Glutamine for the Gut

We’re reprinting information on the use of Glutamine for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) and for HIV/AIDS. These excerpts are from the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Complementary Medicine web resource, which provides an extensive and generally up-to-date database on nutritional supplements and their applications.

NYBC stocks two forms of Glutamine. And, by the way, we’ve just noticed that our bulk Glutamine powder (1 kilogram) is about HALF THE PRICE of a “discounted” Glutamine powder offered by a chain of vitamin/supplement stores! (GNC…sssshhh)

Read these entries for dosage recommendations:

Glutamine as a bulk powder (1 kilogram)

and

Glutamine capsules 500mg/100.

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (building block of protein) in the bloodstream. It is considered a “conditionally essential amino acid” because it can be manufactured in the body, but under extreme physical stress the demand for glutamine exceeds the body’s ability to synthesize it.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Glutamine helps to protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract known as the mucosa. Because of this, some experts speculate that glutamine deficiency may play a role in the development of IBD, namely ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These conditions are characterized by damage to the mucosal lining of the small and/or large intestines, which leads to inflammation, infection, and ulcerations (holes). In fact, some preliminary research suggests that glutamine may be a valuable supplement during treatment of IBD because it promotes healing of the cells in the intestines and improves diarrhea associated with IBD.

HIV/AIDS
Individuals with advanced stages of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) often experience severe weight loss (particularly loss of muscle mass). Some studies of individuals with HIV have demonstrated that glutamine supplementation, along with other important nutrients including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, and N-acetylcysteine, may reduce the severe weight loss associated with this condition.

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Saccharomyces boulardii: new research confirms effectiveness

Saccharomyces boulardii is a very well-researched probiotic, with several hundred peer-reviewed studies to its credit, many from the past two decades. It’s now the first choice for antibiotic-associated diarrhea, C. difficile colitis, and “traveler’s diarrhea.” It can also help in addressing irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Here are some recent research highlights:

–Harvard Medical School researchers located specific pathways by which Saccharomyces boulardii decreases intestinal inflammatory responses; their 2006 report helps explain the broad range of protective effects that the probiotic exerts in a variety of gastrointestinal disorders.

–A 2006 meta-analysis (combined study of multiple individual studies) found that Saccharomyces boulardii was the only probiotic effective against Clostridium difficile disease, a common form of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

–A 2008 study, meanwhile, found that Crohn’s patients receiving Saccharomyces boulardii treatment showed significant improvements in intestinal function compared with those given a placebo (dummy pill).

–Most recently, an investigation published in 2009 found that, of a variety of probiotics, Saccharomyces boulardii was uniquely able to stimulate production of secretory IgA, the main immunoglobin found in mucus, saliva, and secretions from the intestine and lining of the lungs, and a main component of the body’s protective mechanism against pathogens. (Thus Saccharomyces boulardii may now be credited with a general immune-modulating/strengthening ability.)

References:

Sougioultzis S, Simeonidis S, Bhaskar KR, Chen X, Anton PM, Keates S, Pothoulakis C, Kelly CP. Saccharomyces boulardii produces a soluble anti-inflammatory factor that inhibits NF-kappaB-mediated IL-8 gene expression. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Apr 28;343(1):69-76.

McFarland LV. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea and the treatment of Clostridium difficile disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;101(4):812-22.

Garcia Vilela E, De Lourdes De Abreu Ferrari M, Oswaldo Da Gama Torres H, Guerra Pinto A, Carolina Carneiro Aguirre A, Paiva Martins F, Marcos Andrade Goulart E, Sales Da Cunha A. Influence of Saccharomyces boulardii on the intestinal permeability of patients with Crohn’s disease in remission. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2008;43(7):842-8.

Flaviano S. Martins, Aparecida A. Silva, Angélica T. Vieira, Flávio H. F. Barbosa, Rosa M. E. Arantes, Mauro M. Teixeira and Jacques Robert Nicoli. Comparative study of Bifidobacterium animalis, Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus casei and Saccharomyces boulardii probiotic properties.
Archives of Microbiology, Volume 191, Number 8 / August, 2009.

Saccharomyces boulardii is available from NYBC as Florastor, recognized as the most reliable commercially available form of the probiotic.

Mastic Gum: a traditional remedy for gastric reflux disease becomes the subject of new lines of research suggesting its potential application to prostate cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and cardio- and hepato-protection

Mastic Gum is a resin that has been traditionally used (especially in the Eastern Mediterranean) as a remedy for gastric reflux disease and to protect the stomach and duodenum.

These traditional uses are now supported and enlarged by some clinical and other research data. Here are some of the most intriguing new findings concerning Mastic Gum:

1. A study published in 2007 underscored the potential of mastic gum to prevent or manage prostate cancer. According to this line of research, this protective effect may be achieved via an inhibition of nF-KB–interestingly, that’s a cellular protein that HIV also hijacks to help produce more of itself.

