Is glutamine safe if I have Celiac disease and am sensitive to gluten? I was recently asked this question and thought others might be wondering the same thing so let’s talk about it.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac (or Celiac disease) is a disorder where people have trouble digesting a protein called gluten which is often found in foods made from wheat, grain, rye and barley. People who have Celiac are often said to be gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant. When people eat foods that contain gluten, the protein triggers a response by the immune system which damages the small intestine. This in turn reduces the absorption of food. As you can guess, Celiac can be devastating.
Just a few of Celiac disorder symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain / abdominal bloating
- Weight loss
- Joint or bone pain
- Fatigue and anemia
Because of these and other symptoms, many people opt to eat a gluten-free diet.
What about Glutamine ?
Glutamine is a popular amino acid and because glutamine sounds like gluten, some athletes and health conscious individuals who are gluten-sensitive wonder if they can use glutamine supplements.
Glutamine is one of the amino acids that make up the gluten protein but glutamine is not the same thing as gluten. One big difference is that we make glutamine. The human body does not make gluten. As such glutamine supplements are unlikely to produce the same symptoms as eating foods that contain gluten.
I want to make the distinction between the amino acid L glutamine and glutamine peptides. In theory glutamine peptides (small glutamine proteins) may elicit celiac symptoms if you are gluten sensitive, if the peptides are derived from wheat or other gluten containing foods. The amino acid, L glutamine, however, should not have the same effect. This is good to remember if you use a protein supplement that contains glutamine.
To be safe always make sure the protein supplement says “gluten free” if you have a gluten intolerance.
If you are considering L glutamine supplements and have celiac disorder, start with less than the recommended amount to see how you react several hours later. This is wise for everybody – not just those who are gluten sensitive.
Can Glutamine Help Celiac?
Some people with Celiac disease have said that glutamine helps reduce some of the symptoms while others say that they are sensitive to glutamine. According to Marjorie Geisner, RD, while in theory, glutamine may help some people, “when in doubt, leave it out”.
Remember that glutamine is a non-essential amino acid. You and I make this stuff! Yes, under some circumstances, glutamine may help bolster the immune systems of those engaged in hard-core exercise, most people do not workout enough to benefit from glutamine supplements.
If you are thinking about whether glutamine is right for you, read my review of glutamine supplement.
Have you tried glutamine for Celiac? Did it help?