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Old 09-23-2012, 12:55 PM
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Default Glutamine and cancer

This is from the August/September Townsend Letter. Notice that glutamine is also good for leaky gut syndrome, as expressed in this sentence, " The extra glutamine provides fuel for enterocytes (needed to maintain the protective intestinal mucosal barrier)"


Cancer cells, like other rapidly dividing cells, use up glutamine, an amino acid. The extra demand for glutamine means less for normal body functions. Glutamine deficiency produces insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, increased hepatic production of acute-phase proteins (a sign of inflammation), reduced gut-barrier function, adipose tissue loss, and muscle wasting. While glutamine is clearly necessary for health, concerns about its ability to fuel cancer growth � as demonstrated in in vitro experiments � have prevented oncologists from using glutamine supplementation in cancer treatment.

Recognizing that in vitro studies do not necessarily reflect real life, Katharina S. Kuhn and colleagues reviewed in vivo experimental and clinical data to see if concerns preventing glutamine's use are well founded. The researchers found 24 oral/enteral and 12 parenteral clinical studies that investigated glutamine's use in diverse patient groups in Medline's database (as of June 2008). "In the great majority of these clinical studies, glutamine supplementation in cancer patients improves host metabolism and clinical situation without increasing tumor growth," they write.

In fact, supplemental glutamine slows tumor growth by enhancing the immune system. The extra glutamine provides fuel for enterocytes (needed to maintain the protective intestinal mucosal barrier) and for lymphocytes. Glutamine supplementation also increases natural killer cell activity, helps protect against oxidative stress, and increases anti-inflammatory activity (control of NO formation and decreased free radical availability due to glutathione synthesis). Glutamine supplementation has also increased chemotherapy's effectiveness while reducing its toxic effects. Parenteral administration is more effective than oral/enteral.

Kuhn KS, Muscaritoli M, Wischmeyer P, Stehle P. Glutamine as indispensable nutrient in oncology: experimental and clinical evidence. Eur J Nutr. 2010;49:197�210. Available at CINAHL PLUS with Full Text database. Accessed May 21, 2012.
- Jim

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