2. Another recent investigation looked at the use of 2.22 grams of mastic per day among patients with Crohn’s disease. Not only did this dosage help in this small pilot study, but two markers of inflammation were significantly reduced, including interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP). Again, it’s interesting to note that both of these markers are also often elevated in HIV disease.

3. Last, a 2007 Greek study showed some benefits for mastic gum in managing the lipid profile and being liver and heart protective. These findings tend to support the long-held traditional reputation of mastic.

References:

He, et al. Mechanisms of antiprostate cancer by gum mastic: NF-κB signal as target. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2007 Mar;28(3):446-452.

Kaliora AC, Stathopoulou MG, Triantafillidis JK, Dedoussis GV, Andrikopoulos NK. Chios mastic treatment of patients with active Crohn’s disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb 7;13(5):748-53.

Triantafyllou A, Chaviaras N, Sergentanis TN, Protopapa E, Tsaknis J. Chios mastic gum modulates serum biochemical parameters in a human population. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Apr 20;111(1):43-49.

For more commentary, see the NYBC entry:

Mastic Gum

Acidophilus: therapeutic uses

Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. acidophilus–acidophilus for short–is the most widely used probiotic, a beneficial microorganism that helps support gastrointestinal health in a variety of ways. For example, the byproducts of acidophilus (lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide) make for an environment that is hostile to undesirable organisms in the gut. And acidophilus also produces lactase, the enzyme that breaks down and allows digestion of milk sugar (lactose).

The University of Maryland Medical Center’s Complementary Medicine website provides a review of therapeutic uses of acidophilus and other probiotics. Here are some highlights:

–Treating overgrowth of “bad” organisms in the gastrointestinal tract (a condition that tends to cause diarrhea and may occur from use of antibiotics).
–Alleviating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and, possibly, inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).
–Preventing and/or reducing the recurrence of vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and cystitis (bladder inflammation). The best scientific evidence exists for vaginal infections.
–Improving lactose absorption digestion in people who are lactose intolerant
–Enhancing the immune response. Studies have suggested that consumption of yogurt or milk that contains specific strains of Lactobacillus or supplements with Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium may improve the natural immune response. Further research is needed to confirm these early findings and to best understand how the improved immune function may or may not help in warding off infections.

NYBC carries Jarro-Dophilus, a combination of acidophilus and other probiotic species together with a prebiotic (basically, the foodstuff that probiotic species thrive on). Note that this item needs to be refrigerated to maintain its effectiveness.

NYBC also carries Jarro-Dophilus EPS. This is a probiotic that does not require refrigeration. As reported on the NYBC website, a recent consumerlabs.com test of this product gave it very good marks!

Saccharomyces boulardii lyo: indications and dosage suggestions

NYBC stocks the probiotic Florastor, which is Saccharomyces boulardi lyo (lyo = freeze dried, the best means discovered for preserving the effectiveness of this agent). Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast first investigated by French microbiologist Henri Boulard in Indochina in the 1920s, has been widely researched and distributed over the last fifty years, though it has a longer history of use in Europe than in the US.

We’re glad that Florastor has become available in the United States in the last five years, since before that we were obliged to import this pharmaceutical grade probiotic from Europe; the US versions of Saccharomyces boulardii often seemed quite a bit less effective, perhaps because the European production techniques were more advanced.

Here are the main indications/conditions for which Saccharomyces boulardii has been investigated:

Acute Diarrhea
A controlled study found a significant reduction in symptoms of diarrhea in adults taking 250mg of S. boulardii twice a day for five days or until symptoms were relieved.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A placebo-controlled study found that patients with diarrhea due mainly to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had a significant reduction in number and consistency of bowel movements.
Suggested dosage is 250mg twice daily.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Additional benefits to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients may be found in 1) prevention of relapse in Crohn’s disease patients currently in remission and 2) benefits to ulcerative colitis patients with moderate symptoms. Suggested dosage is three 250mg capsules a day.

Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea
Some evidence for its use in the prophylaxis (prevention) of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) in adults. Suggested dosage: 250mg twice a day with the standard antibiotic course.

HIV/AIDS-Associated Diarrhea
Saccharomyces boulardii was shown to significantly increase the recovery rate of stage IV AIDS patients suffering from diarrhea versus placebo. On average, patients receiving S. boulardii gained weight while the placebo group lost weight over the 18 month study. There were no reported adverse reaction observed in these immunocompromised patients.

Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection
Two 500mg doses per day of Saccharomyces boulardii when taken with one of two antibiotics (vancomycin or metronidazole) were found to significantly reduce the rate of recurrent Clostridium difficile (pseudomembranous colitis) infection. However, note that significant benefit was not found for prevention of an initial episode of Clostridium difficile-associated disease.

