Mr. Generic: Hulda Clark says that glutamine removes ammonia, and you say that taking glutamine releases ammonia. I don’ t understand.
Polly: Glutamine is used to transport ammonia. In this sense, glutamine is used to remove ammonia. That is the only way in which I’ ve heard of glutamine removing ammonia. This isn’ t the same thing as saying taking a glutamine supplement will immediately remove ammonia. Just the opposite will happen. Some of the glutamine will be converted to glutamate or glutamic acid, and ammonia will be released.
Mr. Generic: The amino acid ornithine helps remove ammonia. Could I take that with the glutamine to counter the extra ammonia?
Polly: Unless you are particularly low on just ornithine, the best strategy would probably be to take a blend of aminos designed to remove ammonia. Usually, just one amino acid isn’ t appropriate. Every amino acid affects every other amino acid. Anytime you take just one amino, you will throw off a whole set of other amino acids. It is really a chain of events, like setting up a row of dominos. In fact, if you take the wrong balance of amino acids, your body may be forced to burn off some of the unwanted amino acids, and this would increase ammonia production.
If you don’ t have an amino acid assay, a blend such as made by JoMar Labs might be safest. JoMar Labs makes a blend of aminos called H-7 that seems to be designed to help remove ammonia. (800) 538-4545 or (408) 374 5920 http://www.JoMarLabs.com It is a blend of L-Arginine, L-Ornithine, L-Citrulline, L-Serine, and branch chain amino acids. However, the large amount of arginine in this formula may make it hard to tolerate. Personally, I am low on arginine, and I find that occasional use of the H-7 blend gives me more energy. I get a better reaction from it than just plain arginine. Yet I can’ t use the H-7 formula consistently without some signs that it isn’ t right for me.
There is another product for the removal of ammonia called OKG. It is a blend of two amino acids— L-ornithine and alpha ketoglutaric acid. These amino acids should be in the proper proportions, with two parts ornithine to one part alpha ketoglutaric acid. Source Naturals is one company that provides a supplement of OKG. Here is one place to purchase it. Phone (888) 437-2763 or http://www.herbsmd.com
An extract of Yucca called schidigera is used to control ammonia in animals. (See the H and S corporation website at http://www.h-scorporation.com, phone (501) 632-5323 or (800)264-0323.) Nature’ s Herbs has a Yucca supplement that is available in most health stores. This site http://www.healthwell.com has many excellent articles on herbs and vitamins. In their article on yucca, they warn you not to take high doses of Yucca because this could harm your red blood cells. Also, Yucca may interfere with absorption of fatsoluble vitamins. However, a small amount is generally recognized as safe, and is in fact an ingredient used in the making of root beer. Yucca is also used to control arthritic pain. There is speculation that the yucca saponins block release of certain toxins from the intestines that inhibit cartilage formation.
If at all possible, correct the flora and pH of the intestines. This will reduce the amount of ammonia absorbed from the intestines. Lactulose is sometimes employed to feed the good bacteria and help remove ammonia. (Not everyone can tolerate lactulose, possibly because it can feed more than just the good Bifidus bacteria.) Improving the production of carbon dioxide with supplements like thyroid may also help the body remove ammonia. A limitation on protein intake and a switch to milk and vegetable sources of protein are often suggested when dealing with excess ammonia in the body. More fat in the diet may be helpful too.
Jennifer: Has anyone tried any of the following amino acids to treat Interstitial Cystitis/bladder irritation symptoms? L-arginine, L-methionine, and aspartic acid? They are all said to neutralize ammonia in the body, making ammonia-free urine that reduces bladder irritation.
