Gut Health & l-Glutamine

*Recipe for these cacao mint bites below!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Pure Encapsulations

If you’ve been with me for a while, you already know my gut health history; leaky gut, SIBO, gastroparesis, IBS, food allergies, food intolerances, elimination diets and the list continues…I wrote a two-part blog post in February in great detail about what I’ve been through, how far I’ve come, food trends I’ve experimented with, foods that I focus on, exercises that work for my body, and just about everything in between. You can read about that in part I and part II.

Over the last 8 or so years, I have seen countless doctors, been to many nutritionists, and tried every medication in the book. While some medications brought me temporary relief, I really noticed a change in my overall well-being was when I changed the way I was eating, changed my mindset around food, managed my stress levels, and started to incorporate more supplements (think probiotics / digestive enzymes) into my diet, and ESPECIALLY ones like l-Glutamine powder from Pure Encapsulations. I still see a gastroenterologist and a neurologist regularly because every once in a while I experience flares. I also do think that it is important to have this type of relationship with your doctor, one you can trust where he or she can recommend different supplements or ways to help improve your health instead of going it alone! I will say that I went from having my doctors on call & taking countless medications to now seeing my doctors solely on a yearly checkup and using natural supplements and foods to help improve my overall health and well-being! 

While I was at my worst with leaky gut, 3 of my personal doctors (primary care doctor, my current gastroenterologist, as well as the nutritionist I was seeing at the time) all recommended that I incorporate l-Glutamine into my daily diet. I tried out the powder (tasteless FYI!) for just about a month. At this time, I was younger and already taking many different medications. I didn’t want to add one more thing to the list, but I was looking for more of a quick fix (overnight really). I became lazy about adding it into my routine (which I don’t know how it is even possible, when all you have to do is add one scoop into your daily smoothies, yogurt, energy bites, water or really just about anything that isn’t warm!!), so after not doing it for one day, it would turn into a week, then a month and then I just completely stopped! Looking back, I wish that I never did because of all the positive benefits l-Glutamine can have on the body, especially if you are someone that has digestive issues or even someone that is very athletic and does high intensity training. 

Fast forward to now; I am adding it back into my daily routine about 2-3x a day, which is equivalent to about 6-9 grams daily. I am using a powder from Pure Encapsulations and taking about 1 scoop in the morning, afternoon, and in the evenings by mixing it into my smoothies, yogurt bowls, water, and adding it into my homemade energy bites. It is that simple! What I love about Pure Encapsulations’ l-Glutamine powder is that their products are made with hypoallergenic ingredients and the powder is completely tasteless making it super easy to add into just about everything. There are no unnecessary fillers or sweeteners, it is gluten free, and formulated by nutritionists / medical experts! You can read a little more about it here: https://www.pureencapsulations.com/media/l_Glutamine.pdf

As a re-cap: leaky gut, what I’ve experienced over and over again, in a nutshell is when your intestinal lining separates (the tight junctions of your gut) and “holes” are created, which allows toxins, undigested food, bacteria, any kind of substances, to escape into your bloodstream! You don’t want them there because it can cause havoc on your body = hormonal imbalance, weight gain, sugar cravings, bloating, food intolerances, constipation, etc.!  Think of it this way, your gut lining is normally supposed to act as a shield, to stop unwanted substances that are harmful, from escaping and entering your bloodstream. BUT, when the shield is broken, all hell breaks loose in the body. A battle you will not win, unless you fuel your body properly and heal your gut. So, what happens? Your body goes into panic mode. Your immune system reacts, attacks, brings out an immune response on these unwanted substances that have been leaked into your bloodstream. So? Then, each response = inflammation. The more unwanted particles that are released into the bloodstream, the more attacks, and the more inflammation your body will suffer from.

Chronic inflammation equals constant feeling of BLAH and health complications. 

