What is Glutamine, and why does our body need it?
Glutamine is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Glutamine is not one of the essential amino acids that has to be consumed through the diet as it can be produced by the body; although levels of production can often slow down with age.
Our bodies’ demand for Glutamine increases during times of physical and mental stress, so there are times when the body’s need for it outweighs our ability to produce it. It can become conditionally essential, meaning that it needs to be consumed through the diet, such as during times of injury or illness. This is why some people may often choose to supplement with it for optimal health. Keen exercisers commonly supplement with glutamine beforehand as this can help to retain the body’s levels at times of endurance. Levels can be greatly depleted in the body during the physical stress of intense training.
It has been found that the small intestines in your body require the most Glutamine, meaning it plays a key role in intestinal health and maintaining a healthy digestive system. It helps to maintain the integrity of the intestinal barrier, essential for the absorption of nutrients and optimal health, and for preventing harmful bacteria or toxins from moving from your intestines into the rest of your body.
Intestinal health is closely linked to the immune system, and Glutamine is important as an energy source for critical processes that strengthen the immune system.
Scientific research suggests the function of the immune system can be compromised when glutamine supply is insufficient, additionally if the body needs a greater level of this amino acid than it can produce, then the body may break down protein stores such as muscle to release more of it.
Some studies in animals that were infected with bacteria or viruses have shown that glutamine supplementation may improve the immune function.
Glutamine is naturally found in a variety of foods, particularly meat and animal products. As plant food sources often have low overall protein contents it can prove difficult for vegans or vegetarians to consume high amounts of it. Concentrating on getting enough overall protein into your diet is the easiest way to potentially increase the amount of Glutamine you are consuming on a daily basis. For those who may struggle supplements are a good option. Hellenia’s L-Glutamine Powder which is suitable for vegetarians and vegans is an easy and convenient way to increase your intake, just mix with food or water.
As always with any new supplement it is advisable to consult with your doctor or a health care professional before introducing it to your diet.
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