What Is It?
Glutamine is a critical amino acid and the most abundant in the body. It is an amino acid used as:
- A building block for body proteins
- Fuel for cells that line the gut
- Fuel for immune cells, such as macrophages
- Maintaining nitrogen balance
- Preventing the burning of other amino acids for energy
It is also the most abundant amino acid in the body, suggesting that it is very important.
The naturally occurring form and the form that our body uses is L-glutamine.
The main organs that use glutamine are skeletal muscle, kidneys, liver, and small intestine.
Glutamine is a critical amino acid for the immune system and for keeping the nitrogen levels in your body in check. Moreover, glutamine makes up to 60% of the free amino acids in the bones, making it a good supplement for strength training purposes.
A Fuel For Gut Cell Growth and Digestive Functions
Glutamine is one of the three major sources of fuel for cells in the small intestine. In the gut, glutamine is needed for cellular production and cell growth, and to assist in the absorption and transport of nutrients.
Promotes Muscle Growth and Decreases Muscle Wasting
Whether your goal is to increase athletic performance, boost metabolism, improve recovery or even build muscle, research shows that L-glutamine can significantly aid your efforts. During an intense workout, your body becomes stressed and your muscles and tendons require more glutamine than the amount supplied by a normal diet.
Burns Fat and Improves Diabetes
L-glutamine burns fat and builds lean muscle mass by helping suppress insulin levels and stabilise blood glucose. This enables the body to use up less muscle mass to maintain blood sugar and insulin sensitivity in the cells. In fact, six weeks of supplementation with 30 grams per day of glutamine powder “markedly improved some cardiovascular risk factors, as well as body composition, in patients with type 2 diabetes.” For this reason, L-glutamine benefits diabetics and those with sugar and carb cravings as well.
Boost In Immunity
Research shows that L-glutamine plays a role in both immune cell production (having enough to fight off germs) and the gut’s function as a physical barrier to infection. For these reasons there may be potential benefit to your immune system from an L-glutamine supplement as well.
Improves Your Brain Health
As you age, changes in your brain are a common occurrence. Did you know that certain parts of your brain shrink with age? Your blood flow to the brain can also decrease, inflammation can increase, and the communication barriers between your neurones can break down. This is why older people can struggle to learn new things, search for words, or have trouble multi-tasking.
The New York University School of Medicine ran a study with 22 patients that had mild traumatic brain injuries. They measured the participants’ grey and white matter in their brains with an MRI before and after the study to get pinpoint results.
They split the participants into two groups. One group was the control group, and the other group got an L-Glutamine supplement every day. The study ran for 365 days from start to finish, and the researchers monitored the participant’s brain atrophy rates. At the conclusion of the study, they found that the group who got the L-Glutamine supplement had less brain atrophy than the control group.
L-Glutamine Can Help To Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting itself from a perceived threat. You can have chronic inflammation or acute inflammation. Acute inflammation occurs when you injure yourself or experience trauma or illness somewhere in your body. Chronic inflammation is ongoing inflammation, and you see it in arthritis or with excess fat cells.
An L-Glutamine supplement can increase the levels of B and T lymphocytes in your body that reduces inflammation.
You can also get L-glutamine through certain foods:
The foods with the most L-glutamine benefits include:
- Bone Broth
- Grass-fed beef
- Chinese cabbage
- Cottage cheese
- Broccoli rabe
- Wild-caught fish (cod and salmon)
So all in all, L-glutamine should absolutely be considered as part of your supplement regime.
The benefits listed above will benefit most of, if not, all of us!