by Jarueba Taylor
When it comes to overall health, one of the most beneficial supplements you can take is L-Glutamine. L-Glutamine has been taken for years by people wanting fitness benefits. What most people don’t know however is that L-Glutamine brings the body a list of benefits that extend way beyond advancing someone’s athletic ability. If you are not currently using L-Glutamine, you should be and here is why.
What is Glutamine?
L-Glutamine also simply known as Glutamine is an non essential amino acid. A non essential amino acid is an amino acid that can be produced by the body. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. Glutamine makes up 60 percent of your skeletal muscle and 35 percent of the nitrogen in your blood. That skeletal muscle is also responsible for making up 70 percent of the Glutamine production in the body. The skeletal muscle, kidneys, liver, and small intestine use the most glutamine in the body. Glutamine however can be considered a “conditionally” essential amino acid. What this means is under times of stress the body uses glutamine in abundance. When the body has any type of stress, trauma, illness, or injury the body will use up a lot of Glutamine.
What foods might contain glutamine and how much do you need?
Some dietary sources of glutamine are:
- Lean Beef (preferably grass fed)
- Milk and dairy products
- Whey protein powders (and most all other protein powders)
While the body does make glutamine form the food we ingest, most people do not get enough glutamine through their diets. This is why supplementation of glutamine is important.
What are some of the benefits of Glutamine?
We now know that glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and when the body is under stress it becomes very important but what are some of the benefits of Glutamine supplementation?
Glutamine helps boost the immune system. The cells of the immune system require a lot of glutamine to function properly. When they function properly white blood cells can grow and ward off threats to the immune system. This will be beneficial in fighting anything that affects the immune system, like the common cold.
Glutamine helps wound healing and recovery from injury. much like the cells that boost immune functions, the cells that aide in wound healing and injury use lots of Glutamine. In severe injuries Glutamine levels can drop almost 45 percent in a matter of days due to so much Glutamine being needed to help with repair. People with the most severe injuries or diseases that suppress the autoimmune system, had the lowest concentration of Glutamine in their bodies.
Glutamine improves intestinal health. Glutamine is the main source of fuel for the cells of the small intestines. Glutamine is needed for cellular growth, production, and nutrient transport. With almost any type of gut issue Glutamine has shown some sort of benefit. Glutamine has been shown to have positive effects on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, improve the natural flow of the guts, repair leaky gut, and improve and repair stomach ulcers. With the aid of Vitamin A, Glutamine has been shown to regenerate the cells that line the digestive tract. Over the course of a month or so this has been shown to improve and repair stomach ulcers.
Glutamine has been shown in human and animal based studies to ward of cravings and anxiety from alcohol. A mere one gram of Glutamine in divided doses showed beneficial results in combating alcohol withdrawal.
Glutamine also has a positive effect on growth hormone release, protein synthesis, reducing cortisol levels (the bad stress hormone), and slowing muscle tissue breakdown. These are all extremely important benefits for the the athlete or fitness minded individual.
How much Glutamine do you need?
How much Glutamine a person takes is really going to be based on the reasons they want to take it. Probably the best way to get extra Glutamine would be through supplementation. Glutamine is a very safe supplement so even in high dosages side effects may be minimal to none. For general maintenance 1-5 grams a day would probably suffice. For athletic or fitness purposes 5-10 grams a day would most likely be a good dosage. For medical reasons 10-15 grams daily may work well, but always consult with a physician first before starting any supplementation.