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Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2000 Sep;3(5):355-62.

Glutamine and the gastrointestinal tract.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


The amino acid glutamine has become one of the most intensively studied nutrients in the field of nutrition and metabolic support. A variety of studies in cell culture systems, animal models of gut mucosal atrophy, injury/repair and adaptation and a limited number of clinical trials demonstrate trophic and cytoprotective effects of glutamine in small bowel and colonic mucosal cells. Although the routine clinical use of glutamine-enriched parenteral and enteral nutrient solutions remains controversial, available data demonstrate both the safety and metabolic and clinical efficacy of glutamine treatment in selected patient groups. Basic investigations are elucidating underlying mechanisms of glutamine action in intestinal cells. These will inform preclinical and clinical investigations designed to determine glutamine efficacy in selected gastrointestinal disorders. Emerging clinical trials will further define the utility of adjunctive glutamine supplementation as a component of specialized nutrition support in gastrointestinal disease.

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