Polly: I apologize in advance for the length of this reply. But I think the subject of amino acids supplementation deserves to be discussed in some detail. Supplementation of certain amino acids has a wonderful potential to heal, and to help prevent the return of yeast or bacteria overgrowth. But individual aminos also have the potential to harm. They must be treated with respect. Lab results are very important, but you must also monitor how supplementation is affecting you. When you first start something that your body really needs, you might get some strange symptoms. But after a short time, if these symptoms persist, or especially if you are becoming more tired, then you need to reconsider what you are taking. They might not be the correct supplements for you, at least at this time. Also, any unusual pattern of amino acid supplementation should not be continued longer than necessary. There is too much danger of throwing off your balance in another manner. I’ ll now get off my soapbox and start addressing your specific questions.
You asked about using arginine. Arginine has helped a few people with their bladder pain. Arginine will increase nitric oxide production, and some speculate that this is the reason it helps people with bladder pain.
You asked about methionine. Methionine seems to be a very basic sulfur amino acid needed to support many of the processes in the liver. I believe there is a lot of it in cottage cheese, about one gram to a cup. If you decide to try extra methionine, you should also take plenty of coenzyme B6, TMG (tri-methyl-glycine, B12, and folic acid to keep your homocysteine levels down. Excess methionine will suppress thyroid, so you should not overdo this amino acid.
The last amino you asked about was aspartic acid. You will find this at your vitamin shop in the form of a mineral aspartate. Magnesium-potassium aspartates can be quite helpful in removing ammonia and in increasing energy levels. Also, there is reason to believe that people with yeast overgrowth may need some. If you decide to try magnesium-potassium aspartates, be careful not to take too much over a long period of time. Too much aspartic acid is associated with seizures. Don’ t use them if you have been using a lot of the sweetener aspartame. Aspartame contains aspartic acid, and so you might be getting an overdose. Instead of aspartic acid, you might find that malic acid is better for you. These are fairly closely related. The body converts malic acid into aspartic acid, and vice versa. Certain yeast and bacteria will interfere with the formation of malic acid, so you might be low on it. However, since malic acid moves aluminum around, you might get reaction from it if you are aluminum poisoned.
You didn’ t ask about taurine, but this is something that you should keep in mind for possible later use. Andy Cutler in his book, Amalgam Illness mentions that taurine can help remove ammonia. One person on the metals list mentioned that taurine got rid of his urinary track pain. Yet, Jennifer, since you have acid reflux, please be careful with how you use taurine. Taurine will release more stomach acid.
If you have high ammonia levels, often alpha-ketoglutaric acid is depleted. Alphaketoglutaric acid helps remove ammonia. (The alpha-keto form of amino acids helps remove ammonia.) Also, this amino acid activates the citric acid cycle (Krebs) where energy is produced. Without sufficient alpha-ketoglutaric acid, you will be very tired. For the first couple of weeks, until your body gets used to this supplement, you might find it best to take this amino in the morning, otherwise it might interfere with your sleep. Later, you may find it is best to take it at night. You can also try citric acid to increase alpha-ketoglutaric acid levels, as suggested by Philpott. Or there is a supplement of OKG that contains alpha ketoglutaric acid and ornithine.
You need alpha ketoglutaric acid, B2 and magnesium to convert B6 into its active coenzyme form. The coenzyme form of B6 is needed for the enzymes that remove ammonia. Many of us with the yeast syndrome have a lack of coenzyme B6.
In Leon Chaitow’ s book on amino acids, he mentions that one of the best aminos to remove ammonia is threonine. Threonine is also important because it is the most prevalent amino acid in of the gut’ s mucin layer. It has another good property. It may help defat the liver. This means that your liver will eventually be able to remove more ammonia. Personally, the threonine is very calming to me. Yet I don’ t know the consequences of using too much of it. Threonine is closely related to serine and glycine. The only thing that seems deleterious is that threonine will produce acetaldehyde if it converts into glycine.
Whatever course you decide, be very careful to listen to your body for clues to how it is reacting to the aminos. For instance, there may be a certain time of the day when a particular blend of amino acids are more tolerable/helpful. If any group of aminos make you tired, or increase symptoms, then perhaps they aren’ t the ones for you, at least not at this point in time.