Glutamine

July 8, 2008

GlutamineGlutamine is an amino acid (a chemical building block) and is found in human blood, lungs and skeletal muscles.  It plays an important role in DNA and protein synthesis, immune response, and provides an alternate source of fuel to provide energy in the brain and the small intestine.  Glutamine is also the body’s nitrogen carrier.  It is not normally required in the diet, but when the body is stressed, for example due to an intensive training routine, the body requires glutamine from food or supplements.

Heavy training reduces glutamine stores in your body.  The reduced glutamine is a recipe for disaster, increasing athletes’ risk of illness and decreasing healing times.  This is because glutamine is essential for the proper functioning of your immune system.  Supplemental glutamine can prevent these problems.

Exercise also creates ammonia, a waste product.  Glutamine is used to remove your body’s excess ammonia.  Studies show that glutamine is effective in reducing exercise-induced ammonia in the body.

Athletes, such as marathon runners, who regularly use up their muscle glycogen supplies can also benefit from supplementing glutamine.  In clinical studies, the amount of glycogen accumulated in muscles was tripled after a glutamine infusion in individuals who had exercised strenuously.

As shown above, glutamine is a useful supplement for athletes, particularly those with heavy training schedules (like marathon runners) or bodybuilders.  It is available in powder, capsule, tablet, or liquid form.  Glutamine is a very safe supplement for athletes.

References:

Abcouwer, S. (2000). The effects of glutamine on immune cells [editorial]. Nutrition, 16 (1), 67-69.

Bassini-Cameron A, Monteiro A, Gomes A, Werneck-de-Castro JPS, Cameron L. Glutamine protects against increases in blood ammonia in football players in an exercise intensity-dependent way. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2008; 42(4): 60-266.

Bellows CF, J. B. (1999). Glutamine is essential for nitric oxide synthesis by murine macrophages.  J Surg Res., 86 (2), 213-219.

Castell LM, N. E. (1997). The effects of oral glutamine supplementation on athletes after prolonged, exhaustive exercise. Nutrition, 13, 738-742.

Neu J, D. V. (2002). Glutamine: clinical applications and mechanism of action. . Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 5 (1), 69-75.

Garlick PJ. Assessment of the safety of glutamine and other amino acids. Journal of Nutrition, 2001; 131(9):2556S-61S.

Stumvoll M, Perriello G, Meyer C, Gerich J. Role of glutamine in human carbohydrate metabolism in kidney and other tissues. Kidney International, 1999; 55:778–792.

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