Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is critical to the production of cellular energy especially in the intestinal tract and stomach.5 Along with cysteine and glycine it is one of the amino acid components of glutathione which is an essential antioxidant fighting free radicals and 'sticking' to heavy metals, where it has the role of removing waste and toxic materials from the body. It plays a role in many bodily functions, such as:
- Providing an energy source for the cells1
- Synthesizing protein.
- Regulating the kidney's acid-base balance.2
- Providing carbon as part of the citric acid cycle.3
- Transporting ammonia within the blood
In the diet it is found in meats and dairy products, wheat, parsley, cabbage, spinach, beans, and vegetable juices.
It is a popular addition to diets of atheletes due to its energy boosting properties, and has been found to support immune functioning.4
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1. Aledo, J. C. (2004). "Glutamine breakdown in rapidly dividing cells: Waste or investment?". BioEssays 26 (7): 778-785
2. Hall, John E.; Guyton, Arthur C. (2006). Textbook of medical physiology (11th ed.). St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier Saunders. p. 393
3. Yuneva, M.; Zamboni, N.; Oefner, P.; Sachidanandam, R.; Lazebnik, Y. (2007). "Deficiency in glutamine but not glucose induces MYC-dependent apoptosis in human cells". The Journal of Cell Biology 178 (1): 93-105
4. Calder PC, Yaqoob P., Glutamine and the immune system, Amino Acids. 1999;17(3):227-41.
5. van der Hulst RR, von Meyenfeldt MF, Soeters PB, Glutamine: an essential amino acid for the gut,Nutrition. 1996 Nov-Dec;12(11-12 Suppl):S78-81.