One of the more widely known benefits of L-Glutamine is its ability to help muscles repair and recover, especially in the bodybuilder community where muscle growth and recovery are key factors in their overall performance in competitions. However, there are many other benefits of L-Glutamine and it may be responsible for more functions in the human body than just helping to support healthy muscles.
It also has been found to support immune system function and help maintain healthy gut lining.
What is L-Glutamine?
L-Glutamine is an amino acid – in fact, it is one of the most abundant amino acids in the bloodstream and skeletal muscle, and plays a role in many processes in the body including protein synthesis, energy production, immune system activity, cell proliferation, survival and repair, and much more.
It is also the preferred form of energy for liver cells and immune system cells, and studies have shown that a lack of glutamine in the body can increase the risk of fatigue and infections, especially after intense physical exertion, stress, trauma, and illness.
Muscle Tissue and Cell Health
As mentioned before, L-Glutamine is a key amino acid in muscle repair and recovery. L-Glutamine helps by increasing the rate of muscle protein synthesis. During an intense workout like plyometrics, or prolonged activity like endurance training, our body’s natural L-Glutamine stores are reduced, creating a deficit that requires either supplementation or a period of time (about five days) to be naturally replenished.
Our skeletal muscle tissue is also largely made up of L-Glutamine, and this is why keeping levels up is beneficial for both growth and performance.
Studies have also shown that one of the benefits of L-Glutamine is that it can increase plasma growth hormone levels, a necessary component to bodybuilders for making gains. Additionally, L-Glutamine is necessary for sustaining cell volume and hydration.
One of the most important functions of L-Glutamine is its role in the immune system. Without L-Glutamine, your body wouldn’t be able to make the immune cells it needs to protect you from dangerous invaders. It is a crucial component of white blood cells and intestinal immune cells, so having more L-Glutamine in your diet can increase your white blood cell count.
It is a critical fuel source for immune cells, which naturally boosts the immune system by promoting phagocytosis, a process where specialized immune system cells (phagocytes) engulf and destroy infectious agents.
Scientists have found that your immune system might not work as well when you don’t consume enough L-Glutamine.
During intense or prolonged exercise, or during times of stress or injury, L-Glutamine is depleted, ultimately leading to a temporarily weakened immune system. Supplementing can insure that adequate levels are available for the immune system to properly function. In fact, marathon runners have a high probability of developing upper respiratory infections after such an intense endurance event, however, it has been found that supplementation of L-Glutamine before a big race or directly after helped to reduce infection rates.
Making sure you’re getting enough L-Glutamine after exercise and in general can do wonders for your immune system.
The disruption of gut barrier function (leaky gut) is a key factor in numerous gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease and infectious enterocolitis. Some studies even show that leaky gut may be associated with other autoimmune diseases, although this has not yet been studied in depth.
Going back to the fact that L-Glutamine plays a major role in our immune cells, 70% of our immune system is housed in our intestinal tract, so maintaining a strong immune system is critical for maximizing absorption rates in the gut.
L-Glutamine helps to protect the mucous membrane of the esophagus and intestines. The mucous membrane blocks bacterial infiltration during digestion. L-Glutamine can also boost immune cell activity in the gut, helping prevent infection and inflammation, as well as soothing the intestinal tissue.
What are some sources of L-Glutamine?
L-Glutamine can be found in both animal and plant-based foods including beef, chicken, eggs, fish, milk, nuts (including almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts), cabbage (raw red cabbage is a powerful source), beets, beans, spinach and parsley.
Although the exact L-Glutamine content in many foods have not been studied, foods with a high amount of protein often are the richest sources of L-Glutamine. So, focusing on making sure you have enough protein in your diet is an easy way to potentially increase the amount of L-Glutamine you are consuming.
To enjoy the benefits of L-Glutamine, you can also take it as a supplement, either in pill form or powders mixed in with your protein shake or smoothie.
Treat your gut well with MariGold
Did you know that MariGold Protein Bars have gut-healthy ingredients in them? Each bar has 4g of L-Glutamine in them that can help with healing a leaky gut, and help protect the gut barrier function.
Not only that, but they have only REAL FOOD premium ingredients in them. Our very popular Lectin Free collection has fiber in the form of Chicory Root Fiber as well. In addition to Lectin Free, we also have collections tailored specifically to Low FODMAP and Keto Friendly diets.