The Gut Protective Benefits of L-Glutamine for Horses

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The Gut Protective Benefits of L-Glutamine for Horses

Performance horses require more nutrition. L-glutamine is an important amino acid, necessary for gut and muscle health. Read more about the benefits here!

You’ve likely heard of amino acids and know that they are an important nutrient for both us and our horses. However, you may not be overly familiar with the role of one of those amino acids: L-glutamine. 

L-glutamine is important because it is the most abundant and versatile amino acid in the horse’s body, aiding in metabolism, pH balance, and nitrogen exchange between bodily tissues. It’s also highly important in the digestive process, especially when it comes to absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. 

L-glutamine is technically known as a ‘conditionally essential’ amino acid, meaning that it is essential during certain circumstances or periods of life. 

One such circumstance is during periods of stress, which, due to the nature of their work, performance horses may experience on a regular basis. Therefore, supplementation can be extremely beneficial for these horses. 

Though horses naturally produce L-glutamine, it can be depleted by conditions such as stomach or hindgut ulcers, malnutrition, or infection. In these cases, supplementation may be necessary as well. 

How L-Glutamine Protects the Gut

Though L-glutamine serves several important functions in the body, one of its best known roles is related to gut protection. 

L-glutamine helps to maintain tight junctions in the gut lining, rebuild and repair tissue in the gut, and also reduce inflammation within the digestive system. 

Additionally, L-glutamine is used by the intestinal lining to create a strong surface for digestion and nutrient absorption. In fact, after glucose, L-glutamine is the primary fuel for intestinal epithelial cells, which make up the first layer of the gut lining.

L-Glutamine and the Horse Immune System

Because L-glutamine is so important for healthy gut function, it is also closely connected with equine immune function. After all, around 70% of a horse’s immune system is housed within their gut. 

In fact, the lining of the stomach and intestine act as the body’s primary defense mechanism against toxins and disease. 

Additionally, L-glutamine is a precursor for glutathione, an important antioxidant that protects the horse’s immune system cells from damage. L-glutamine is also an essential nutrient for the proliferation of lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), as well as the production of cytokines (proteins that fight off pathogens). 

Finally, L-glutamine supplies nitrogen to immune cells in the intestinal mucosa. Nitrogen is needed to build proteins and other important bodily chemicals. 

L-Glutamine and Muscle Health

L-glutamine is not only important for gut and immune health, but muscle health as well. In fact, it serves as the most important antioxidant in both skeletal and smooth muscle, making movement, exercise, and performance possible.

As an antioxidant, L-glutamine aids in removing potentially damaging oxidizing agents, which are common during times of stress or intense exercise. 

L-glutamine aids in muscle recovery by decreasing soreness, improving muscle repair and replenishing glycogen to the muscles. Under normal circumstances, a horse can create enough L-glutamine in their body to keep up with muscle repair and recovery, but, again, this may not be the case for horses in hard work. 

Signs that Your Horse Needs More L-Glutamine

Though a horse’s body continually makes L-glutamine, their natural supply can become depleted under certain conditions. 

Some of these conditions include:

  • Ulcers
  • Malnutrition
  • Infection
  • Intense exercise or training

If your horse is experiencing a deficiency in L-glutamine, this can affect them in several ways. 

For example, recovery time after intense exercise may be delayed or negatively impacted. Another way that they may be affected is in their ability to absorb and utilize nutrients consumed in the diet. This occurs when inflammation and wear-and-tear occur in the cells of the intestinal lining.

Some signs that your horse may be deficient in L-glutamine include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach or hindgut ulcers
  • Poor hoof or hair quality despite a high-quality diet (can point to lack of nutrient absorption)
  • Digestive problems

When L-glutamine is supplemented, it can help to strengthen villi in the small intestine, improving nutrient absorption and also improving both gut and immune health in your horse. 

*Studies show that L-glutamine supplementation can help to improve stomach and intestinal mucosal stability and prevent deterioration of these tissues.*  

In short, L-glutamine supplementation has been shown to help repair ulcerated tissue, improve the gut immune response, and minimize the effects that inflammatory cells have on the digestive system. 

6666 Complete Gut Protection 

Because L-glutamine is such an important nutrient for gut, immune, and muscle health, we include it in our Complete Gut Protection supplement. This product is the only supplement on the market containing two different prebiotics, as well as probiotics, postbiotics, and L-glutamine to target every major component of the digestive system. 

Complete Gut Protection provides whole-body benefits, including immune support during periods of stress, gastrointestinal support during dietary changes or with treatment of medications such as antibiotics or NSAIDs, as well as joint and muscle support for performance horses.

Try yours today, risk-free! 

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