L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. Over 61% of skeletal muscle tissue is glutamine. Glutamine is known as a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that while the body can make glutamine, under extreme physical stress the demand for glutamine exceeds the body's ability to synthesize it. During times of stress, glutamine reserves are depleted and need to be replenished through supplementation.
L-glutamine levels have been found to be decreased in endurance athletes who train too often and at high intensity. Athletes with a strenuous training schedule may be able to reduce the risk of infections by supplementing with glutamine.
This is why we offer it as a sports nutrition supplement. However, there are other foundational uses for glutamine. It is involved with more metabolic processes than any other amino acid.
For example, glutamine is one of the three amino acids involved in glutathione synthesis. Glutathione is the body's most useful intracellular antioxidant and liver detoxifier. Glutamine can be converted by the body to glucose when it needs more energy.
Since it is a critical fuel source for cells that line the intestine, the lack of glutamine is associated with increased permeability of the intestinal wall (and therefore reduced immunity). Glutamine supplementation maintains the health of the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract and is often used to inhibit muscle wasting in critically ill patients.
Glutamine is used as a fuel source by various cells of the immune system, including T cells and macrophages. It assists in maintaining the proper acid/alkaline balance in the body, and is one of the building blocks for the synthesis of RNA and DNA. Glutamine increases the body's ability to secrete human growth hormone (HGH) and is used by the body to remove excess ammonia from the blood.
The Many Health Benefits of Glutamine.
The health benefits of glutamine include immune system regulation, nitrogen shuttling, oxidative stress, muscle preservation, intestinal health, injuries, and much more. Supplemental L-glutamine can be helpful in the treatment of arthritis, autoimmune disease, fibrosis, intestinal disorders such as ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcers, and connective tissue diseases.
Strenuous exercise, viral and bacterial infections, and stress and trauma in general cause glutamine depletion that starves the immune cells. Many people with cancer have abnormally low levels of glutamine. Glutamine protects the liver during toxic chemotherapy, during acetaminophen toxicity, and following a severe inflammatory injury to the liver.
Glutamine is used to protect the lining of the small and large intestines from damage caused by chemotherapy or radiation. Glutamine can aid in healing stomach ulcers and prevent inflammation of the stomach that is caused by chronic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Individuals with advanced stages of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) often experience severe weight loss (particularly loss of muscle mass). Glutamine combined with antioxidants or other nutrients may help people with HIV to gain weight.
Toxicity, Side Effects, Interactions and Contraindications
Glutamine supplementation is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. However, a small number of people may experience headaches and other side effects with glutamine. People with kidney disease, liver disease, or Reye's syndrome should not take glutamine. Persons sensitive to monosodium glutamate (MSG) may also want to avoid glutamine supplements, since the body can convert glutamine into glutamate.
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