Called the building blocks of the body, amino acids play a significant role in optimizing the various systems and vital organs of the body and, helps fight off potential stressors and ailments. Classified into two types, essential and non-essential, amino acids are either synthesized by the body or sourced from outside such as food. Thus, it is important that we have enough in our body to fuel us up, especially during highly stressful situations.
There are times however that even though we have enough stored amino acids in our bodies, certain situations lead to the depletion of both essential and non-essential amino acids, like Glutamine. It is an important amino acid, especially in enhancing digestive health and strengthening the immune system.
Glutamine: What Is It And How It Works
Glutamine or sometimes referred to as L-Glutamine is one of the non-essential amino acids naturally produced by the body. Quite abundant and found mostly in the lungs and muscles, Glutamine at times becomes essential when certain conditions affect the levels of this amino acid, meaning it becomes depleted too when the body is stressed, experience trauma or after undergoing a strenuous physical activity.
Glutamine is actually synthesized from glutamic acid. Glutathione, a good anti-oxidant is also produced by Glutamic acid.
The good thing about Glutamine, while it is abundant in the body, it can also be sourced from different types of food. Again, the body needs it when it becomes depleted, however certain individuals also need an extra dose of glutamine like vegetarians or those who eliminate certain kinds of foods that have ample content of glutamine.
Glutamine plays a significant role in protecting gut health, strengthening the body’s immunity and helps in muscle recovery.
Where To Get Your Extra Kick of Glutamine
Good thing certain types of healthy foods have a healthy dose of glutamine, both meat, and plant-based, however, most meat-based foods contain this amino acid which vegetarians avoid. Below are some good sources of glutamine if you need to optimize your digestive and immune systems and, improve the neurological functions:
Be it scrambled, poached or boiled, eggs are an excellent source of glutamine as one hundred grams of eggs can already give the body 0.6 grams of this amino acid. You can also eat it at any time of the day – just make sure that you don’t overdo and it fits your body’s cholesterol level.
Just make sure that you refrain or at least minimize sugar as milk contains glutamine, which makes it an excellent source if you need an extra boost of glutamine.
Since protein has a high glutamine content, meat-based foods then are an excellent source of glutamine such as chicken, beef, lamb, and pork. For example, per 100 grams of beef contain 4.8 percent of glutamine. But again, one should also not forget to eat meat moderately as it could also increase the level of cholesterol such as LDL and tricyglerides specially when eaten in excess. Make sure also not to overcook or char the meat as it loses its glutamine content when overcooked.
4. Bone broth
This food source is becoming extremely popular due to its ability to boost the body’s immunity and even collagen. Good thing its also a good source of glutamine, so drink it up with your favorite viand or healthy bread.
Eating organ meat may sound icky for some but organ meat like liver can actually hasten the recovery process for those have an injury or feel extremely wiped out after an illness or intense workout. Liver meat can either be sauteed with your favorite vegetables, baked, fried or added to your favorite casserole.
6. Red cabbage
This humble vegetable is actually packed with an abundant level of glutamine. It even packs in an extra punch when it is fermented as it adds more healthy enzymes that strengthen the gut and immune system.
Nuts are not only a good snacking option but are also one way of getting glutamine. Some types have good healthy fats that won’t affect the cholesterol level so consuming them would truly be beneficial for the body. Make sure however to not eat them in excess, only in moderate amounts that won’t affect your body negatively.
Those who want to stay away from meat but still craving for something fleshy and dense can opt for seafood like fish, mussels, crabs, lobster and the like as they are rich in glutamine especially those caught from seawater.
9. Legumes and beans
While the content of glutamine may not be as high compared to meat, legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and different variants of beans are an excellent source of glutamine for those who don’t eat meat. They are delicious too, especially when combined with spices and vegetables.
Why Glutamine is Good
Our body needs all the help it can get, especially with so many stressors and transmittable ailments abound around us. While our bodies can produce some of these essential amino acids, we still need an extra boost once they start to deplete. While the body can amply produce, sourcing Glutamine outside is good because it can provide the body with the following support:
- It protects the digestive health as it acts as an invisible wall
- Helps the muscle recover and heal after an intense workout or physical activity.
- Glutamine can also speed up the recovery after an injury or protect it from possible infections
- Glutamine is also helpful for persons with HIV as it can help protect muscle mass. Muscle loss is often experienced by people with HIV.
- It can aid in healing certain ailments like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- It aids in enhancing memory, comprehending and other neurological functions.
Glutamine is safe as the body produces them. However, if you want to take Glutamine supplements for healing, muscle building among others, it is always advisable to ask your doctor first. Supplements while safe too, can at times have an adverse effect on prescription medication. It could either weaken the potency or produce negative reaction. Of course, sourcing them from natural foods is okay as long as it is done moderately.