Glutamine is the major fuel for the gut as well as for many cells in the immune system that becomes conditionally essential during catabolic states. Glutamine supplementation improves intestinal mucosal repair and function. Glutamine, even at high doses, is without side effects and is well tolerated. Though unstable in solution, this is overcome by creating stable dipeptides such as alanyl-glutamine. In HIV-positive patients with wasting, glutamine enhances intestinal absorptive function and weight gain. Glutamine enhances sodium and water absorption in a rabbit model of cholera and Cryptosporidium-infected piglet intestine. Both glutamine and alanyl-glutamine have recently proven effective in a bovine model of Cryptosporidium as well. Finally, a rat model of cholera toxin-induced diarrhea also showed that alanyl-glutamine enhanced water and electrolyte intestinal absorption even better than the traditional glucose solutions. Clearly glutamine and its stabler derivatives hold promise for enhancing repair of mucosal injury by a wide range of infections or toxic agents, and hence have great potential as a new oral rehydration and nutrition therapy for patients with enteric infection, malnutrition, or chemotherapy- or radiation-induced enteritis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases