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L-glutamine’s role in the digestive system
Because L-glutamine provides energy to the digestive cells, it aids those cells in their regeneration and renewal, therefore influencing the absorption ability of the intestine. Cells which divide quickly, such as those in the immune system too, are very reliant on having a supply of L-glutamine. This is why medical procedures like bone marrow transplants have much lower death rates when a targeted supplementary regime of L-glutamine has been given beforehand.
Other uses of L-glutamine can be found in the nervous system. L-glutamine is very chemically similar to the neurotransmitter glutamic acid. To transport messages in the body, the nerve cells must be stimulated successfully sequentially in a row.
After the initial stimulation, the neurotransmitter has to be transported back to the earlier cell which previously released it in order to pass along the message. When back in the old cell, it is turned into L-glutamine so that it does not accidentally excite the next cell and send a false message.
In this way, a second and unwanted stimulation of the nerve cells can be avoided. Finally, L-glutamine is turned back into glutamic acid for the cycle to start again when needed.
As L-glutamine also has a certain anti-oxidative potential, it can protect human cells from destruction by free radicals. It is therefore able to, up to a certain point at least, prevent degenerative neurological illnesses like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
L-glutamine in use against illnesses
Autoimmune diseases in the digestive system like Crohn’s disease are almost always accompanied by reduced permeability of the intestinal wall. This ultimately leads to poor utilization of vitamins from the food you have eaten. Indian researchers have now proven that taking L-glutamine supplements as part of your diet (0.5g per kilo of body weight) can drastically increase intestinal permeability and thus improve the vital substances coming into your body.
As well as this, bodily activity has an essential influence on generation of L-glutamine and also regulates its uptake.
It’s no wonder that you have depleted stocks of L-glutamine in your body if you push yourself to physical limits and have a difficult training programme – but this is associated with weaknesses in your immune system.
In order to avoid this consequence, L-glutamine supplements can be used, which will then improve the abilities of your immune system and stop inflammation at the same time.
L-glutamine accompanying cancer treatment
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Another important field of application for L-glutamine in fighting illnesses is in cancer treatment. In the past, several studies were carried out, showing L-glutamine’s effects against tumours.
In their conclusions the researchers decided that appropriate L-glutamine supplementation can considerably improve the metabolism and entire clinical state of cancer patients without increasing tumour growth.
L-glutamine positively affects, among other things,
- an increase of the immune system’s activity,
- increased rate of cell renewal and,
- a stronger creation of glutathione.
Furthermore, L-glutamine can lower the risks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, leading to the patient being put under less strain.
Do not confuse L-glutamine and glutamate
Glutamate is a flavour enhancer mostly known for being from the Far East. As it is an edible product, it is permitted by many laws regulating nutrition in amounts up to 10g per kilo of food. Glutamate is the salt of glutamic acid. It is therefore chemically not comparable to, nor to be confused with, the amino acid L-glutamine.
As a food additive, the different forms of glutamate must be identified on packaging using the E-numbers E621 to E625. Companies prefer, however, to label their food with words like ‘spices’ or ‘yeast extract’, which is also permitted.
Allegedly toxic effects of glutamate in high doses have never been proven. In the 1940s children were administered with over 40g of glutamate per day over several months.
This was done under the belief that it could boost intellectual abilities. Neither an intellectual increase nor long-term toxic effects could be proven by the study.
L-glutamine is indeed not an essential amino acid because the body can synthesis it, but it is popular fields of sport and weight training to avoid the threat of muscle catabolism post workout. Among other things, L-glutamine is used to provide energy for all of your cells. It regulates the stability of acids and bases in the body and thus keeps proteins active. Due to its multitude of positive benefits, scientists have started to use L-glutamine in treatments of illnesses such as cancer and Crohn’s. It can efficiently and effectively alleviate symptoms and lead to a faster recovery.