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Dig Dis Sci. 2012 Apr;57(4):1000-12. doi: 10.1007/s10620-011-1947-9. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Glutamine and whey protein improve intestinal permeability and morphology in patients with Crohn's disease: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110029, India.



Increased intestinal permeability (IP) has been implicated in the etiopathogenesis, disease activity and relapse of Crohn's disease (CD). Glutamine, the major fuel for the enterocytes, may improve IP.


We evaluated the effect of oral glutamine on IP and intestinal morphology in patients with CD.


In a randomized controlled trial, consecutive patients with CD in remission phase with an abnormal IP were randomized to a glutamine group (GG) or active control group (ACG) and were given oral glutamine or whey protein, respectively, as 0.5 g/kg ideal body weight/day for 2 months. IP was assessed by the lactulose mannitol excretion ratio (LMR) in urine, and morphometry was performed by computerized image analysis system.


Patients (age 34.5 ± 10.5 years; 20 males) were assigned to the GG (n = 15) or ACG (n = 15). Fourteen patients in each group completed the trial. The LMR [median (range)] in GG and ACG at 2 months was 0.029 (0.006-0.090) and 0.033 (0.009-0.077), respectively, with P = 0.6133. IP normalized in 8 (57.1%) patients in each group (P = 1.000). The villous crypt ratio (VCR) [mean (SD)] in GG and ACG at 2 months was 2.68 (1.02) and 2.49 (0.67), respectively, (P = 0.347). At the end of 2 months LMR improved significantly in GG from 0.071 (0.041-0.254) to 0.029 (0.006-0.090) (P = 0.0012) and in ACG from 0.067 (0.040-0.136) to 0.033 (0.009-0.077) (P = 0.0063). VCR improved in the GG from 2.33 (0.77) to 2.68 (1.02) (P = 0.001), and in ACG from 2.26 (0.57) to 2.49 (0.67) (P = 0.009).


Intestinal permeability and morphology improved significantly in both glutamine and ACG.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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