What Is Glutamine?

Glutamine is an amino acid. If you don’t know what that means, the first thing to learn is that amino acids are special proteins. Amino acids are especially important from a fitness/bodybuilding standpoint because of the fact that they play a crucial role in the conversion of protein to muscle. Glutamine is very abundant in the human body, especially in the bloodstream.

Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that your body can produce this amino acid from other materials. In this case, “non-essential” means that you don’t actually need to supplement this amino. That being said, glutamine fulfills some very important functions in the human body, and a little supplementation can improve these functions.

Benefits And Uses Of Glutamine

Glutamine, as we told you before, is not an essential amino acid. However, it is a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that it is necessary to supplement, but only in certain conditions. For instance, the body tends to need more Glutamine when it is stressed in some way.

Immune System Enhancement

Because Glutamine plays a role in the functioning of the immune system, supplementation can be very beneficial for those with compromised immune systems. There are a variety of chronic illnesses that can reduce the efficacy of the immune system, making Glutamine supplementation necessary.

After looking at this study, we think that Glutamine may be even more important to the functioning of the immune system than we thought. As you can see, Glutamine is a crucial source of fuel for the cells that make up the immune system. Thus, Glutamine supplementation was proven to increase healing across the board. The enhanced level of healing was observed in reaction to both illnesses and injuries.

Like all amino acids, Glutamine is a building block that your body uses to make other things. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that the immune system uses this particular building block in a very significant way.

Intestinal Health

Glutamine plays a somewhat important role in the health of the gut as well. This factor is partly related to its role as a fuel source for immune cells. Immune cells are particularly important in the intestines, as they are involved in the disposal of human waste.

There is also evidence to show that Glutamine is used by the body to strengthen and repair the walls of the gut. The stomach and the intestines have a membrane that seals them off from the rest of the body. This is called the gastrointestinal mucosal epithelium, but you can just call it the lining of the gut if that is too much to remember.

When this lining isn’t strong enough, it leads to a condition called “leaky gut.” This condition is not quite as bad as it may sound, but it is still quite problematic. When your gut lining is weak, it is much easier for bacteria and other toxins to pass through and infect other parts of your body. Normally, your body uses the intestines to evacuate nasty by-products from the digestion of food. Obviously, a permeable lining will partially defeat that purpose.

Other Uses

Apart from these two primary functions, Glutamine also serves a number of lesser functions in the body, including:

  • Lipid synthesis
  • Ammonium production in the kidneys
  • Energy source for various cells
  • Carbon and nitrogen donation for certain anabolic processes
  • Precursor for the manufacture of Glutamate

Does Glutamine Affect Muscle Growth?

Because of the fact that Glutamine is an amino acid, one would expect it to play some role in muscle-building. This would make sense, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. For instance, take a look at this study here.

A group of 31 subjects was given either Glutamine or a placebo on a daily basis. The study lasted for six weeks, during which time all the test subjects were engaged in resistance training. After the end of the test period, no significant difference was observed between the two groups. There was a very slight difference in favor of the Glutamine, but not large enough to warrant supplementation for this purpose.

What Are The Best Sources Of Glutamine?

Glutamine is not particularly hard to find in a healthy diet. Foods that are high in Glutamine include:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • All dairy products
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Peas

Safety And Side Effects

Under normal circumstances, there is no reason to worry about safety or side effects. This is something that is normally present in your body, and in large amounts. As such, you would really need to take a huge dose in order to see any negative effects.

If you need an idea of where to draw the line, consider this study. It shows that dosages of 14 grams per day were perfectly safe. The subjects in the resistance training study cited above took a much larger dose of 45 grams a day over the course of six weeks.

If you have a tumor or anything like it, you should definitely avoid Glutamine. Research shows that tumors can feed on Glutamine, helping them to grow larger and more dangerous. The same qualities that make Glutamine an ideal fuel source for immune cells will also make it an ideal fuel source for some malignant cells.


It is obvious that Glutamine is one of the better health supplements that you can use. We say this because it offers both well-proven benefits and a very high safety factor. In fact, we were not able to find a single case in which Glutamate supplementation caused a problem unless those involved suffered from abnormal health conditions.

There are certain diseases, such as Huntington’s disease, which can create an excess of Glutamate in the body leading to toxicity. Under these circumstances, more Glutamine is the last thing in the world your body needs. As we mentioned earlier, glutamine can also be food for tumors. However, unless you are afflicted with one of these conditions, it seems to be completely safe. Besides, who doesn’t want to heal faster? If you have enjoyed this article, please follow us on Facebook using the link below.

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