|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
Previous studies have found that the microbiota in the guts of obese and overweight individuals is different from that of leaner people. A recent study suggests that taking supplements of L-glutamine may change the composition of gut microbiota in obese people so that it more closely resembles the gut microbiota of people with a normal weight.
L-glutamine is an amino acid that is found naturally in the body.
Participants in the study included 33 overweight and obese individuals between the ages of 23 and 59 who were given either 30 grams of L-glutamine or 30 grams of L-alanine daily for two weeks.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a statistically significant reduction of 0.3 in the ratio of Firmictues to Bacteriodetes in the L-glutamine group. In comparison, the placebo group had an increase from 0.91 to 1.12. The ratio of these two bacteria is considered to be a good measure of obesity, with higher numbers associated with obesity.
The researchers stated that the change in the ratio was similar to that seen after weight loss. While no changes in body weight were seen during the 14 day study, the researchers called for a longer period of supplementation to determine if L-glutamine may be able to effect metabolic changes.
Researchers from the School of Applied Sciences conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 29, 2015, in the journal Nutrition.
Previous studies suggest that L-glutamine may help relieve some of the side effects of medical treatments, including diarrhea, swelling in the mouth, nerve pain, and muscle and joint pain. It has also been found to help boost the immune and digestive systems.
L-glutamine can be found in animal proteins such as fish, pork, beef, and chicken. For vegetarians, it can be found in beans, milk, yogurt, ricotta cheese, and cottage cheese. Finally, if you think you’re not getting enough L-glutamine or simply would like to increase your intake, it can be taken in supplement form.