Leaky gut is a problem in which your gut walls are allowing anything and everything into your body!  For me, when my leaky gut was at its peak, I had many of the symptoms below:

1.             Fatigue

2.             Food intolerance

3.             Migraines

4.             Abdominal bloating (hard bloat)

5.             Cramps 

6.             Brain fog

7.             Skin problems

8.             IBS C/D

Although diet can help by eating the right foods or steering clear of ones that can trigger symptoms, it isn’t always enough. You need to support the lining of gut and that is where supplements like l-Glutamine can come into play! l-Glutamine helps maintain the gut lining so this doesn’t happen; i.e. when things leak into your bloodstream that shouldn’t!

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How?

l-Glutamine is an amino acid produced in our bodies and then distributed to organs that need it, including the digestive system and the immune system.

For starters; l-Glutamine is 1 of 20 amino acids but it is the primary fuel used by cells in your gut lining. It is an essential amino acid that can have powerful effects on the process of healing the gut, maintaining a good level of intestinal health, and help in other areas of personal health as well, such as muscle recovery, energy, and digestion. The protective lining of the small intestines “eats it up” allowing the proper nutrients to pass through the lining and limiting the amount of toxins that pass through into your body over time. It is important for your body to maintain this protective mucosal layer and tighten up the openings in your gut lining to stop any undigested particles such as food to leak out!

Although the body is capable of producing this naturally, at times, our bodies need this, but we are unable to adequately provide enough of it! It can be found naturally in our bloodstream, produced in our muscles, and then distributed to the organs that need it! However, during times of stress, trauma, serious digestive issues,  exposure to chemicals over time, or even high endurance exercise training, our bodies are in need of more of l-Glutamine! During these situations, our bodies tend to be weaker and need to get this amino acid from supplements or other sources such as food. This is why it is beneficial to add in extra through a powder form in case you are not receiving enough from the foods that you are eating.

Side note: Some foods that you can eat to receive more benefits of l-Glutamine are:

1.             seafood

2.             bone broth

3.             grass-fed beef

4.             eggs

5.             spirulina

6.             broccoli, kale, spinach

7.             nuts

8.             fermented foods

All in all, it helps to protect the lining of the intestines and the stomach called the mucosa and low levels of glutamine may affect your digestion and lead to gastrointestinal problems. Here are some benefits:

1.             Promotes muscle health and function

2.             Supports post exercise recovery

3.             Helps to enhance the protective barrier of the digestive tract

4.             Supports GI Health

5.             Supports immune system function

Which is pretty powerful, considering all you need to do is add a few scoops of the powder form into your daily routine each day and enjoy the benefits listed above. My doctors explained that you will start to see noticeable benefits within a month. L-Glutamine is definitely something that you need to stick with and not become discouraged after a few days. It isn’t a quick fix, but something that will be extremely beneficial to your overall well-being in the long run. Nothing is a quick fix, but a health journey!

If you are looking to try the powder, I suggest start off with small amounts and see how your body handles it! I first had conversations with my own doctors as well as a nutritional pharmacologist from Pure Encapsulations. During the last month, I have started off with 1 heaping scoop about 2-3x a day and then will work my way up to more and adjust accordingly to see how my body handles it and reacts. I do notice that I can digest food easier, and that I am less bloated after high intensity types of workouts and that my body can recover faster from them. And, lastly, I am more confident to expand my food choices because I feel that my gut lining is building its strength back which will allow me to feel better overall.

If you’re interested in trying l-Glutamine powder from Pure Encapsulations, you can purchase it here: https://www.pureformulas.com/lglutamine-powder-227-grams-by-pure-encapsulations.html

I will continue to keep you all posted and provide updates as to how I feel by reporting back here and through IG!

 

CACAO MINT BITES!!

CACAO MINT BITES
1 cup oats
1 cup mixed nuts (I did almonds/walnuts) 
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 cup cashew butter
3 heaping scoops of l-Glutamine powder
1 tbsp. peppermint extract
dash of maca powder
few dashes of cinnamon
3 tbsp. cacao nibs

Directions
1. First blend together the oats and the nuts together in your food processor until almost flour like consistency
2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend together until dough forms
*If not completely coming together add more cashew butter, 1 tbsp at a time of nut-milk or water. 
3. Roll into balls! 
Keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks or freezer for longer!