For more on Saccharomyces boulardii, see the NYBC entry:

Florastor
Note that non-member price is $30, but member price is ONLY $29. (NYBC Membership costs $5, $10, or $25 per year, depending on income.)
Some citations (there are many more, since Saccharomyces boulardii is among the most-studied probiotics):

–Höcher W, Chase D, Hagenhoff G (1990). “Saccharomyces boulardii in acute adult diarrhoea. Efficacy and tolerance of treatment”. Münch Med Wochenschr 132: 188–92. 
–McFarland L, Surawicz C, Greenberg R (1994). “A randomised placebo-controlled trial of Saccharomyces boulardii in combination with standard antibiotics for Clostridium difficile disease”. J Am Med Assoc 271: 1913–8. 
–Maupas J, Champemont P, Delforge M (1983). “Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with Saccharomyces boulardii: a double blind, placebo controlled study”. Medicine Chirurgie Digestives 12(1): 77–9. 
–Guslandi M, Mezzi G, Sorghi M, Testoni PA (2000). “Saccharomyces boulardii in maintenance treatment of Crohn’s disease”. Dig. Dis. Sci. 45 (7): 1462–4. PMID 10961730. 
–Guslandi M, Giollo P, Testoni PA (2003). “A pilot trial of Saccharomyces boulardii in ulcerative colitis”. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 15 (6): 697–8. doi:10.1097/01.meg.0000059138.68845.06. PMID 12840682. 
–Saint-Marc T, Blehaut H, Musial C, Touraine J (1995). “AIDS related diarrhea: a double-blind trial of Saccharomyces boulardii”. Sem Hôsp Paris 71: 735–41. 

Glutamine for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) and HIV/AIDS

Here is information on the use of Glutamine for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) and for HIV/AIDS. These excerpts are from the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Complementary Medicine web resource, which provides an extensive and generally up-to-date database on nutritional supplements and their applications.

NYBC stocks:

 Glutamine as a bulk powder (1 kilogram)

and

Glutamine capsules 500mg/100.

Note: Glutamine is one of the main components of Juven, a patented blend that also includes L-arginine and HMB. Unfortunately “patented” = much more expensive. It’s a lot cheaper to purchase Glutamine in bulk than to buy it in the form of Juven!


Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (building block of protein) in the bloodstream. It is considered a “conditionally essential amino acid” because it can be manufactured in the body, but under extreme physical stress the demand for glutamine exceeds the body’s ability to synthesize it.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Glutamine helps to protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract known as the mucosa. Because of this, some experts speculate that glutamine deficiency may play a role in the development of IBD, namely ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These conditions are characterized by damage to the mucosal lining of the small and/or large intestines, which leads to inflammation, infection, and ulcerations (holes). In fact, some preliminary research suggests that glutamine may be a valuable supplement during treatment of IBD because it promotes healing of the cells in the intestines and improves diarrhea associated with IBD. Not all studies have found this positive benefit, however. For this reason, more research is needed before conclusions can be drawn. In the meantime, follow the advice of your healthcare provider when deciding whether to use glutamine for IBD.

HIV/AIDS
Individuals with advanced stages of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) often experience severe weight loss (particularly loss of muscle mass). A few studies of individuals with HIV have demonstrated that glutamine supplementation, along with other important nutrients including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, and N-acetylcysteine, may reduce the severe weight loss associated with this condition.

Saccharomyces boulardii info sheet on www.thebody.com

We noticed that our friends at www.thebody.com are still posting an old info sheet on Saccharomyces boulardii produced by one of the New York Buyers’ Club’s predecessor organizations, the PWA Health Group. Much of the scientific information displayed is still valid, though the Biocodex product, once available in the US only through convoluted importation processes (pioneered by PWAHG and others), is now readily available here under the tradename Florastor.

See also NYBC’s  Florastor description in our online purchasing co-op.

Here’s the introduction of the info sheet on www.thebody.com:  

Saccharomyces boulardii (SB) is a live yeast packaged in capsules and sold over the counter in Europe to treat diarrhea. Studies suggest that SB protects the gut from amebas and cholera, may keep candida from spreading, alleviates diarrhea caused by c. difficile, Crohn’s disease and diarrhea of unknown cause in PWAs, and traveller’s diarrhea.

We’ll add the capsule summary of Florastor’s utility from the NYBC website:

This “friendly” yeast has a proven ability to increase the immune response in the GI tract and has helped to control chronic diarrhea in some PWAs. Part of the way this works is to replenish vital intestinal flora that have the added benefit of competing for the site of other infections. It may be a good idea to use this product if you are taking antibiotics. One problem with chronic, long-term antibiotic use is that it can cause the eruption of a bacterial infection known as clostridium (C. difficile) which can cause serious diarrhea.