Glutamine is one of the important amino acids found in the body. Although a person is able to independently produce it, a weakened immune system and nervous disorders can increase daily needs. In such cases, it is important to take care of additional sources of the substance.
In the human body, glutamine is the most common amino acid – it makes up almost 20 percent of the total number of substances in the group. More than 60 percent of body muscles are made from this amino acid. And considering that 19% of its composition is nitrogen, being the main supplier of nitrogen compounds.
Our body uses glutamine to create proteins, the so-called amino sugars, which, in turn, are necessary to combat osteoarthritis. Also important for the production of the antioxidant glutathione.
It is proved that glutamine positively affects the growth process, supports the immune system. And the ability to beneficially influence muscle tissue makes it an extremely popular supplement to sports nutrition among bodybuilders. And the “talent” of this amino acid to retain moisture in the tissues is used by bodybuilders to maintain muscle volume and relief. In addition, glutamine prevents muscle catabolism and helps the body recover more quickly during sleep. With antioxidant properties, glutamine protects humans from free radicals and also prevents degenerative neurological diseases, in particular Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But when the body is attacked by infections or is recovering from injuries, the concentration of glutamine decreases almost 2 times, causing symptoms of chronic fatigue.
Glutamine and glutamic acid: what is the difference
By acting on the nervous system, glutamine is able to transform itself into glutamic acid, a neurotransmitter, and then, if necessary, again into glutamine. But despite the similarity of the names, it is important to understand the difference between these two amino acids.
Glutamine is an amino acid whose maximum concentration is found in the brain and spinal cord, plasma, as well as in the fluid compound muscles.
This substance regulates the balance of alkali and acids, contributes to the development of new cells, thereby preventing early aging. With a lack of glutamine, the tissues are destroyed, and the body begins to draw muscle proteins.
Glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter amino acid belonging to the class of replaceable. It is responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses, affects the work of the central nervous system. It has psychostimulating and stimulating properties. If there is a need to maintain, restore physical strength, build muscle, then glutamine should be introduced into the diet, and glutamic acid is important for mental health.
Glutamine and …
Argued that glutamine has anti-cancer properties. Clinical experiments have shown that taking an amino acid as an additive can slow tumor growth and significantly improve metabolism. In addition, glutamine accelerates cell renewal and strengthens the immune system, which is of particular importance after chemotherapy, as well as for people with radiation sickness.
Meanwhile, another group of scientists advocates a completely opposite opinion. They believe that glutamine on the contrary stimulates the growth of tumors, therefore, people with cancer, as well as people at risk are advised to avoid glutamine. A similar recommendation exists for people with diseased kidneys.
…the immune system
The immune system of the human body can be compared to a moving car: it, like a car, constantly needs fuel. And glutamine is just the same element that supplies this fuel to immunity. Stress, increased physical activity, certain diseases, surgeries and injuries can provoke excessive amounts of the hormone cortisol. An excess of cortisol depletes glutamine. The lack of amino acids in turn affects the performance of lymphocytes, which affect the functionality of the immune system.
Studies show that maintaining this beneficial amino acid in the required amount strengthens the immune system, prevents a number of diseases, helps speed wound healing, and even reduces the risk of death in critical conditions.
This substance is also useful for people with intestinal diseases, as it helps protect the mucous membrane of the digestive tract and restore its integrity. Autoimmune bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, almost always affect the efficiency of the use of vitamins and nutrients derived from food. Glutamine (calculated as 0,5 g per 1 kg of weight) is able to correct the permeability of the intestinal walls (when food particles, instead of remaining inside the digestive tract, leak through the walls and enter the bloodstream), thereby improving the functioning of the entire body. In addition, glutamine is effective in ulcers, diarrhea, reduces the risk of stomach cancer.
Other benefits of glutamine:
- prevents muscle breakdown;
- maintains cell volume (due to moisture retention);
- accelerates the recovery of the skin after burns or other damage;
- accelerates the production of growth hormone (studies have shown that daily consumption of glutamine in 2 g accelerates growth in 4 times);
- promotes ulcer healing (taking 1,5 g of a substance over 4 weeks accelerates healing by 90 percent);
- as a neurotransmitter, improves memory and concentration;
- restores endurance after exercise;
- promotes detoxification at the cell level;
- reduces cravings for sweets and alcohol.
There are various theories about what time of day it is better to take glutamine. Most scientists agree that morning and evening are ideal for taking the drug. Using the substance 5 g twice a day will significantly strengthen the immune system. Bodybuilders whose goal is to build muscle mass can increase this dose 2 times.
Danger of scarcity
The concentration of glutamine in the blood exceeds the amount of any other amino acid (approximately 500-900 micromoles per liter of blood), and its deficiency can manifest serious health consequences.
Amino acid deficiency is usually diagnosed in people with impaired metabolism. Also a sharp decrease in the level of a substance in the body is promoted by severe injuries, burns, and surgical operations. Even minor infections in the body can lead to a rapid depletion of glutamine.
Regular lack of substance is fraught with impaired functioning of the immune system. In addition, the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and other nutrients will decrease dramatically. Thus, glutamine deficiency is a total amino acid imbalance, a tendency to disease, and a deficiency in many beneficial elements. In such circumstances, it is worth thinking about taking the substance in the form of dietary supplements.
Incorrect consumption of glutamine supplements can cause unpleasant consequences. Among the most frequent side effects are swelling, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, stomach pain, constipation, dry mouth. There is information about depressive conditions, allergic rashes, insomnia and muscle pain caused by an overdose of glutamine.
The recommended minimum dose of glutamine is approximately 10 g per day.
But in some circumstances, this rate may be increased. Most amino acids are needed by athletes (especially during competitions), people with kidney or liver disease, during chemotherapy. Persons from these categories can take even 40 g of substance per day. In such cases, they resort to food additives, since it is almost impossible to provide such a high dose of amino acids exclusively from food products. Meanwhile, healthy people will be enough food sources of glutamine.
Choosing foods rich in amino acids, it is worth considering that it quickly collapses under the influence of high temperature. It also loses its abilities if products are stored in direct sunlight.
As already noted, the body is able to independently synthesize glutamine, but if this is not enough, it is important to take care of the right diet. Glutamine can be obtained from protein foods of animal origin. Most stocks in meat and dairy products. Among plant foods, preference is given to beans, raw spinach, parsley, cabbage. Replenish the substance can be from broths, cabbage, cottage cheese, asparagus, broccoli, fish, deer, turkey. Different types of cheese and cottage cheese are among the best sources of glutamine. There is a little less substance in milk and yogurt. Some stocks are found in vegetable juices.
Glutamine is a universal amino acid. With its lack of immunity weakens and problems with digestion. The quality of antioxidant production of glutathione and the level of protection against free radicals depends on its concentration in the body. This substance is undoubtedly an important component of bodybuilding nutrition. But glutamine is no less important for ordinary people. Want to regulate metabolism? Suffering from diseases of the digestive tract? Need to strengthen your immune system? All these problems are easily solved with the help of amino acids. And if everything else needs to help build muscle, glutamine should be part of the daily diet.