Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, especially in muscle fibers and the digestive system, which is why it is important for supporting the immune system. Our bodies naturally produce this amino acid, and it is also found in many foods. Yet, in some cases, it may be necessary to supplement glutamine for optimal health and recovery.
What is glutamine?
Glutamine is one of the 20 amino acids that make up the proteins we eat. Amino acids are molecules that play many roles in the body. Like many other amino acids, glutamine comes in two different forms: L-glutamine and D-glutamine. They are almost identical, but their molecular makeup is slightly different.
The form found in foods and dietary supplements is L-glutamine. Some supplements refer to it as “L-Glutamine”, but others simply use the broader term “glutamine”. Although l-glutamine is used to make proteins and perform other functions, D-glutamine appears to be relatively unimportant in living organisms.
L-Glutamine can be produced naturally in our bodies and is the most abundant amino acid in blood and other body fluids. However, there are times when our need for glutamine exceeds our ability to produce it.
Its role in the body:
Glutamine and immunity.
Glutamine plays a fundamental role in supporting the immune system. It is a critical source of fuel for immune cells, including white blood cells and some intestinal cells. However, blood levels may drop due to serious injuries, burns, or surgery. If the body’s need for glutamine is greater than its ability to produce it, our body can break down protein stores, such as muscle, to mobilize this amino acid. In addition, the function of the immune system can be compromised when insufficient amounts of glutamine are available.
Scientific research on glutamine.
For these reasons, high protein, high glutamine diets or glutamine supplements are often prescribed after serious injuries such as burns.
Studies also indicate that glutamine supplements can improve health, reduce infections and lead to shorter hospital stays after surgery. In addition, they have been shown to improve survival and reduce medical costs in patients with serious illnesses.
The positive impact of glutamine on the immune system is linked to its role in gut health. In the human body, the intestines are considered to be the building block of the immune system. This is due to the many intestinal cells with immune functions, as well as the billions of bacteria that live in our intestines and affect our health. Glutamine is an important source of energy for these intestinal cells. It also helps to maintain the intestinal barrier to prevent the gastric emptying container from dispersing throughout the rest of the body, thus protecting against leaky gut syndrome (strainer gut). In short, it prevents harmful bacteria or toxins from spreading from your intestines to the rest of your body.
Its role in sports performance:
This non-essential amino acid is beneficial for the athlete, especially when it comes to post-workout recovery and the fight against catabolism.
This is because glutamine helps optimize energy supply and improves protein synthesis, which is vital for the growth of muscle fibers.
It also prevents too much muscle degradation during intense and long-lasting effort.
How to use glutamine?
On workout days, we recommend consuming glutamine before or during exercise to support hydration, electrolyte transport, and BCAA metabolism. You can take 5g before, during and after your workout. The same goes for BCAAs: 5g before, during and after exercise. Creatine, on the other hand, will also be well absorbed around training, preferably 3g post-workout in a sugary drink.
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