Science Update

Oral glutamine supplementation reduces weight circumference in patients with obesity

The amino acid glutamine has been highly regarded for its role in supporting the immune system and a healthy gut microbiome. In a new study published last Friday in Nutrients, researchers demonstrated that glutamine supplementation reduces weight circumference and circulating lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in patients with obesity.

This study included 39 individuals ranging from 20 to 60 years of age who had been diagnosed as obese or overweight. At the beginning of the study, height, weight, and waist circumference were assessed and BMI was calculated. Laboratory assessment included fasting glucose, insulin, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and LPS. Participants were divided into four groups based upon BMI and were given 15 grams of either alanine or glutamine supplementation twice daily for a 2-week period.

At the end of the study there was no significant difference in body weight or BMI; however, there was a significant decrease in waist circumference, which is very surprising for such a short treatment duration. In addition, there was a significant reduction in insulin and circulating LPS in the glutamine supplementation group. No changes were seen in fasting glucose, TNF-α, IL-1β, or IL-6.

These results support the research on the benefits of glutamine on modulating the microbiome and its impact on the intestinal barrier, and also its role in patients who are overweight or obese. Glutamine may also be altering the microbiome by decreasing the Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio, which is associated with obesity. Building on the results of this study, it would be interesting to see the impact of glutamine supplementation on the microbiome in obese individuals over a longer period of time, perhaps several months or even longer.

Additional nutrients that should be considered for obesity include vitamin C, fish oil, and tocotrienols. Obesity is associated with chronic low grade inflammation, so there will be increased vitamin C and antioxidant requirements to mitigate oxidative stress. Increasing dietary fiber or fiber supplementation should also be considered. Only approximately 10 percent of Americans meet their daily fiber requirements, and fiber is crucial in supporting a proper microbial balance and optimizing gut health. Combining these nutrients based on individual needs can be vital for obese patients, and it appears that glutamine may be a key foundational supplement to consider for all individuals battling this condition.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Abboud KY, Reis Sk, et al. Oral Glutamine Supplementation Reduces Obesity, Pro-Inflammatory Markers, and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in DIO Wistar Rats and Reduces Waist Circumference in Overweight and Obese Humans. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 1;11(3).