Glutamine is an amino acid, a component of protein. It’s one of 20 or so that the human body can make. Normally, the body has more glutamine than any other amino acid.
Glutamine is made in the lungs, stored in the muscles and circulates through the blood. It’s important for the health of the immune system, digestion and the brain, as it’s one of the few molecules that can pass through the blood-brain barrier. Glutamine also takes ammonia out of the body.
Though glutamine is normally abundant in the body, if a person has undergone great stress, like an injury or surgery, he or she might need supplemental glutamine. This is because stress causes the body to produce a hormone called cortisol, which can deplete stores of glutamine.
What it Does
Glutamine seems to speed wound healing, and people who’ve been hospitalized because of illness or injury, including bad burns, often benefit by having glutamine added to their nutrition. Athletes who take glutamine supplements before a match or event tend to get fewer infections afterwards, though this isn’t true for people who engage in moderate exercise. A person should consult his or her physician before he or she starts taking glutamine to help with a medical condition. Glutamine, like any drug or supplement, can react badly with certain other medications.
Glutamine helps protect the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal or GI tract. This might make it useful in treating inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, but further studies need to be done on this. Patients who suffer from HIV, AIDS and cancer might also benefit from glutamine supplements. Glutamine, when taken with other vitamins, minerals and amino acids, might help HIV/AIDs patients gain weight and can alleviate the GI tract inflammation that can be a side effect of chemotherapy.
Where to Find it
Glutamine supplements can be found easily in capsule, powder, liquid or tablet form in a supermarket or a pharmacy. Sometimes, glutamine is part of an overall protein formula. The usual dose is about 500 mg per table taken one to three times per day. Glutamine shouldn’t be put into hot drinks because heat will destroy it and should be avoided by people who have liver or kidney disorders or suffer from Reyes syndrome.
People can get glutamine from pork, poultry, beef and dairy products, including ricotta and cottage cheese, yogurt and milk. Glutamine can also be found in cabbage, vegetable juices, raw parsley, wheat, beets and spinach.
Looking for your glutamine fix? Then try this amazing frying cheese! [recipe here]
How do you get your glutamine on? Share in the comments below!