Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue and plays a key role in many bodily functions. During stressful situations (i.e. heavy resistive weight training) the body can lose a large amount of glutamine. A loss of glutamine during exercise may be a signal for protein catabolism (muscle breakdown). Glutamine supplementation has been shown to prevent the loss of body mass through the positive role glutamine plays in protein synthesis and its action as a potent anabolic agent. When muscle glutamine levels are restored and in a positive nitrogen balance muscle synthesis can return to a normal rate.
Glutamine also has actions on glucose metabolism and the regulation of gluconeogenesis. Glutamine converts to glucose without changes in either insulin or glucagen, the hormones that regulate blood sugar. During dieting, and times of carbohydrate depletion, glutamine can exert positive effects on the amount of body fat loss as well as the retention of lean body mass.
Glutamine acts as a nutrient in the intestines. Research shows that glutamine boosts immune cells in the gut. Possibly because of the connection between the brain and the gut, glutamine also boosts memory and mental functions.
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