Everywhere you turn
these days, it seems someone's extolling the benefits of glutamine. you
see it in advertisements for sports nutrition products. Manufacturers
sprinkle it in powders and pills. Scientists focus research on it.
Bodybuilders ask for it by name. But what exactly is glutamine, and is
it important to those of us who is into bodybuilding ?
If you were to believe
everything you heard in the gym, you'd be convinced that glutamine (also
referred to as L-glutamine) could accelerate recuperation, promote cell
volumization, regulate protein synthesis and provide fuel for your brain
cells, small intestine, kidneys, lunge and immune system. You'd be
To understand how a
single amino acid can accomplish so much, let's take a closer look at
what glutamine is and how it works. Glutamine is the most abundant amino
acid in the body, constituting approximately 50% of the free
intracellular amino acid pool. To describe glutamine as a nonessential
amino acid would be technically correct, but that description can't be
misinterpret the distinction between essential and nonessential amino
acids to mean important and unimportant. Nothing could be further from
the truth. Somewhere during our evolutionary process, our not-yet-Homo
sapiens body prioritized its amino-acid shopping list into 2 categories.
One is amino acids the body can't produce and must therefore be provided
via diet. These are the essential amino acids, since you either get them
in what you eat or not at all. The second category is amino acids the
body can produce from miscellaneous components, such as other amino
acids, various dietary constituents, or by cannibalizing its own tissue.
Since it's only preferable (not essential) that these amino acids be
provided through diet, these are called nonessential amino acids.
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