L-Glutamine may protect the stomach from the ulcer causing bacterium H. Pylori according to this animal study

May 22, 2009

Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that the amino acid glutamine could help heal the damage caused by H. Pylori, the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and many cases of stomach cancer.

In previous research, Susan Hagen, PhD discovered that glutamine prevented the death of cultured stomach cells caused by ammonia generated by the bacterium H. Pylori. For the current experiment, they divided 105 mice to receive standard diets or diets in which L-Glutamine replaced 5 percent of total calories. After two weeks, some of the mice in each group were infected with H. Pylori. The animals were followed for 20 weeks (a very long time in the life of these rodents), during which blood samples were analyzed for the body’s response to H. Pylori. Additionally, tissue samples were obtained from the stomach and examined for damage, cancer and cancer progression and inflammation.

At the end of the 20 week period, infected animals that received L-glutamine had less inflammation than those that received the control diet. “Because many of the stomach pathologies during H. Pylori infection are linked to high levels of inflammation, this result provides us with preliminary evidence that glutamine supplementation may be an alternative therapy for reducing the severity of infection,” Dr Hagen explained. “H. Pylori bacteria infect more than half of the world's population and were recently identified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization,” Dr Hagen added. “Approximately 5.5 percent of the entire global cancer burden is attributed to H. Pylori infection and, worldwide, over 900,000 new cases of gastric cancer develop each year. The possibility that an inexpensive, easy-to-use treatment could be used to modify the damaging effects of H. Pylori infection warrants further study in clinical trials.” She states. The study is published in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.