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Glutamine: Understanding the Basics of this Critical Amino Acid

Glutamine: Understanding the Basics of this Critical Amino Acid

Article At A Glance

Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that becomes essential during traumatic conditions like illness, injury, surgery, or exercise.

Glutamine has many potential benefits, including gut health, immune health, anti-inflammatory effects, and weight loss.

The recommended dosage of glutamine varies depending on individual goals, and side effects are minimal but may occur in some individuals.

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If you're considering purchasing Glutamine, you might find the topic of sports nutrition and supplementation overwhelming due to the numerous buzzwords and ingredients often discussed. However, Glutamine has recently gained attention due to its potential health benefits.

This article provides insight into the benefits of Glutamine, the recommended dosage and any possible side effects to be aware of. By the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of how Glutamine can support your fitness goals and overall health.

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that the body can produce it on its own. It is conditionally essential and required during traumatic conditions like illness, injury, surgery, or strenuous exercise.

 It is the most abundant amino acid in blood serum and tends to decrease in proportion to the acuteness of trauma to the body. Glutamine is in various foods but is most abundant in animal products due to its high protein content.

What this essentially means is, the more we exercise, the more we may need to supplement with Glutamine, rather than just relying on food sources.

Glutamine: The Core Benefits

So, what are the potential benefits of taking glutamine supplements? Here are some of the key takeaways:

  1. Gut health: Glutamine strengthens the intestinal barrier by reducing intestinal permeability, aiding tight junctions, and promoting enterocyte growth (cells that line the intestines). In short, it’s essential for healthy gut function.
  2. Immune health: Glutamine is the preferred source of fuel for enterocytes and lymphocytes, an essential cell of the immune system. This means without adequate Glutamine intake, we’re likely to get sicker more often during intense training.
  3. Inflammation: Glutamine may act as an anti-inflammatory agent by reducing interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-ɑ), and C-reactive protein levels. It may also help produce glutathione, the body's principal antioxidant.
  4. Weight loss: Glutamine may increase white blood cell counts and benefit weight reduction. This might mean that pairing Glutamine with your weight loss regime could help better reach those weight loss targets!

Fun Fact: Did you know Glutamine may also help with cravings? More about this here.

Recommended Dosage

The recommended dosage of Glutamine varies depending on the individual and their goals.

The standard dose of L-glutamine: 5-10g per day.

  • It is recommended to split the dosage into two or three smaller doses (2-3g) throughout the day, as the body can only absorb a certain amount of Glutamine at once.

Side Effects

Glutamine is considered safe for most people when taken at the recommended dosages. However, some individuals may experience side effects like nausea, stomach cramps, or diarrhea.

Those with kidney or liver disease should avoid glutamine supplements, as they may exacerbate these conditions. In recent studies, Glutamine is considered safe in doses up to 20 to 30 grams daily.

Summary

Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that may benefit athletes and those with increased stress on the body. Glutamine is considered safe for most people when taken at the recommended dosages, but those with kidney or liver disease should avoid supplementation.

As always, we recommend you consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your needs.

References

  • Axe, D. J. (2022, December 6). How L-glutamine benefits the gut, muscle mass and more. Dr. Axe. Retrieved May 8, 2023, from https://draxe.com/nutrition/l-glutamine-benefits-side-effects-dosage/
  • Examine.com. (2023, January 9). Glutamine health benefits, dosage, safety, side-effects, and more: Supplements. Examine. Retrieved May 8, 2023, from https://examine.com/supplements/glutamine/
  • Tinsley, G. (2018, January 13). Glutamine: Benefits, uses and side effects. Healthline. Retrieved May 8, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/glutamine#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6

 

Authors: 
Teigen Faux, Exercise Physiologist (Honours)

Reviewed:
Stephen Brumwell, Nutritionist (ANTA #40048) for Scientific Accuracy

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