GABA vs. Glutamine

Dear friends:

What follows is an egroup post that I made today regarding glutamine vs. GABA, as a result of a person helpfully mentioning that the amino acid glutamine had helped her.

Dear (name removed):

I wish to thank you for mentioning glutamine here. Glutamine is sure a “worthy to mention supplement” when dealing with either depression or bipolar disorder.

Glutamine does cross the blood brain barrier much better than GABA, or so some think. And glutamine, GABA, and glutamic acid are three amino acids that are closely related to each other, and can readily convert to one another in the body and in the brain.

I do think that you may be right in regard to using glutamine capsules in a night cocktail, and that doing such may be better than using GABA for some persons, if not many. As with any amino acid, results may vary, and the best person to determine the aforementioned is You! the person taking such.

Here are a few thoughts on glutamine, and some of my experiences with it, that some might find helpful:

Glutamine is a key amino acid for the gut. It really helps to increase the health and even the length of the villi; as well as helps to increase the gut’s absorptive ability as well.

A woman named Judy Shabert wrote a book on glutamine, called “Glutamine; The Essential Non-essential Amino Acid” (or a title that is very similar). This book is quite good; and it got me to supplement with glutamine in a very big way for about two years… until I learned better.

I found glutamine to be “anti-manic”, “anti-depressive”, and “a brain fuel” all rolled into one. Glutamine helped me enormously… and I took it on a regular basis for about two years.

I was admittedly using very high dosages of glutamine between early 1998 and December of 1999. I was not using capsules, I was using two heaping teaspoons of powdered glutamine every day, or every other day, for the majority of the two year span reflected above. (I was taking glutamine first thing in the morning, with room temperature spring or distilled water, and waiting about an hour before I ate or took anything else. I did this due to the fact that Dr. Sherry Rogers had taught me that glutamine was very sensitive to acidity… either acidity from juices taken with it, or acidity from food residue/stomach acid residue in the stomach.)

Unfortunately, I clearly “overdid” glutamine, if amino acid tests are any accurate measure of such. I had two such tests, both RBC, one by Metametrix in December of 1997, and the second one by Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab in December of 1999 (I think GSDL is under a new name now). The first test results showed that I was essentially low “across the board” in all amino acids tested, and the second test results showed that I was essentially low “across the board” in all amino acids tested but glutamine, which I tested quite high in.

When I saw Dr. Priscilla Slagle (the author of “The Way Up From Down” and the doctor behind the website, and I gave her my second test results on amino acids, her comment to me was “I would stop supplementing with glutamine”, as my glutamine results were so out of whack with the norm, and also out of whack vs. other amino acids in my body. I was a bit hesitant to take Dr. Slagle’s advice when she gave it to me, as I knew “by feel” that when I took glutamine at this point in time, I still felt that it was helping me a great deal. However, I did not want to just continue taking glutamine to the point where it was going to build up in me more than it already had. I was quite puzzled here, and for a few months I did not know what to do.

In February of 2000 (a few months after I got my second test results for amino acids), I finally started using broad based amino acids and other nutrients to help me, rather than just stepping on glutamine and a handful of other individual amino acids so much in order to remain well from bipolar disorder. The mixture of broad based amino acids that I take does contain glutamine, but I am no longer worried about building up a high level of one specific amino acid, as I now take them all. (I use “Willy’s baggie” to remain well, as it is so amazingly simple to implement, and has consistently given me such good results.)

Lastly, it might be worthy to repeat the note of caution on glutamine that was in the old speech from 2002 that I just posted in here. This note is as follows:

The amino acid glutamine is one of a number of “must trial” nutritional supplements in the treatment of manic depression. However, the use of the amino acid glutamine can be a “two edged sword”. Glutamine can increase nutrient absorption in the small intestines significantly within a matter of hours. However, it also can increase the absorption of hidden food allergens and toxins present in the GI tract as well. One should identify and eliminate major food allergens before using glutamine in order to use this supplement without serious negative consequences. One should also insure that a high level of toxins is not present in the gut before taking glutamine as well.

I have seen high doses of powdered glutamine hurt people, as a result of taking it when their gut was too toxic and/or when they were ingesting too many hidden food allergens… as it increased the absorption of these allergens and toxins substantially, at least temporarily.

I sincerely hope the above is useful to some persons in this egroup.


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