Glutamine: an amino acid that can offer huge health benefits

Posted on June 6, 2010


I am non-Celiac gluten sensitive. It means I don’t have Celiac disease, but absolutely should not eat gluten if I want to live to my full life expectancy, as a happy, healthy, fit person. There’s a 1 in 33 chance you, yes YOU, are also non-Celiac gluten sensitive, and a 1 in 133 chance you’re a full-blown Celiac. Whether you are or not, glutamine is a supplement you should know about. Read on, then consider if this supplement is right for you. And if you’re an athlete? There may be a big impact on improved recovery & muscle growth with this supplement.

Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning your body can make it itself, whereas other amino acids you must take in through your diet because your body cannot produce it. Recently, it has been classified as a conditionally essential amino acid, which means that even though the body can produce it, if there is a time of extreme stress, the body’s demands exceed the rate at which the body can produce it & depletion occurs, requiring supplementation to support the body’s needs.

Glutamine is involved in more metabolic pathways than any other amino acid. It converts to glucose, which is required for energy. It helps to manage blood glucose levels as well as the correct pH level in the body (which is critical to health!). It serves as a fuel source for cells of the intestinal lining, that without it, those cells waste away making digestion & nutrient absorption challenging. It is also the base of the building blocks for DNA & RNA synthesis.

So to summarize that paragraph: Your body uses glutamine to *have energy for daily & workout function *control blood sugar spikes & drops, which affect how much fat you store & if you develop diabetes *keep your pH in a range that does not cause disease, breakdown & sickness *help your body use the nutrients from the food you eat & keep the place where 80% of your immune system is stored (in your gut) healthy & *to upkeep the very things that make up who you are.

Glutamine also plays a role in helping the body to secrete HGH (human growth hormone) – which helps the body metabolize fat & support new muscle growth. And supplementation of glutamine can help in the treatment of arthritis, autoimmune diseases, fibrosis, intestinal disorders – and can play a big role in helping people to not waste away when they are going through treatments for critical health issues like cancer & AIDS.

When you are in good health, your gut lining is strong & functioning as God intended it- absorbing nutrients, digesting & eliminating the foods we take in. When your gut health is compromised, which antibiotics, the Pill, poor nutrition, extreme stress, medical treatments, lack of breast milk received as a newborn, and many more things can cause – your body lacks a major player in the key to optimal health. Glutamine plays a big role in helping the gut to heal if it is damaged & remain strong, especially if you’re someone like me, who already has an altered gut due to almost 3 decades of gluten intolerance that I didn’t know about & ate a gluten-filled diet that was damaging my gut the entire time.

Glutamine has many benefits for optimal health, but, if you are hyper-sensitive to MSG, you should use glutamine supplementation with caution as glutamine metabolizes in the body into glutamate. So if you have physical reactions to MSG in food, give due diligence before starting to supplement with glutamine. MSG & glutamate as metabolized from glutamine are NOT the same thing – MSG is a chemical compound that scientists still don’t really understand other than that it can make any food taste more like that food. MSG is EXTREMELY dangerous to consume regularly. Glutamate as the metabolized form of glutamine is simply what the body does to this amino acid to make it readily available for use within the body.

Glutamine is just one supplement that may help you to move closer to optimal health. Our diets today are so nutrient deficient, even in fruits & vegetables if they are not organic, and we’ve done such damage to them from living an unhealthful life at some point in our lives or from taking antibiotics, that we all need to consider supplementation to help us return to optimal health. We should not rely on them as something we need forever, as your supplement profile should change as your health changes, but you should explore supplements as an added benefit to your health plan.

Consult with your naturopath before beginning a program (I’d say doctor, but to be honest, very few doctors understand supplements in a natural or holistic way so you’d probably be met with the answer “you don’t need that” if you talk to them).