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Glutamine to help with both diarrhea & healing wounds

Diane H.
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2011

I wanted to find out if anyone knows anything about L-Glutamine powder. The dietician at the radiologist's office gave me this to take starting right away, before treatment begins. They explained that L-glutamine is an amino acid that fuels the cells of the digestive tract, as well as the immune system. Our body naturally produces about 1-6 grams per day. It's estimated that during radiation to the GI tract about 30 grams of glutamine per day are needed to maintain GI health. One study showed that taking before and during treatment delays the onset of diarrehea an average of 5-8 days. It also aids in the healing of wounds - mouth sores, burns, etc. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Posts: 88
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi, Diane Never heard of it. I was told to take imodium at the onset of "d" and if necessary for each movement after that up to 8 in a day. Mine never got bad enough to take more than one, with a few occasions of having to take a second imodium. I completed my treatments in March 2010 and I still have troubles with bowel activity. My primary care from the VA hospital (I'm a veteran), gave me a prescription for dichlorhydromine, (or something like that) for irritable bowel syndrome, but my primary care dr outside the VA told me to stick with the imodium, as the imodium is better and it doesn't claim any side effects. I suppose it all depends on your diet. Me, I was raised on a luscious garden, with the best fruits and veggies anyone could ever dream of. My parents were great gardeners. My parents didn't use any pesticides, etc. Everything was natural. (Of course, that was way back in the days when Moby Dick was just a little minnow swimming in the pond; and pesticides were unheard of.) I read an article somewhere about wheat germ and that it has some healing powers as well. Now, sadly, I can't find the article. Sorry I can't help with the L-glutamine powder info. I hope my info helps in some way. Keep us posted. Come in to ask questions, share your experiences, and just chat. We all learn from each other. God bless.

mp327's picture
Posts: 4168
Joined: Jan 2010

This came out of the book "The Chemotherapy Survival Guide."

"Nutritional Supplements--Some nutritional supplements can help you to prevent or alleviate symptoms of neuropathy. One that's commonly used during treatment with the taxanes (Taxol) and docetaxel (Taxotere) is glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid (protein building block) that's normally produced by your body. During periods of high stress, however, the body can't produce enough to meet its needs. Glutamine seems to protect the peripheral nerves from injury during chemo. It's often taken three or four times a day for several days after each taxane treatment to prevent or reduce the severity of symptoms."

I've heard of peripheral neuropathy issues with certain types of chemo, but was never told that Mitomycin and/or 5FU could cause it, which are the usual chemo drugs used for anal cancer. However, I guess there's always the possibility. This excerpt from the book does not mention anything about its benefit for digestive health.

Posts: 134
Joined: Dec 2010

My acupuncturist as well as nutritionist had recommended it and did take Glutamine before and throughout treatment. Not sure what difference it made/makes but I went through treatment and don't have any bowl/bladder issues now. You should decide for yourself what feels right to do.

Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Diane

My naturopathic oncologist prescribed it for me as well. Only problem for me is that I'm too sick to drink it. I was given the same doze 30 mgs....5 days following chemo. Maybe I'll try tonight since I'm feeling better. Sounds like it is a protective necessity.

mp327's picture
Posts: 4168
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm glad you are feeling better! How are things going so far? Been thinking about you and as always, you are in my prayers.


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