What are L-Glutamine benefits? L-glutamine is one of the many (around 22) amino acids that form different proteins. On its own, as a supplement, it has many exceedingly wonderful benefits for the body; especially the digestive tract. Glutamine is one of the most highly distributed amino acids in our bloodstream. In a healthy individual, it is in circulation in our bloodstream in levels that are 3-4 times higher than any other amino acid! That should tell us that is indeed an important nutrient.
L-Glutamine benefits for the digestive tract
If an individual has been suffering from different digestive disorders or even digestive discomfort for a long period of time, L-glutamine can be beneficial. It is actually the main power source for the cells in the digestive lining.
It can help increase the growth rate of the cells as well as the absorptive quality of the cells at the lining. This means that it can help heal your intestinal lining faster and help you increase the number of nutrients you are absorbing from your food!
Both very important and beneficial roles! A deficiency in L-glutamine can do the exact opposite, vastly reducing the absorptive quality of the intestinal cells and also reducing the intestinal immune defense.
This can leave your digestive tract weak to pathogens and undesirable bacteria. Once these pathogens start to proliferate, even more, the damage is caused; weakening the intestinal lining and leaving the individual susceptible to increased allergies and possible autoimmune reactions.
Conditions like inflammatory bowel disorders (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, etc.) can show improvement with a higher intake of L-glutamine. It can help heal the damaged mucosa (which is the protective, mucous layer lining the intestines) while stimulating regeneration of the damaged cells. For conditions such as this, essential fatty acids (EFAs) would also be very beneficial to reduce the rate of inflammation in the colon, as well as the rest of the body.
L-Glutamine and brain function
L-glutamine, as well as glutamate, are neurotransmitters in the brain. This means that they are the substances which relay chemical messages between neurons in the brain. There are three neurotransmitters which stimulate, calm and modulate activity in the brain.
Glutamate stimulates the brain’s activity, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) calms the brain’s activity and glutamine helps to modulate these two (balancing the levels of stimulus and inhibitory action).
Glutamine is 3-4 times more concentrated in the blood than any other amino acid, but it is also 10-15 times more concentrated in the brain than any other amino acid; and aside from glucose (the brain’s number one fuel source), can be a major fuel source for the brain
There are many different symptoms which L-glutamine can help alleviate, in regards to brain activity. Some of these are:
- foggy head or cloudiness
- memory loss
- irregular moods
- dwindling attention span
- loss of alertness
- problems with concentration
L-Glutamine and the acid/alkaline balance in the body
Our body has to maintain a very precise pH level, in our blood and throughout the body. We are extremely dynamic beings and our body works within very specific ranges. When the body becomes acidic, we lose important nutrients; either from the foods we eat or from our bones.
These minerals are leached out to help buffer the acidity of the blood. If the blood falls below 7.35 our bodies begin to fail, known as acidosis. In order to avoid this, our bodies are continually buffering the acids to keep the delicate balance.
We can supply our bodies with alkalizing foods (like fresh fruits and vegetables) which will supply our bodies with the minerals we need, instead of leaching minerals from us. These alkalizing foods are usually nutrient dense and are very important for our overall health. Foods that are generally acidic and leach minerals from us are foods high in proteins (especially animal proteins) and substances like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
L-glutamine is used in the kidneys to help offset these acidic tendencies. The more acidic our bodies are, the more our kidneys have to work, and the more L-glutamine our kidneys use.
Situations which seem to greatly increase the use of L-glutamine by the kidneys are:
- uncontrolled diabetes
- high levels of fluid and electrolyte losses (intense sports or exercise)
- kidney disorders
- drastic oxygen decrease
Other important roles
L-glutamine is also very important for protein metabolism, muscle function and muscle recovery, general wound healing, among other things. It is important for the synthesis of Glutathione, which is a very important nutrient used as an antioxidant in the liver. L-glutamine is also important for the synthesis of B3, which takes place in the liver. Overall, it is a key nutrient for the body and when supplemented, can be very helpful for many different conditions.
L-glutamine is most beneficial when supplemented at levels between 4000mg to 5000mg, one to three times daily (between 4g to 15g daily). For best results L-glutamine should be taken with pyridoxal-5-phosphate (a form of vitamin B6). There has been no evidence of L-glutamine toxicity, but it is recommended that supplemental L-glutamine be avoided during liver or kidney failure.