RSSGlutamine improves gut bacteria in obesity

Posted on Sun, 15 Feb 15

Glutamine improves gut bacteria in obesity

The amino acid glutamine is used to improve gastrointestinal health, and a new pilot study suggests it may change your gut bacteria in a way that favors weight loss.

Although glutamine is a popular supplement for gastrointestinal health there have been no studies that have explored its effect on gut bacteria, until now.

To see what effect glutamine has, a pilot study was performed in a group of overweight and obese adults. During the 14-day study they were given 30 grams of glutamine (15 grams twice daily) or placebo and subsequently had their gut bacteria analyzed using DNA sequencing.

It was discovered that those taking glutamine had significant changes in their gut bacteria, most notably there was a decrease in the Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio after glutamine supplementation.

What is remarkable about this discovery is that a decrease in the Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio is associated with weight loss in other studies.  A higher proportion of Firmicutes and lower proportion of Bacteroidetes is found in obese people, and this ratio changes with weight loss.

And a number of studies have found that the transplantation of gut microbiota from obese to non-obese germ-free mice creates changes in energy expenditure, food intake and absorption of energy from food, which can result in weight gain regardless or energy intake and exercise. Thus the gut bacteria are an emerging target for weight loss.

Could glutamine be used to assist with weight loss? More research is needed to answer this question. But this remarkable study highlights how dietary nutrients could favorably change our gut bacteria.


de Souza A, et al. Oral Supplementation with L-Glutamine Alters Gut Microbiota of Obese and Overweight Human Adults: A Pilot Study. Nutrition. Published Online: January 29, 2015

Tags: Glutamine, Weight Loss, Obesity, Overweight, Gut Bacteria

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