Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (building block of protein) in the body. Why is glutamine so vital? It’s because it promotes a strong immune system and recovery from intense exercise. It also protects the muscles from inflammationbecause of its role in generating heat shock proteins (HSP) that help organize new proteins and speed the removal of injured cells and tissues. Did you know that glutamine is stored in muscles followed by the lungs, where much of the glutamine is made?
The body can produce glutamine for its regular needs, but extreme stress (from workouts, mental stress, injuries, etc) creates a need for more glutamine to handle them.
Stresses increasing HSPs include muscle cell damage from high tension, high cell temperature, reduced pH (cell acidity), inadequate blood flow, oxidative stress (free radical damage), and depleted energy stores. Other health benefits of glutamine include:
- Improves brain functioning. Glutamine promotes mental alertness, focus, memory and problem solving.
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels.
- Promotes healthy gut functioning. If you are suffering from ulcers, constipation, or diarrhea, glutamine works very well in relieving these symtoms.
- Aids in recovery from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
- Supports protein synthesis and stores glycogen for energy in the muscle tissue.
- Helps balance the acid/alkaline level in the body.
- Promotes weight loss by promoting muscle enhancement. Muscle in turn boosts the metabolism.
- Supports pancreatic function.
- Decreases addiction cravings for such things as alcohol.
These are some of the glutamine benefits. Researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in a study on mice, found that glutamine supplements preserved muscle strength in artificially-inflamed muscles. While controversial, we have some evidence that glutamine supplements boost immune function and protect tissues from inflammation. (Muscle Nerve, in press; published online September 2009)