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Improve Recovery and Immune Function with Glutamine

Posted on June 11 2021

This muscle repairing, gut loving, immune boosting amino acid is classified as a “conditionally essential amino acid”. This means the body can produce it; 90% of the glutamine we produce in our bodies is synthesized in our muscle tissue. Under certain circumstances the body needs an extra boost from food or supplementation.

Dietary glutamine is naturally found in beets, cabbage, parsley, and is a natural component of protein rich foods like chicken, fish, tofu and beans.

In supplement form, glutamine is often found in workout and digestive supplements and it is often sourced from duck feathers. We chose stick to Niyama’s plant-based values and instead source our vegan fermented l-glutamine from organic beets and organic corn.

What are amino acids?

Sometimes referred to as the building blocks of life, amino acids are small organic compounds which string together to create protein. Humans use 21 different amino acids to make all proteins necessary for survival. There are three categories including:

Essential Amino Acids

Non-Essential Amino Acids

Conditionally Essential Amino Acids

These must be derived from food or supplements. The body cannot synthesize essential amino acids on its own.

The body is able to synthesize non-essential amino acids on its own.

The body is able to synthesize conditionally essential amino acids on its own most of the time but, some should come from food and/or supplements.

Histidine, Isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine

Alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, selenocysteine

Argining, Cysteine, Glutamine, Glycine, Proline, Serine, Tyrosine

Discovery and Use

In 1873, chemists were aware that glutamine existed but it wasn’t until 1883 that German chemist Ernst Schulze managed to isolate glutamine from beet juice. It has naturally been a part of our diet in the form of protein since the beginning of time!

 

As it is conditionally essential, we must get more from diet and supplementation when the body uses glutamine faster than it can produce it. Glutamine is depleted at a faster rate after a particularly intense workout and when we’re sick or stressed - which gives us a good idea as to what it’s used for in the body.

Muscle Repair

Muscle soreness, that lovely feeling of walking up a set of stairs after a particularly intense leg day. The tiny tears in muscle fibres resulting in inflammation is actually a good sign that your muscles are working to adapt to a new activity, but it doesn’t always feel so great. Glutamine helps heal those tiny tears, resulting in a decrease in soreness. Proper hydration also impacts muscle recovery which is why we’ve added coconut water and all six electrolytes to our post-workout After Practice drink mix. Stretching and adequate protein intake can also help in the fight against muscle soreness.

Gut Health

Glutamine is often a key part of a leaky gut protocol. Leaky gut (or increased intestinal permeability) is a condition where the tight junctions in the gut weaken and begin to let larger molecules into the bloodstream. Persistent leaky gut can lead to inappropriate immune reactions such as food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders and a variety of skin conditions. Enterocytes in the intestines are the most eager consumers of glutamine, they use it to help heal mucous membranes and tighten the junctions that keep undigested food particles out of the blood stream.

Immune Function

Glutamine is not only helpful for gut function - which is responsible for about 70-80% of our immune function, but it’s also an essential nutrient for lymphocytes, neutrophils, macrophages and proper cytokine production. These are involved in deploying an appropriate immune response, the communication between cells, and regulating the inflammatory response.

After Practice

After Practice Replenish & Repair is a post-workout drink mix that tastes incredible and happens to be formulated with two muscle repairing amino acids: l-glutamine and l-leucine. It also contains all six electrolytes lost during a workout (or heat or sickness), and it’s topped off with a 250mg dose of vitamin C!

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