Proven Herbal Treatments for Crohn’s Disease

These evidence-based botanical medicines proven to induce or maintain remission in the debilitating inflammatory bowel disease known as Crohn’s offer hope to those resigned to a fate of life-altering immunosuppressive drugs or surgery.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is subdivided into ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, afflicts 1.4 million Americans and typically first appears between the ages of 15 and 30 (1). Whereas ulcerative colitis is more distal, affecting the rectum and spreading upwards toward the descending and transverse colon in an uninterrupted fashion, Crohn’s disease typically involves the ileum and colon and can affect any part of the digestive tract, often in a discontinuous pattern characterized by skip lesions (2).

In ulcerative colitis, inflammation is generally circumscribed to the mucosa, whereas inflammation can navigate down intestinal crypts, becoming transmural or penetrating the entire depth of the intestinal wall in Crohn’s disease (2). Due to this disparity, Crohn’s disease can ulcerate through the layers of the bowel into the mesentery, leading to complications such fibrosis or scarring of tissue that leads to strictures or perforations, as well as intestinal granulomas and fistulas (2). Fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss are hallmark symptoms.


L-Glutamine Changes Gut Bacteria Leading To Weight Loss

L-Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in your muscles and it plays a key role in protein metabolism, and the ability to secrete human growth hormone, which helps metabolize body fat and support new muscle growth. Researchers have now found that a daily L-glutamine dose of 30 grams per day was associated with a significant reduction in the ratio of specific biomarkers for obesity.

L-Glutamine supplementation promotes a positive nitrogen balance and prevents the loss of muscle. Recent studies have shown that taking just 2 grams of L-Glutamine can increase growth hormone levels by 400%. v

The 30g dose studied was associated with a significant reduction in the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes in obese and overweight people.

“The finding that L-glutamine promotes changes in the gut microbiota composition provides support for the importance of some nutrients in modulating the intestinal bacterial profile,” wrote the researchers in Nutrition . “These changes resembled the weight loss programs established in the literature.”

Gut health and obesity

The study adds to emerging body of science supporting the effects of gut microflora on metabolic factors and obesity. The connection between gut microbiota and energy homeostasis and inflammation and its role in the pathogenesis of obesity-related disorders are increasingly recognized.

Animals models of obesity connect an altered microbiota composition to the development of obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes in the host through several mechanisms: increased energy harvest from the diet, altered fatty acid metabolism and composition in adipose tissue and liver.

Along with the increasing worldwide incidence of obesity-associated disorders, research has recently unraveled important pathways reciprocally connecting metabolism with the immune system of which L-glutamine plays a role. Although not a substitute for diet and exercise, manipulation of the gut microbiome through supplementation represents a novel approach to treating obesity.

A 2005 study by Jeffrey Gordon and his group at Washington University in St. Louis indicated that obese mice had lower levels of Bacteroidetes and higher levels of Firmicutes, compared with lean mice.

One year later and Dr Gordon’s reported similar findings in humans: The microbial populations in the gut are different between obese and lean people, and that when the obese people lost weight their microflora reverted back to that observed in a lean person, suggesting that obesity may have a microbial component (Nature, Vol. 444, pp. 1022-1023, 1027-1031).

Diet has recently been shown to strongly and rapidly influence the composition of the gut microbiota, raising the question of whether the diet independent of the obese phenotype is responsible for the changes in gut microbe composition.

A more recent paper from the same group in Science Translational Medicine (Vol. 3, 106ra106) reported that ingestion of probiotic bacteria produced a change in many metabolic pathways, particularly those related to carbohydrate metabolism.

The new study, albeit small scale and of limited duration, suggested that the amino acid L-glutamine may also have weight management potential by changing the bacterial composition in the gut.

The Brazilian researchers did not observe any changes in body weight during their 14 day study, but noted that a longer intervention period “may result in metabolic changes”.

Study details

The researchers recruited 33 overweight and obese adults, aged between 23 and 59 and randomly assigned them receive supplements of L-glutamine or L-alanine for two weeks.

Results showed that the L-glutamine group exhibited statistically significant differences in the Firmicutes and Actinobacteria phyla compared with the ALA group.

A reduction of 0.3 was observed in the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio in the L-glutamine group, they added (from 0.85 to 0.57), while L-alanince was associated with an increased from 0.91 to 1.12.

“Thus, these findings suggest that oral supplementation of L-glutamine have similar effects on gut microbiota as weight loss,” said the researchers. “We would like to highlight that although the age range of the volunteers was large (23-59 y) and aging may have an effect on intestinal microbiota, the results obtained in this study were statistically significant.”

Commenting on a potential mechanism, they noted that L-Glutamine supplementation may reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines. “Some bacteria genera are associated with gut inflammation,” they wrote. “For example, increased levels of Veillonella are associated with higher levels of gut inflammation and the development of colitis and Crohn’s disease. In our study, the number of bacteria from the Veillonella genus reduced after L-glutamine supplementation, suggesting that L-glutamine may have an anti-inflammatory effect, at least in part, due to the decrease of this genus.

“In addition, increased abundance of the Prevotella genus has been described as a shield against inflammation and non-infectious diseases of the colon. After L-glutamine supplementation, but not after alanine, we observed an increase in Prevotella, suggesting that L-glutamine may have a protective effect on the gut via modulation of bacteria.”


