What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is one of the 20 amino acids required by the human body, however it is not recognized as an essential amino acid as it is found naturally in the body. Glutamine is actually the most abundant free amino acid found in the body. It is primarily produced by the muscles and is delivered to the organs that need it via the bloodstream. There are however, situations in which glutamine becomes “conditionally essential” and it may be necessary to increase glutamine intake through diet or supplementation.
Biochemical Functions: What Does Glutamine Do?
• Responsible for protein synthesis (as all amino acids are).
• Regulates acid-base base balance in kidneys by producing ammonium
• Provides cellular energy when glucose is low and energy demands are high.
• Non-toxic transport of ammonia in circulation of blood.
• Nitrogen donation for several anabolic processes
• Is a source for carbon donation for refilling the citric acid cycle or Kreb’s cycle (series of chemical reactions that produce a compound that is loaded with energy, carbon dioxide and ATP).
Using Glutamine: When is it Conditionally Essential?
1. Catabolic conditions of illness or injury such as burns, trauma, treatment related side effects of cancer, and wound healing in post operative patients.
2. Extremely intensive exercise situations such as body building and endurance sports such as marathon running.
3. Those who need added support for gastrointestinal functioning, as it works to protect the lining of the mucosa or lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
What is the Difference Between L-Glutamine and Glutamine Peptides
L-Glutamine: this is glutamine in its free form. In other words, it is free from being bonded to other amino acids. Glutamine is less stable in this form. This form of glutamine is better tolerated than glutamine peptides, meaning it is said to cause less intestinal distress. In supplement form L-glutamine is said to be highly insoluble.
Supplements can be found in capsule, powder, and liquid form.
Glutamine Peptides: this is where glutamine amino acid is bonded to other amino acids with peptide bonds (a type of chemical bond). It is said that glutamine in this form is used by the body more easily and provides better transportation into the bloodstream and muscles where it is needed. It is also absorbed at double the rate of L-glutamine. Glutamine peptides are also more stable in the presence of heat and acidity.
Summing It Up
Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid in our body, however there are times it becomes a “conditionally essential” amino acid, meaning extra sources of glutamine need to be consumed to keep levels where they need to be. These would be conditions such as injury or trauma, intensive exercise, and gastrointestinal issues. Supplements can be found in the form of L-glutamine and glutamine peptides which do not seem to have any clinical advantages when comparing one against the other.
Glutamine. (Last modified March 22, 2012). Retrieved on March 24, 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutamine
Glutamine in Cell Culture. Retrieved on March 24, 2012 from http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/life-science/cell-culture/learning-center/media-expert/glutamine.html
Glutamine Peptides Review. Retrieved on March 24, 2012 from http://www.dietspotlight.com/glutamine-peptides-review/
Jennings, Marc. (May 2, 2011). Which is Better Glutamine Peptides or L-Glutamine? Retrieved on March 24, 2012 from http://mens-total-fitness.com/glutamine-peptides.html
What is the Kreb’s Cycle? Retrieved on March 24, 2012 from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-krebs-cycle.htm