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What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid (building block of protein). The body can create its own supply if the diet is lacking in glutamine-rich sources. Skeletal muscle contains the greatest intracellular concentration of glutamine and is considered the primary storage depot and exporter of glutamine to other tissues.

Glutamine levels are lowered by stress, illness, injury, burns, surgery, endurance exercise and in the overtrained athletes. In these cases, taking a glutamine supplement may be very helpful.

Gletamine functions

  • Glutamine plays a key role in the synthesis of protein.
  • Glutamine is important for removing excess ammonia (a waste product in the body).
  • Regulation of acid-base balance in the kidney.
  • Oxidative fuel for intestine and cells of the immune system
  • Glutamine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and the precursor for GABA, the anti-anxiety amino acid.

Health benefits

Glutamine is an excellent choice for workout recovery, muscle growth, strong immune system. Plus, it can help you get leaner.

Fat fighter

Evidence suggests that L-glutamine might facilitate weight loss by affecting the conversion and storage of calories. Glutamine supplementation may increase energy expenditure after eating by nearly 50%.

Glutamine has potential to disrupt how fat cells respond to insulin. In a study in which rodents were continually overfed, glutamine supplementation decreased fat storage and the amount of bodyfat accrued. Glutamine has the potential to both limit fat gain during a mass-building phase and increase fat-burning during a cutting cycle.

Muscle helper

Glutamine is primarily produced in the muscles and plays an important role in keeping them functioning normally. Glutamine indirectly promotes muscle growth by increasing the hydration state of muscle cells. It has been shown to increase growth-hormone, which acts on muscle tissue. Glutamine boosts protein synthesis, the mechanism by which muscle tissue grows.

Glutamine supplements can be hugely beneficial to bodybuilders.

Immune function

Glutamine is essential for proper immune function. Glutamine is required by the cells of the immune system both as a primary fuel and as a carbon and nitrogen donor for nucleotide precursor synthesis. Glutamine is essential for optimal immune cell functioning for monocytes, lymphocytes and neutrophils.

Recovery from illness or injury

The body requires glutamine in large amounts when recovering from illness or injury because glutamine supports immune cells.

Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn' s disease)

Glutamine is essential to the health and maintenance of the gastrointestinal tract. Glutamine supplementation improves gut barrier function, as well as immune activity in the gut. Conditions characterized by increased intestinal permeability that might benefit from glutamine supplementation include food allergies, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Glutamine serves as a prime source of energy for intestinal immune cells (lymphocyte-rich Peyer's patches) and mucosal cells. Intestinal epithelial cells contain very low levels of glutamine synthetase and hence are largely dependent on glutamine from the diet. If glutamine is lacking in the diet intestinal cells will take glutamine from the blood stream at the expense of muscle tissue, thus depleting the body's stores.


Glutamine is found in many foods high in protein, such as fish, meat, beans, and dairy products. Particularly high vegetable sources are cabbage and beets. Unfortunately, cooking can destroy glutamine, especially in vegetables.

Precautions & Side effects

  • Some people may experience headaches and other side effects with glutamine. In clinical trials, no toxic reactions were recorded at relatively high doses of 4 to 21 g a day.
  • Don not take glutamine supplements if you have any serious illness (such as kidney disease, liver disease, Reye's syndrome, autism, multiple sclerosis, stroke) or are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Never take glutamine for longer than three months unless you are under the direction for a doctor familiar with its use.


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April 10, 2020