ArgiMent is an orange-flavored instant drink mix that delivers 10 grams of glutamine and 7.5 grams of arginine when mixed with 8 oz. of water.
Glutamine and arginine have long been classified as “conditionally essential amino acids.” Under certain conditions such as metabolic stress caused by pressure injury or illness, dietary supplementation is required to meet the body’s increased demands.
ArgiMent added to a patient’s oral intake or standard tube feeding provides additional nitrogen to promote nitrogen balance during metabolic stress, plus specific amino acids to maintain gut integrity, restore lean body mass and enhance immunity.
Glutamine is the cellular fuel source for skeletal muscle and enterocytes. Under metabolic stress body proteins are utilized as a quick cellular fuel source. The muscles, which contain the largest stores of glutamine, give up their free glutamine to maintain blood levels. As the stress continues, muscle catabolism occurs as they begin to synthesize glutamine to meet the body’s increased demands. Studies have shown that at a 15% loss of lean body mass, the skeletal muscles stop producing glutamine and a deficiency can occur.
Enterocytes, cells along the GI tract that include gut immune cells, depend on glutamine as their primary fuel source even under normal conditions in healthy individuals. But during metabolic stress cells dependent on this amino acid, such as the enterocytes, begin to atrophy as glutamine becomes less available.
This loss of enterocytes has several negative impacts on wound healing:
• Decreased nutrient absorption
• Increased gut permeability, which allows for bacterial translocation from the gut to the bloodstream
• Decreased immune function due to loss of gut immune cells
Supplementing with glutamine can restore lean body mass, maintain gut integrity and enhance immunity, all important factors in wound healing.
Arginine enhances immunity, blood flow and wound healing. Studies have shown that arginine enhances immunity by increasing the number of immune cells and stimulating macrophages. It further promotes wound healing by increasing collagen deposition within the wound or at the wound site and enhancing blood flow to the wound. Arginine can also be converted by the body into glutamine when glutamine stores are low. However, it is more efficient to supplement with glutamine and allow arginine to be metabolized in the other pathways to promote wound healing.