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Heartburn – Is Glutamine a Cure?
The relief and treatment of heartburn, acid reflux and GERD is a large, billion-dollar-a-year market, according to Tamas Bartfai, director of the Harold L. Dorris Neurological Research Center. Bartfai has decades of experience as a consultant and executive in the pharmaceutical industry, and has consulted with companies developing expensive treatments for this common disease.
With so much money being spent on heartburn relievers and their companions, you’d think at least one drug might be the cure. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Heartburn medications don’t seem to do much more than relieve the symptoms. Some try to neutralize stomach acids. Others “turn off the pumps” that produce stomach acids.
The pharmaceutical community doesn’t seem to offer anything to cure heartburn.
Glutamine for heartburn
Glutamine for heartburn may be the answer. Specifically, L-glutamine for heartburn. L-glutamine for heartburn can not only be a cure, but it is also far cheaper than other drugs.
For example, in the US, L-glutamine can be purchased for about 5 cents per capsule. The prescription drug that “turns off the pumps” costs about $5.44 per capsule – discounted prices.
Why might glutamine be good for heartburn?
Cause of heartburn
Heartburn seems to be a muscle problem.
Despite the pharmaceutical community’s emphasis on acids, the real cause of heartburn is lower esophageal sphincter (LES) weakness.
A sphincter is a circular band of muscle like a ring around a body passage or opening. To teach children about the sphincter, you could put a ring around one finger for illustration.
The task of each sphincter is to relax or tighten as needed to open or close a natural opening or passage of the body. If you were to make your illustrative ring out of elastic, you would tighten and relax the elastic to demonstrate the action of the sphincter.
1. A cow’s teat has a sphincter at the lower end. It relaxes to allow the milk to flow and tightens to stop the flow.
2. The human bladder has an involuntary sphincter at the neck. It relaxes to allow the flow of urine and tightens to stop the flow. The voluntary sphincter at the end of the urethra does the same.
3. The anal sphincter tightens to hold secretions and relaxes to expel secretions.
4. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes to allow food to enter the stomach and tightens to prevent food and acid from backing up into the esophagus. It should prevent heartburn.
Problems with a weak sphincter
If the sphincter in any of the above becomes weak, problems can arise.
1. A milking machine can make a cow’s sphincter remain relaxed for two hours. This allows bacteria to enter the teat and can lead to mastitis.
2. Bladder sphincter weakness can cause urine to leak against your will.
3. When the anal sphincter weakens, fecal incontinence can occur.
4. Weakness in the LES allows stomach acid to reflux, flowing back into the esophagus. This causes heartburn.
When sphincters other than the LES weaken and cause problems, attention turns to strengthening the weak sphincter. The cow’s sphincter is often exposed to cold after milking to tighten the muscle band. Exercise can tighten both weak bladder sphincters and weak anal sphincters. Biofeedback, electrical stimulation, and certain medications can also be used to tighten these two sphincters.
Interestingly, none of these approaches seem to be used for LES. Treating heartburn addresses the symptoms but ignores the weakened sphincter, which is the real problem.
Can glutamine help with heartburn?
Glutamine for heartburn may be the solution.
Glutamine is an amino acid. Just as other amino acids are important components of protein, so is glutamine. Glutamine is naturally found in protein-rich foods: beans, dairy products, fish and red meat.
Glutamine is used as a supplement by weightlifters, body builders and other athletes who want strong muscles. Glutamine is also used as a supplement to relieve muscle spasms and pain, especially in the elderly. By replenishing amino acids in the body, muscles are strengthened and pain is alleviated.
Glutamine has been shown to increase the body’s ability to get rid of damaged cells and produce new cells. Glutamine is also a powerful antioxidant. As such, it helps protect the body’s cells from free radicals. Glutamine heals mucous membranes, including the lining of the esophagus damaged by heartburn.
Some believe that heartburn glutamine may strengthen the LES, improving its ability to tighten properly. This could completely prevent heartburn, acid reflux and even GERD.
Glutamine for heartburn could be a partial, if not complete, cure.
Until heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are understood and treated as the muscle problems they appear to be, doctors will continue to prescribe relief and treatments that address only the symptoms.
Waiver: The author does not sell glutamine in any form, nor will she profit from selling glutamine for heartburn. The author is not a medical professional and offers this information for educational purposes only.
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