L-Glutamine for oral mucositis

Radiation-induced mucositis is a normal accompaniment of radical radiotherapy to the head and neck area. Normally, the oral mucosa has a relatively high cell-turnover rate. Exposure to ionising radiation leads to mucosal erythema, small whitish patches and ultimately results in confluent mucositis. Mucositis is a result of imbalance between cell loss and cell proliferation. The intensity of mucositis can be aggravated by chemo and/or radiation.

Bacteria in the oral mucosa can aggravate pre-existing mucositis. Endotoxins released from the gram-negative bacilli can increase inflammation in the mouth.

During radiation and chemotherapy Cancerwife took L-Glutamine to heal mouth sores and digestive lining irritations.  A marked difference was noticed when L-Glutamine was taken - mouth sores healed, digestive system works better, less irritation in digestive tract.  We used the Jarrow brand L-Glutamine.  Cancerwife took 1 scoop (provided in the container) of glutamine dissolved in drinking water.  Swish a few times in the mouth then swallow.  This can be repeated up to 3 times a day.

Here are links I've round on L-glutamine (or commercial products of L-glutamine) helping with chemoradiation induced oral mucositis:

  1. Oral mucositis: Target of new drugs and guidelines
    Some 400,000 Americans annually develop mucositis as a side effect when cancer therapy breaks down the epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract—most destructively in the oral cavity—leaving the mucosa susceptible to ulceration and infection. Mucositis can be so severe that eating, drinking, or speaking become impossible and further treatments are delayed
  2. Oral glutamine to alleviate radiation-induced oral mucositis: a pilot randomized trial
    Oral glutamine may significantly reduce the duration and severity of objective oral mucositis during radiotherapy. It may shorten the duration of > or = Grade 3 subjective mucositis
  3. L-Glutamine Effective for Prevention of Oral Mucositis After Chemoradiotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer
    Saforis is a patented, topical, oral suspension of glutamine that utilizes a proprietary formulation to protect oral mucosa from damaging effects of chemotherapy. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in human plasma and has multiple beneficial functions in the human body. The availability of and demand for glutamine becomes critical when oral mucosa has been injured from chemotherapy. Increased levels of glutamine in mucosal tissues may prevent damage from cancer treatments and help tissues recover normal function.
  4. A pretty technical but informative and well-written article by an undergraduate
    An assessment was made of 17 head and neck cancer patients, randomly selected to take two grams of glutamine four times daily throughout radiation treatment. The key to this trial pertained to the two grams of glutamine being swished in the mouth for three minutes prior to swallowing. Patients selected to ingest the glutamine demonstrated a less severe grade and shorter period of mucositis.