Mae Chan holds degrees in both physiology and nutritional sciences. She is also blogger and and technology enthusiast with a passion for disseminating information about health.


How to Beat Sugar Cravings with Glutamine

how to beat your sugar cravings with glutamine

If you’ve been wondering how to beat sugar cravings without relying on will power alone, I am about to make your day. Maybe your week! Or your month! Heck, why not call a spade a spade and say I’ll make your whole year?

At this year’s Wise Traditions conference, I was privileged to sit in on a series of mind-blowing lectures by Dr. Julia Ross. In the course of those lectures, she casually let slip the most stunningly useful bit of information I’d ever heard — how to conquer sugar cravings with a simple, affordable amino acid supplement.

First, I have to say this. In real life, Dr. Julia Ross is one of the most stunning, radiant people I have ever met! I’ve seen dozens of pictures of her, and every single one fails to capture just how vibrant and glowing she is. When I saw her, my first thought was, “WOW. Just WOW. I want what she’s having!” I was sitting many rows back in rather large audience hall, and even from that far away her smile was completely breathtaking.

You guys, whatever she does, it works! (more…)

7 Tips to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

How To Get A Good Night's Sleep

I remember stumbling into my godmother’s home one day with puffy eyes and a sigh on my lips. My newly born first child was asleep in my arms. “Does it ever change?,” I moaned. “Will I ever get a solid night’s sleep again?”

She gave me a sympathetic look and shook her head. “No. Your babies will grow up and sleep through the night, but by then you’ll be used to waking up. You’ll wake up because they made a noise in their dreams, because you have to pee, because the cat meows. It’ll never go back to what it was.”

My inner voice completely rejected her answer. I WOULD SLEEP AGAIN! I knew I would. Good thing I listened to that inner voice. (more…)

Best foods for calming your nervous system

Modern-day living and all the busyness and stress that comes along with it can do a real number on your central nervous system, especially if you are not taking proactive steps to counteract this perpetual negative effect on your body. Rather than feed energy and nutrients into your body’s productive systems, an overtaxed nervous system typically expends most of its resources just trying to defend the body against attack, whether it be in the form of anxiety, panic, or stress, which depletes your energy reserves and potentially even harms your endocrine system. (more…)

How to calm IBS without prescription drugs

More than 50 million Americans suffer from some form of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a mysterious health condition that can manifest itself in many forms including upset stomach, constipation, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, flatulence, and heartburn. Though distinctly less severe than inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease, which can cause damaging ulcers in the bowel, IBS is still a greatly discomforting condition that deprives its victims of vitality and well-being. (more…)

Glutamine and Cancer

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. (more…)

Glutamine Supports Kidney Health

Weak kidneys lead to elevated blood pressure, increased levels of circulatory toxins due to impaired filtration, and a worsened ability to handle stress (kidney-adrenal relationship).  Kidney problems are invariably made worse when a person is overweight and especially when they blood sugar levels begin to rise, as excess blood sugar caramelizes kidney structure (advanced glycation end products – AGEs), leading to even worse kidney health.  A new study shows that glutamine can improve multiple gene signals that impact kidney health, helping to improve many of the kidney problems people experience when they are in weakening health. (more…)

Heal your gut with the amino acid l-glutamine

With chemical additives, excessive gluten consumption, over prescription of antibiotics and more, the integrity of our gut lining is weakened further with each passing year. It’s no wonder that digestive disorders and their accompanying deficiencies are more common than ever before. Healing the gut lining restores your body’s ability to build a strong immune system and to produce those feel-good neurotransmitters in the right amounts. Evidence points to the amino acid l-glutamine as a natural means for restoring the integrity of the gut lining and for once again putting digestive wellness within your grasp. (more…)

Glutamine Maintains Gut Barrier Integrity Following E. Coli Exposure

Glutamine continues to shine as a stellar nutrient for GI tract health, both in terms of assisting GI tract immunity and helping the health of the GI tract lining.  The latest animal study shows that when pigs are supplemented with glutamine1 and exposed to several different strains of infectious E.coli the GI tract is highly protected against the infectious attack.  Americans should be aware of this fact, and Germans should be acting on it in the face of their nasty outbreak.

Of particular interest is that glutamine significantly reduced the inflammatory signals that E. coli generates so as to induce tissue damage. Furthermore, the tight junction proteins that are the foundation for a healthy gut barrier maintained full functionality with glutamine supplementation. If these tight junction proteins become inflamed and lose their “tightness” then the gut becomes leaky and toxins and even germs can enter the general circulation.

This study clearly shows the value of glutamine to help deal with infectious E. coli exposure. The mechanisms of help are likely to apply to many “germ gangs” that would otherwise have an easier time of wreaking havoc with digestive, immune, and metabolic health.

Friday, June 03, 2011 –  Byron Richards, CCN

Referenced Studies:

  1. ^Glutamine Helps Protect GI Tract from E. Coli Exposure Nutritional Immunology  Julia B. Ewaschuka, Gordon K. Murdocha, Ian R. Johnsona, Karen L. Madsena and Catherine J. Fielda.