The amino acid glutamine plays a key role in the metabolism, structure, and function of the entire gastro-intestinal (GI) tract, and its extensive immune system. Glutamine is perhaps the major energy source for intestinal cells, and under conditions of physiological stress the GI tract benefits greatly from extra dietary glutamine. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in blood, and is a vehicle for nitrogen transport. Glutamine-consuming tissues, such as the GI tract, the liver and the immune system, use glutamine for the synthesis of nucleotides, proteins and amino sugars. Glutamine carries potentially toxic ammonia to the kidneys for excretion, and participates in maintaining normal acid-base balance. The human intestinal tract removes as much as 12-13% of the circulating blood glutamine in addition to the glutamine absorbed from dietary origin. Intestinal mucosal cells need glutamine as a nitrogen donor for the biosynthesis of a number of important compounds, including nucleotides needed for cell division, amino sugars for building the glycosaminoglycans of intestinal mucous, amino acids that are crucial for protein synthesis as well as for an energy source.
During physiological stress, the intestinal tract uses very large amounts of glutamine and very little glucose for energy. This often results in a fall of blood glutamine, and skeletal muscle is broken down to supply more glutamine. The immune cells of mucosa, mesentery and liver depend on glutamine as a key nitrogen donor and energy source. When the intestinal tract is under stress, immune cells require more glutamine, and the liver’s glutamine consumption can rise about ten-fold. Intestinal changes can result in lower blood glutamine levels and changes in muscle metabolism. In summary, clinical studies support dietary glutamine in maintaining normal function of the entire gastrointestinal tract, including the liver and pancreas. Glutamine helps maintain normal intestinal permeability, mucosal cell regeneration, and structure. At the same time, glutamine supports normal immune function of the gastrointestinal tract and the liver. Six Intestamine® capsules provide 3.75 grams of pure L-glutamine.
NutraFlora® FOS. Six Intestamine® capsules also provide 187 mg of NutraFlora® brand of fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a class of natural carbohydrates. FOS are non-digestible, short-chain fructose oligomers that are utilized almost exclusively by the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. NutraFlora®FOS is a carbohydrate that passes through the small intestine into the colon without being digested or absorbed. Once in the colon, FOS selectively feeds the beneficial symbiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacteria, and other acid-producing bacteria. Regular consumption of FOS has been shown to support healthy levels of these beneficial bacteria in the colon. This in turn creates a slightly acidic environment in the colon that is unreceptive to potentially harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. Acacia Fiber. Intestamine® supplies 375 mg of soluble, fermentable dietary fiber from acacia fiber per six capsules. Like FOS, acacia fiber is not digested in the upper intestine, but extensively fermented by the beneficial colonic microflora. The fermentation products are short chain fatty acids, such as acetic, propionic and butyric acid. These short chain fatty acids have several functions in the healthy colon. They provide an acid environment that favors the growth of the acid-loving beneficial Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Also, short chain fatty acids are important for colonic water absorption and a normal stool consistency. Lastly, they are utilized as an energy source by the cells of the colonic mucosa. Adequate amounts of fermentable dietary fiber appear to be necessary to maintain normal structure and function of the colonic mucosa.