What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is an amino acid that belongs to the group of non-essential amino acids as our body can synthesize it endogenously on its own. Glutamine is the most abundant and flexible amino acid in the body while most of it is stored in the muscles. It serves as fuel for cells of the immune system while its consumption by the body is an important indicator (similar to glucose) for the state of health. In cases of injuries, burns, recovery from surgery, exhaustion of athletes from exercise, where the glutamine reserves in the body are depleted, doctors give a glutamine supplement. In addition to the muscular, immune, and nervous system, glutamine also plays an important role in the intestinal system.
Why athletes love 💙 Glutamine
Glutamine like any amino acid is the basic building block of proteins. It is an amino acid that is produced and consumed by various tissues and organs in the body constantly.
When the body is in a catabolic state such as illness, injury, burn, sepsis, surgery, strenuous exercise, the glutamine that is produced endogenously is not enough to meet the needs of our body. Because in these cases, glutamine is drawn from the muscles by deconstructing them, glutamine is a well-known supplement to athletes and bodybuilders as it protects the muscles from loss, helps in recovery, reduces the feeling of soreness after intense workouts, and strengthens the Athletes’ immune system.
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The glutamine mechanism in muscles
Muscles are composed of 60% glutamine
Glutamine circulates in the blood
Immune cells are supplied with glutamine
The brain, intestine, and cells of the body use glutamine
The body does not use muscle glutamine
Catabolic state (illness, intense exercise)
The immune system is activated to cope
Most immune cells now require more glutamine
Muscles 💪 as the largest storage of glutamine in the body "break down" to give the necessary glutamine
The body is in a catabolic state
In such cases, by taking a glutamine supplement, we reverse the catabolic state, protecting one of its basic stores, namely our muscles. For this reason, it has been suggested by the scientific community that glutamine should not be considered a “non-essential” amino acid but under conditions necessary.
Organs & systems where Glutamine is involved
Skeletal muscle is made up of 60% Glutamine, making it the body's largest store of glutamine.
The lungs consume and release glutamine. In catabolic state, the lungs release large amounts of glutamine.
The liver is the second largest store after skeletal muscle, but this only applies in healthy conditions. In catabolic state the liver only consumes glutamine in order to cope.
Glutamine is the fuel of the immune system. Almost all immune cells rely on glutamine to function properly.
Both the small and large intestines are able to metabolize large amounts of glutamine provided by both diet and / or blood circulation. Glutamine for the intestine is quantitatively more important than glucose as an energy substrate.
The brain uses glutamine as a substrate for neurotransmitters and as an energy source for the nervous system. The supply of glutamine to the brain depends mainly on the availability of glutamine in the blood plasma.
Foods Sources of Glutamine
A balanced diet provides enough glutamine and essential amino acids for the body under normal conditions. Foods rich in glutamine are meat, milk, eggs, soy. Red cabbage, rice, corn, and green leafy vegetables follow with smaller amounts of glutamine. On average, the glutamine we need from our diet is 3-6 grams per day.
Quantity: 100 gr
Glutamine: 1.2 gr
Calories: 250 kcal
Quantity: 2 medium (100gr)
Glutamine: 0.6 gr
Calories: 120 kcal
Glutamine: 0.6 gr
Calories: 80 kcal
Glutamine: 0.4 gr
Calories: 100 kcal
Glutamine: 0.3 gr
Calories: 45 kcal
Glutamine: 0.2 gr
Calories: 25 kcal
Glutamine as an anti-fatigue amino acid in sports nutrition
In a 2019 study, they combined and analyzed data from 55 studies on the effect of glutamine on athlete fatigue. Most of these studies have found that glutamine:
- Significantly improves some fatigue marks like increasing glycogen synthesis and reducing ammonia accumulation
- But glutamine had no effect on athletic performance
Fatigue is defined as the inability to maintain endurance and strength, reducing physical performance. The main causes of fatigue are:
- accumulation of protons in the muscle cell
- depletion of energy sources (eg phosphocreatine and glycogen)
- accumulation of ammonia in the blood and tissues
- oxidative stress
- muscle damage
- and changes in the composition of neurotransmitters (such as an increase in serotonin and a decrease in dopamine)
Researchers believe that glutamine could delay fatigue through a variety of mechanisms:
- Glutamine is one of the most abundant glycogenic amino acids in humans and animals, which has a significant influence on Krebs cycle replenishment and gluconeogenesis through the activation of glycogen synthase
- glutamine is considered to be a direct stimulant of glycogen synthesis
- this amino acid is the major non-toxic carrier of ammonia, preventing the accumulation of this metabolite
- Glutamine prevents muscle damage and is considered an indirect antioxidant by stimulating glutathione synthesis