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L-glutamine is an amino acid found in the human body. Amino acids are used in building proteins the body needs for survival, good health, and proper function. In fact, this amino acid is present in higher amounts than any other amino acid in the human body. It is important for muscle metabolism and for cells of the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, and immune system.
The muscles of the body play host to much of the body’s L-glutamine. This amino acid is critical in body building, as it helps to maintain good muscle health and assist with building muscle. When the body needs to boost the immune system, however, it takes the L-glutamine it needs from the muscles.
Many people take L-glutamine as a supplement. It may be used to help improve or support a person’s immune system, for example. When used for this purpose, it may improve the human body’s production of white blood cells, which are critical for fighting off infections and other things that cause illness and disease, including certain microorganisms.
Interestingly, a person’s stores of this amino acid may be depleted when he is sick or under a great deal of stress. This is, however, a time when it’s also most needed to help maintain the immune system and gastrointestinal tract. During times of stress, including that caused by illness, the body may deplete the L-glutamine that is normally used for the maintenance of muscle.
Some people also use L-glutamine supplements to help improve their thinking processes and memory. This is because the amino acid plays an important role in neurotransmitter creation. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help to send signals through the body and brain. This amino acid also assists in the maintenance of blood sugar at levels that are necessary for healthy, normal brain processes. Supplementing with this amino acid is even said to help improve a person’s ability to solve problems that require a lot of thought.
Normally, L-glutamine is considered a non-essential amino acid. This doesn’t mean it is unimportant for the body, however. Instead, it means the body can produce it on its own, deriving it from glutamic acid. When the body's stores are depleted, however, such as during times of physical or mental stress, the body’s need for it may outpace its production. During such times, a person may boost his stores of it by consuming beans, nuts, fish, and red meats or by taking a supplement.
L-glutamine supplements are typically well tolerated in minimal dosages. When people consume high doses, side effects may occur. Among the possible side effects are stomach upset, depression, and body aches.
Really good article. I use L Glutamine in my training.
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