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Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid in the body that plays a major role in synthesizing the protein content. It is one of the twenty nonessential amino acids and is present in abundant quantities in the body. The body produces this amino acid to act as a fuel for muscles. Skeletal muscles contain the highest intracellular concentration of glutamine, having up to 60 percent of entire body's glutamine stores and remaining amounts of Glutamine is produced by lungs, liver, brain and stomach tissue. L- Glutamine is especially beneficial for the body builders and those on the rigorous workouts as it is known to enhance the protein absorption in the body. Our body can produce sufficient Glutamine required by the body. But if the body is under stress, either due to the rigorous and extended workout or conditions like surgery, trauma, HIV, cancer, glutamine levels may deplete. In such cases Glutamine can be provided in form of supplements rather than depending only on glutamine produced by body or from diet.

Glutamine benefits

Glutamine prevents muscle deterioration and helps to build lean muscle mass. Besides muscle repair through protein metabolism, Glutamine transports nitrogen to all parts of the body and helps in cell generation. It also removes unwanted ammonia, a waste product, out of the body. Thus Glutamine detoxifies the body and regulates the acid-base balance. Glutamine strengthens the gut lining and restores gut health. Glutamine boosts the cell volume of the digestive tract and thus prevents gastrointestinal disorders. Glutamine also allows the body to absorb water effectively and thus keeps the body hydrated all through.

Glutamine benefits cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. It helps in reversing the side effects of such treatment by preventing toxic build-up. Even patients with catabolic illnesses like burns, bone marrow transplantation, severe infection and intestinal inflammation have benefited by taking Glutamine supplements. These conditions release a hormone called cortisol which in turn decreases the Glutamine levels in the body. Depleted Glutamine means extended recovery period, hence the supplementation is normally advised in such cases. Glutamine stimulates the release of the growth hormone in the body. Glutamine changes into citruline in small intestines and citruline helps in synthesizing Arginine amino acid which plays a major role in releasing growth hormone.

Glutamine side effects

Glutamine offers various benefits which help our body to function effectively. However, it can also produce few negative side effects, especially in case of over dosage.

1. Excess intake of Glutamine may cause nausea and stomach ache in some individuals.
2. People with mania should avoid Glutamine supplements as it is known to cause some mental disturbances.
3. There is a serious claim that Glutamine can actually increase the size of the tumor in cancer patients.
4. Diabetes patients should be cautious while taking Glutamine may metabolize the glutamate at increasing rate.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are building blocks of protein and hence muscle tissue. Amino Acids are organic compounds consisting of an amino group and an acidic carboxyl group. They command the energy we have, the speed of recovery, weight loss and memory functions of the brain. Amino acids are critical for repairing organs, muscles, nails, skin, hair, ligaments and glands. It is amino acids that facilitate effective functioning of vitamins and minerals and maintaining metabolic activity.

The specific characteristics of each amino acid is derived from its side chain that lends it a unique role in a protein structure. The 20 amino acids are further classified as essential and non-essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids are those that cannot be made by the body and hence must be obtained from food.

  1. Arginine
  2. Isoleucine
  3. Histidine
  4. Leucine
  5. Methionine
  6. Lysine
  7. Phenylalanine
  8. Tryptophan
  9. Threonine
  10. Valine

Non-Essential Amino Acids are those that can be produced by the body from other amino acids. They can be synthesized from metabolic intermediates.

  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine

There are other Amino acids like Taurine which is an essential conditional amino acid so important for the development of brain tissue as well as being the key part of bile.

Amino Acid Deficiencies : Congenital enzyme deficiencies affecting amino acid metabolism may result in Aminoaciduria - a condition where the patient's urine has abnormal presence of amino acids. A genetic error in metabolizing phenylalanine amino acid causes Phenylketonuria (PKU).

Blood plasma screening tests and urine tests may help to determine the amino acid metabolism disorders such as:

  • Tyrosinosis (metabolic disorder arising out of abnormal plasma L-tyrosine level)
  • Histidinemia (metabolic disorder due to abnormal levels of histidine)
  • Histidinuria (histidine transport deficiency)
  • Hypervalinemia (disorder due to elevated levels of Valine, an amino acid, possibly owing to the deficiency of the enzyme valine transaminase)
  • Hyperprolinemia (elevated blood levels of proline amino acid)
  • Cystinuria (cystine in the urine)
  • Homocystinuria (disorder due to methionine metabolism or Cystathionine Beta Synthase Deficiency)
  • Phenylketonuria.

Tags: #Glutamine #Amino Acids
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: June 14, 2024