reduce blood sugar by helping to stimulate a protein chemical secreted from the pancreas that can lower blood sugar by improving insulin release and sensitivity.
Recent evidence from Iran has indicated that the use of glutamine can have a very positive effect on the health of diabetics. It is widely understood that diabetics have much lower levels of glutamine in their bloodstream.
The research team from Iran recruited 62 adults suffering from type 2 diabetes. After randomizing them into two groups, the participants were provided with either 30 grams of supplemental glutamine or a placebo supplement to be taken with each of their meals for six weeks.
After the six-week trial, the group who had consumed the glutamine had less body fat, a smaller waist size, and less muscle mass loss compared to the group who consumed the placebo supplement.
The most important feature of this research is the effects that glutamine had on blood sugar levels and blood sugar regulation. Those subjects who consumed the glutamine had lower average levels of fasting blood sugar and their levels of HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar regulation) were also more favorable compared to those of the placebo group.
The study’s authors wrote that “30 g glutamine three times a day with main meals markedly reduced glycemia, blood pressure and waist circumference and improved body composition in type 2 diabetes. Glutamine may improve the complications of type 2 diabetes. Yet, the evidence of current study is not sufficient to recommend the regular use. More prolonged nutritional intervention studies are warranted in these areas to assess the proposed clinical benefits of glutamine as an effective pharmaconutrient in chronic metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and also type 1 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome or in muscle wasting conditions.”
If you have type 2 diabetes and want more information regarding how glutamine may be helpful to you, I urge you to consult with your professional healthcare provider.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“GLUTAMINE: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings,” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-878-GLUTAMINE.aspx?activeIngredientId=878&activeIngredientName=GLUTAMINE, last accessed July 23, 2014.
Samocha-Bonet, D., et al., “Glutamine reduces postprandial glycemia and augments the glucagon-like peptide-1 response in type 2 diabetes patients,” J. Nutr. July 2011; 141(7): 1233–8.