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Ask Dr. Mike: Digestive Enzymes & Foods with Glutamine

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans.

Listen in because what you know helps ensure healthy choices you can live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

Hello Dr. Mike, I have a confusion about the use of digestive enzymes. I've heard on your show that taking certain supplements can block certain digestive enzymes to slow the absorption of sugar. My son is on a gluten-reduced diet and occasionally takes a digestive enzyme to aid in the breakdown of gluten. However, I've also heard mention of the importance of blocking this enzyme. I can assume that the need to block or increase the absorption of protein, sugar, etc., is specific to certain health conditions. Can you help me understand when digestive enzymes should be supplemented or restricted?

Dr. Mike can see how this can be a little confusing. Some shows and doctors might discuss the importance of digestive enzymes. However, there also are times when doctors might talk about blocking digestive enzymes, so it can seem like there is a contradiction.

However, it depends on the situation the doctor is talking about. In a perfect situation, where you're not worrying about other health conditions, you want to supplement with digestive enzymes. Supplementing with digestive enzymes is the norm and in most cases what you want to do.

The only time doctors might talk about restricting digestive enzymes is usually in the context of weight and weight management. This is when you want to block sugar or fat digestive enzymes.

Dr. Blaylock is against dietary intake of high glutamine foods, saying that they are excitotoxins. The problem is, most foods that are considered healthy are high in glutamine (such as meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, beans). It's to the point where someone can name any food and I could give you several reasons why you shouldn't eat it. I use a couple of scoops of whey protein in my morning shake. What are your views on dietary glutamine as a neuroexcitotoxin?

Glutamine is an amino acid that plays an important role in your body, and you need it to function optimally. The glutamine in foods is good for you and glutamine in itself is not an excitoxin.

What happens is it converts inside nerve and brain cells to glutamate, which is a neurotoxin. A major source or glutamate is glutamine from the food you eat. The problem is, you might build up too much of it from the food you eat, as well as the protein supplements you take. This causes it to accumulate in the brain, and that's when it's bad for you.

Dr. Mike's suggestion is to not avoid glutamine foods, but rather counter the potential build up of glutamate of those foods with other foods and nutrients known to calm down the brain. Spices and foods like saffron, omega and coconut oil, wild green oat extract, gaba, green tea, lemon balm, and passion fruit will all be beneficial in doing this.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call in, toll-free, to the LIVE radio show (1.844.305.7800) so he can provide you with support and helpful advice.