Glutamine: What is it and how does it improve health and fitness performance?
Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in your muscles, making up over 60% of your skeletal muscle fibres. It is also one of only a small number of amino acids which are able to easily cross the blood-brain barrier.
It consists of about 19% nitrogen, making glutamine one of the primary transporters of nitrogen and carbon to the different cells in your body, including your muscle cells.
Your skeletal muscles rely on the transport of nitrogen in order to improve:
- Recovery periods.
As glutamine traverses through the body throughout the day, it also plays key roles in supporting your immune and digestive health, which is especially important during times where your body is under stress.
During intense training sessions or while you are sick, your levels of glutamine drop significantly and can take up to 6 days to restore naturally.
The problem with this is that when glutamine levels are lowered, your body begins to struggle with rebuilding and repairing muscle fibres, as well as maintaining a strong immune system, nervous system and digestive health.
Glutamine is also essential in the process of removing excess of toxins, such as ammonia from the body. This, in turn, helps prevent fatigue and increases performance and endurance when participating in long periods of cardiovascular exercise.
This is why Glutamine supplementation can help all of these areas:
- Energy and endurance
- Muscle recovery and growth
- Immune Function
- Digestive Health
- Focus and motivation
Glutamine is classified as a non-essential amino acid because your body is able to synthesise it itself, from another amino acid called glutamic acid.
So you can get glutamine from foods rich in protein such as red meats, beans, nuts and fish are an excellent natural source of glutamine that can be easily added to your diet. However, the average daily diet only consists of around 6 grams of glutamine!
This is why many people include glutamine supplementation in their diet, especially athletes, bodybuilders or people who are frequently unwell or dealing with chronic illness.
If you'd like to learn more about other types of supplements visit "Supplements the basics."