This amino-acid is a versatile, multifunctional marvel. Glutamine will keep you lean and mean, support your immune system, and even help heal your guts!
Many of these properties stem from the fact that glutamine is used as a signal in the body. Higher levels indicate all is well with protein metabolism in the body, while the body breaks down and converts proteins into glutamine during starvation. It’s all about nitrogen…
Protein is rich in nitrogen, and so when transporting proteins from one part of the body to another, nitrogen is often striped off other amino acids and formed into the nitrogen-rich amino called glutamine. It acts as a carrier. This can happen when the body needs to break down aminos to create extra blood sugar during weight-loss or starvation, and this is why you can lose muscle when dieting hard. Giving the body glutamine convinces it that it doesn’t want to continue breaking down muscle-proteins. It acts as a signal that all is well!! Studies on trauma patients have shown that providing 10-30g glutamine per day reduces muscle-breakdown and opposes inflammation. Glutamine also helps improve the balance of protein synthesis, compared to break-down, following exercise.
In addition, glutamine is an important metabolic fuel for the immune system. This includes fuelling white blood cells, as well as some of the defences in our gut-lining that filter out the baddies that could invade our bodies from our food!
Finally, the chemical signals from glutamine also have a positive hormonal effect; when used in combination with lysine, glutamine has been seen to stimulate the release of growth-hormone in the body. This hormonal boon to body-composition has the effect of stimulating fat oxidation while maintaining lean mass during weight-loss.
conducted in humans demonstrate glutamine to be well tolerated without adverse consequences, even during times of stress. Although glutamine has shown promise in select groups of catabolic patients, additional studies are needed to define which patient populations derive the greatest benefit from supplemental glutamine and the mechanisms by which these effects are exerted.