Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the blood and is involved in the production of both glutathione, one of the body’s most important antioxidants, and proteins.
Athletes and weight lifters often take this amino acid to hasten the repair of tissues that break down during intense exercise because it promotes tissue regeneration.
Providing fuel for the mucosal and immune cells in the small intestine is one of the most important functions of glutamine. When you supplement your diet with glutamine, it boosts immunity and improves gastrointestinal health by stimulating the growth of new mucosal cells, prevents leaky gut and enhances the integrity of the intestinal tract.
Glutamine is useful for patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, because it reduces the common gastrointestinal side effects associated with these therapies.
Because glutamine stimulates immune cell function and reduces the risk of infection by preventing bacterial translocations from the gut it is very helpful for patients who have undergone surgery or injury.
Abundant in the brain and one of the few things that can serve as a fuel for the brain in the absence of glucose, glutamine also helps stabilise blood sugars and is particularly useful in fending off hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
Glutamine decreases sugar and alcohol cravings, probably due to its stabilising effect on blood sugar.
Your immune system is most active when you sleep, so it is a good time to fuel up the immune cells in the intestines and to boost glutathione levels.
An Australian study published in the July 2011 issue of the “Journal of Nutrition” found that glutamine reduces blood sugar spikes after meals in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Glutamine stimulates secretion of a compound that helps regulate your body’s insulin levels.
In the study, participants took glutamine and then ate a low-fat meal. Results showed glutamine improved insulin levels shortly following the meal and after 180 minutes.
Researchers concluded that glutamine may be useful for controlling insulin and glucose levels after meals.