It accounts for over 60% of the free amino acids in our blood, brain, organs, and muscle tissue. Glutamine therefore plays many key roles in the body. Not only does it convert itself into glucose when our bodies do not have enough glucose available, it is also crucial for immune function as it is a major source of fuel for our immune cells. Moreover, it regulates our nitrogen levels in times of stress and helps our gut function by bringing energy to our intestinal cells. Thus, it helps our digestion and limits our risk of developing intestinal issues. Glutamine also regulates the expression of various genes and activates many proteins in our system.  

 

Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid; therefore the body usually synthesizes sufficient amounts of it. However, in times of stress, our body’s demand for it increases. Glutamine can be found naturally in both plant and animal foods, but animal foods are the richest source. The foods with the highest amount of glutamine include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, cereals (e.g. wheat, oat), legumes (e.g. lentils, beans) and tofu.

 

Low levels of glutamine are associated with many symptoms, including decreased energy levels, and can increase the susceptibility for infection and negatively impact the activity of the gastrointestinal tract. Glutamine supplementation can help with a large array of conditions, but it should always be taken after talking to a healthcare provider.

 

Glutamine plays a role in protein synthesis and in supporting your immune system during times of stress, including during prolonged and intense physical exertion and high-intensity strength training. It is also a precursor of glutathione, an intracellular antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative damage. When glutamine reserves are depleted, you may experience a decrease in strength, endurance and recovery. However, as the famous saying goes: all in moderation. An excess of glutamine can also be harmful if taken in exceeding doses. Some side effects to too much glutamine can include nausea, vomiting, joint pains and hives. 

 

In conclusion, our glutamine levels impact many aspects of our mental and physical health. In order to make sure that your glutamine levels are balanced and steady, make sure to test your levels and to evaluate how you can make the right changes to rebalance your body and mind. 

 

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