The complaints I hear about indigestion, upset stomachs, gastric reflux, and abdominal pain soar during these holiday months. It’s often the result of a leaky gut, and it’s no wonder. Thanks to office parties, family gatherings, cookie exchanges, and more most people are exposed to—and partaking in—decadent and rich foods that just aren’t as abundant at other times of the year. Plus, chronic stress can also cause a weak gut lining (hello, holidays). But I get ahead of myself. First of all, let me explain what your gut is exactly, and why it’s important.
Why Your Gut is Important: Gut Health 101
Your gut is the long tube that stretches the length from your mouth to your navel. It’s long and winding, and your food passes through it to be digested, the nutrients absorbed, and the leftover waste excreted. And there’s more—lots. Your digestive system is a very busy place. For example, there are glands in your stomach lining that produce specific acids and enzymes to breakdown your food. Also, in your stomach’s cells and small intestine are hormones that are produced and released to help further regulate and time the digestive system—so your food is properly digested and absorbed before moving along to the next stage. Your intestinal lining has specialized cells that absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. There are many foods and supplements that are beneficial to rebuilding a healthy gut lining, but if you forced my hand, I’d choose glutamine.
What is Leaky Gut?
For your gastrointestinal system (GI or gut) to function properly it must be able to absorb the nutrients from your food (through the lining) to distribute them to your blood stream. When you have a leaky gut it means that the lining of your GI tract has been compromised and isn’t able to do its job appropriately. This literally means that your nutrients and predigested foods can leak into your body—triggering inflammation but also causing hormone imbalances. Hormones, after all are packaged and broken down in the gut as well. Leaky gut is not recognized conventionally but Your doctor may have referred to it as malabsorption or increased intestinal permeabilitity.
My favorite Gut Healing Supplement
Glutamine is an amino acid and it’s one of my favorites because it helps both with digestion and with re-establishing the gut lining by literally sealing the gut. Glutamine helps protect the mucosa or lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Plus, recent research suggests that glutamine is also helpful for muscle recovery after strenuous exercise—bonus! Your body can make enough glutamine for regular needs, but chronic stress and digestive issues that include bloating, cramping, or gas can lower glutamine and a supplement can help. I recommend 1 to 2 grams daily in the morning with breakfast, or with whatever meal or snack you can take it most consistently.
What I like to Pair with Glutamine Help your gut start off each day with a boost by taking an apple cider vinegar shot (ACV shot). This is a great way to keep your gut’s microbiome balanced, which aids digestion and also gives your immune system a boost. Just mix 1 tablespoon organic raw apple cider vinegar with 3 tablespoons water. Bottoms up!
Can Glutamine be Used with Kids Check with your pediatrician before giving glutamine to a child 10 years or younger.