Written by Angelo Sarro, B.S. in Health and Wellness
Picking the right supplement can be tricky; and understanding exactly what you’re getting from a supplement can be even trickier. Some keep it simple like our Grass Fed Whey Protein, while others boast all types of extras like amino acids. Glutamine is one of the most popular additions for exercise supplements, but an alarming amount of people aren’t even sure what exactly it can do for them.
What are amino acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and help with metabolism. There are 20 amino acids and each amino acid is determined by the sequence of bases in the gene that encodes that specific protein. The human body has the ability to naturally produce 10 of those 20 amino acids naturally. The other 10 amino acids must be supplied by food. When we fail to obtain 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, the amino acids that we cannot produce naturally, will result in a degeneration of the body’s proteins and muscles in order for the body to obtain the amino acid that is needed. The 10 amino acids that we can produce ourselves are alanine, asparagines, asparagines, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, proline, serine and tyrosine. (Dayhoff, 2003)
What is Glutamine?
L-Glutamine (Glutamine for short) makes up two-thirds of the muscle free amino acid pool. Our body is able to make glutamine on its own. It is a “conditionally essential amino acid.” This means that during the times of physical stress placed on the body we need glutamine from our diet to be able to maintain proper cellular functions. An example of this physical stress placed on the body is resistance training. (Barr, 2002)
What Else Can We Use Glutamine For?
People with certain medical conditions may live longer when taking glutamine. An example of this is Aids, which can be associated with muscle wasting. It may also replenish metabolic intermediates, also known as ATP (energy), which is important in situations where you are lacking carbohydrates. Some natural sources in which you can find glutamine are chicken, fish, cabbage, spinach, dairy products, tofu, lentils, beans, beets, peas and in our post-workout protein. (Barr, T Nation, 2002) (Cadman, 2018)
Glutamine for IBS
Glutamine can be used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The tissues that are found inside the small and large intestines use Glutamine as a fuel source in order to function. So how exactly does glutamine help your IBS? It works by protecting the mucous membrane of your intestines as well as your esophagus. The mucous membrane blocks bacterial infiltration during digestion as well as boosting immune cell activity in the gut. This helps prevent inflammation and infection, and may also soothe the intestinal tissue. Many may also benefit from reduction of intestinal spasms. (Cadman, 2018)
Glutamine for Muscles and Your Immune System
Glutamine supplementation for you could mean prevention of overtraining. It’s used as a fuel source in our body and helps support your immune system. Glutamine levels are lower post-exercise since its levels in the blood and muscle decrease during and post-exercise. This decrease is correlated with reduced levels of protein synthesis, so taking it post-workout would be when it would be beneficial for individuals. (Barr, T Nation, 2002)