Stomach pain is one of the top reasons a patient comes to see me. There are steps I take to identify and resolve gastrointestinal (GI) issues but to put out the fire fast, I use one supplement that has had the most effective results for my 25 plus years of practice. Read on to discover the nitty gritty on stomach pain and the one supplement I use to tame the pain.
The Food Tube
The GI system is a tube that starts in your mouth and ends at your rectum. The lining of that tube is like a world onto itself. The cells that make up the lining are like soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder, not allowing anything into the bloodstream without it being identified and accepted. These cells, called enterocytes, regenerate every 2-3 weeks. That means you have an entirely new gut lining every 2-3 weeks. The good news is that the gut can heal quickly unless there is a constant irritation or inflammation happening. In that case it can take up to two years to heal completely.
What Can Cause the Ouch!
There are a number of things that will either cause the soldiers (the cells) to pull away from each other or for the cells to be inflamed and not function properly.
- Non-steroidal inflammatory drugs
- Allergic foods
- Yeast infections
- Toxin exposure
- Deficiency of vitamin D
- Lack of appropriate stomach acid
…just to name a few.
When this happens the contents in the stomach that were not intended for entry, enter the bloodstream. This can cause a protective immune response that can present with many symptoms, including stomach pain.
The Pain Eraser
L-Glutamine is an essential (your body needs it, but can’t make it so you need to get it from your food) amino acid. Protein is made up of amino acids. This particular amino acid is fuel for the cells of the intestinal lining. It, in fact, helps to repair and improve the function of the lining.
There is a study that shows the mucosal membrane of the intestines and it’s permeability deteriorated in patients who needed total intravenous feedings but did not in those who also received L-glutamine.
Inflammation of the lining can be stopped in it’s tracks with L-glutamine supplementation. I prescribe it in a powdered form and it typically helps my patients within 20 minutes. It can even help with mouth sores or an inflamed tongue if that extra spicy dinner got to you.
What Else Can It Do?
It is also used to repair muscle soreness and damaged muscle tissue. Athletes use it for this purpose. Research shows that it can even increase athletic performance and lean body mass.
You can find it in beef, bone broth and dairy products as well as red cabbage but if I am trying to decrease a significant amount of inflammation, I will use the powdered form.
Beware if you have any sensitivity to MSG or have a glutamate sensitivity. L-glutamine is not the excitotoxin glutamate but they are cousins and if you have headaches, hives or nausea with one, you may also have it with the other.
If you have stomach pain, come in for an evaluation or schedule a phone consultation. We can check for food sensitivities and I may help you resolve this condition for good.
Here’s to belly bliss.