L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (protein building block) in the body; as such, it has a wide range of functions. Critical for removing excess ammonia (a common waste product in the body), glutamine supports the immune system, muscle and organ growth and repair, as well as brain and digestive functions. It’s also been shown to protect against the breakdown of the mucous lining in the gut. Most glutamine is stored in muscles, followed by the lungs, where much of this protein is made.
On a typical day, our body makes enough glutamine to meet ordinary needs. However, when we’re under stress (emotional or physical – from heavy exercise to mental illness, injury or surgery), we may not produce enough glutamine to address the stress hormones flooding our body. That’s when taking a supplement comes into play. Additionally, a glutamine supplement is often helpful for individuals with medical conditions such as GERD, leaky gut, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, where their glutamine levels may be consistently low.
You can get glutamine through foods, such as meat, fish, legumes, and dairy. Two particularly high vegetable sources of glutamine are raw (uncooked) cabbage and beets.
L-Glutamine supplements are usually in pill form, but you can also find a powder version which should be mixed with a cool liquid. It’s critical to remember: Always use cool, never hot foods or liquids. Heat destroys glutamine.
Unless otherwise recommended and supervised by your health practitioner, a glutamine supplement is not recommended for children under age 10 or for people with kidney or liver disease, or a history of seizures. Proper dose is crucial to how well L-glutamine works. Always consult with your doctor before adding a supplement such as glutamine to your diet.