Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It is made in the muscles and transferred through the blood to various organ systems.
Known as a type of amino acid, glutamine is consumed by athletes as a dietary supplement with various benefits. So if we take a closer look, what is glutamine? What does it do? What are the advantages and disadvantages? You will find the answers to all these questions in our article.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is an amino acid that has several functions in the human body. It is involved in the synthesis of proteins needed to build and repair tissues in the body.
Glutamine makes up about 61% of muscles. It contains 19% nitrogen in glutamine and acts as the main source of nitrogen transport to muscle cells. It participates in the transport of substances in the blood. Glutamine is also involved in the fight against harmful viruses and bacteria that are absorbed into the body. Under normal circumstances, the body can synthesize the glutamine it needs.
But especially when it comes to athletes, glutamine, Since it provides tissue repair, it can be expressed as a type of protein that needs to be absorbed into the body on a regular basis.
What does glutamine do, what is it used for?
Glutamine is an amino acid that has several functions in the human body. Here are some of their major roles:
- Protein Synthesis: Glutamine is involved in the synthesis of proteins needed to build and repair tissues in the body.
- Immune system support: Glutamine helps support the immune system and may reduce the risk of infection, especially in people with weakened immune systems.
- Gut health: Glutamine is important for maintaining the health of the gut lining and supporting normal bowel function.
- Muscle mass: It plays a role in maintaining muscle mass, especially during times of stress, such as intense exercise or illness.
- Wound Healing: Glutamine may help speed up wound healing by promoting the growth of new tissue.
What Are the Benefits of Glutamine for Fitness?
Some of the potential benefits of glutamine for fitness include:
- Preserves muscle mass: Glutamine plays a role in maintaining muscle mass, especially during times of stress, such as intense exercise or illness. This can help prevent muscle loss and promote muscle growth.
- Boosts Athletic Performance: Some research has suggested that glutamine supplementation may improve athletic performance and reduce recovery time after intense exercise.
- Supports Healing: Glutamine can help reduce muscle soreness and support the recovery process after intense exercise.
- Strengthens the immune system: Intense physical activity can suppress the immune system, but glutamine supplementation may help support immune function and reduce the risk of infection.
- Prevents muscle wasting: Glutamine supplementation may help prevent muscle loss, especially in people with muscle wasting conditions such as cancer or AIDS.
What Are the Benefits of Glutamine?
- Fuel Source: Glutamine is a fuel source for our body, especially the brain.
- Removal of excess ammonia: It is the most abundant amino acid in our body. It helps remove excess ammonia from the system.
- Protein synthesis and muscle breakdown: Glutamine plays a key role in protein synthesis and protection against muscle burn (catabolism).
- nitrogen transport: It transports nitrogen where it is needed in the body. A positive nitrogen balance is an important criterion for building muscle and improving performance.
- Maintenance and repair: It supports the body’s declining glutamine levels, helps maintain glutamine levels in the body and in the body after metabolic stress such as exercise and illness.
- Refreshing function: Metabolic stress is one factor that increases the body’s need for glutamine. As glutamine stores decrease, the healing power of the body decreases in parallel. For this reason, glutamine supplements are being evaluated in many hospitals and patients for their regenerative properties in situations such as stress, trauma, and postoperatively.
- Growth Hormone & Glutamine Relationship: Growth hormone (GH), as a highly complex hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, is responsible for supporting new muscle building, metabolizing body fat, increasing sexual performance, memory and concentration. Glutamine improves the ability to secrete growth hormone.
- Relationship Between Brain And Glutamine: Glutamine, an amino acid found in high concentrations in the brain, serves as fuel for the brain’s two main neurotransmitters, glutamic acid and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It helps in the transport of nitrogen. It reduces the toxic buildup of ammonia in the brain.
It is an important fuel for the brain and provides enough energy to the brain when there is a glucose deficiency. In this way, it increases concentration, memory, mental state, interest and attention. In the fitness world, mental restraint and lack of concentration that can result from low-carb diets can be prevented and eliminated with glutamine supplementation.
Which product supplements are used with glutamine?
- BCAA: Combining BCAA and glutamine results in greater gains in muscle mass and performance. The first of two main reasons for this situation; Ammonia concentration and glutamine directly affect BCAA metabolism. The second main reason is that the mTOR signal from extracellular glutamine first needs BCAA. BCAA + Glutamine affects and increases performance, muscle building.
- Citrulline: Glutamine transports citrulline between tissues leading to the synthesis of arginine and NO. Taking glutamine with citrulline increases the way citrulline activates nitric oxide production. In this context, better oxygen and building materials are sent to the skeletal muscle. Muscles heal and grow faster.
- Alpha-Ketoglutarate: Like glutamine, aKG causes an increase in mTOR signaling. When glutamine is taken with aKG, it increases the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, along with muscle growth potential.
- Glucose or N-Acetylglucosamine: With a lack of glucose, it reduces the absorption of glutamine, negatively affects cell growth and life. If you’re on a low-carb diet, the supplemental glycoprotein N-acetylglucosamine (NAG) can restore glutamine absorption and metabolism, potentially increasing recovery and cell function.
What are the disadvantages (side effects) of glutamine?
- Digestive Symptoms: Some people may experience digestive symptoms, such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea, while taking high doses of glutamine.
- Allergic reactions: Rarely, some people may have an allergic reaction to glutamine, which can cause symptoms such as a rash, itching, or swelling.
- Drug Interactions: Glutamine can interact with some medications, such as antibiotics and anticonvulsants, so it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking glutamine if you’re taking any prescription medications.
- Aggravation of seizures: Taking high doses of glutamine in people with a history of seizures may make seizure activity worse.
It’s worth noting that these side effects are relatively rare and most people can take glutamine without experiencing any adverse effects. As with any supplement, it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before taking glutamine to determine the right approach for your individual needs.
Which foods contain glutamine?
Glutamine is an amino acid found in many foods, especially protein foods. Here are some foods high in glutamine:
- Meat, poultry and fish: Animal protein sources such as beef, chicken, turkey and fish are rich in glutamine.
- Dairy products: Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are also good sources of glutamine.
- legumes: Beans, lentils and peas are vegetable sources of glutamine.
- Eggs: Eggs are another good source of glutamine.
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts such as almonds and cashews, and seeds such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also sources of glutamine.
- Vegetables: Some vegetables, such as raw spinach and raw parsley, are also good sources of glutamine.
Glutamine is considered a supplementary food that may be especially necessary for athletes. Glutamine can be produced in our body and can be absorbed into the human body through food. For this reason, a conscious consumption pattern is advisable when deciding to consume glutamine supplements.