Glutamine, the amino acid of athletes

October 23, 2020 by No Comments

​​What is it? Where is it found?

glutamine is one of the 20 amino acids that our body has to carry out various physiological functions .. it is generated from naturally in the body, although between 4% and 8% of the protein of certain foods corresponds to this amino acid.

It is the amino acid with the greatest presence within the different muscle groups, and in general, it constitutes approximately 60 % of the musculoskeletal tissue, which makes it the one with the greatest number of functions assigned.

It is an amino acid Not essensial. This means that it can be produced by the body without the need to be ingested through the diet.

We can also find this amino acid present in the spinal cord, blood plasma, heart, lungs, kidney, cerebrospinal fluid and liver.

Our aminoacid offers

Demand may be increased as a result of stress. It has the ability to be converted into glucose when required.

We can find this amino acid in all those foods that have a high protein content in their composition.

Those of anima origin l such as: beef, pork. Others such as dairy products, in foods of plant origin: tofu, aubergines, cabbage, spinach. When cooking food, the glutamine present in them is degraded, so that its absorption is less.

Among its main benefits:

  • glutamine promotes the replacement of glycogen stores.
  • In high intensity training, it can contribute to improving performance, and reduce fatigue as a result of them.
  • Prevents the loss of muscle mass.
  • It is associated with a better recovery after an injury.
  • Prevent infections and to treat certain diseases such as arthritis.

Its functions

  • glutamine transports ammonia (a toxic substance for the body) from the muscle to the liver to be disposed of. Regulation of acid-base balance.
  • It is a trigger for protein synthesis : due to the composition of this amino acid , one of its main functions it is the transport of nitrogen in organs and tissues to carry out the functions related to different metabolic processes.
  • Brain functions: glutamic acid works as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Neurons use it as a transmitting substance, promoting mental activity and brain functions.
  • If glycogen stores are empty and energy is required, glutamine acts and is used as an energy substrate to carry out the resynthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
  • It has great relevance when it comes to carrying out the synthesis of glutathione. Glutathione is a protein whose main function is to protect the cells, tissues and organs of our body. It is an antioxidant. glutamine is one of the percussion substances of glutathione.
  • Intervention in immunological processes: it favors the correct functioning of the immune system.

Glutamine deficiencies.

There are several consequences that can occur due to a deficiency of this amino acid. Although glutamine is an amino acid that the body can produce, deficiencies of this amino acid can occur. It is a vital substance for everyday life.

This deficit can occur, in most cases, due to stress caused by external situations.

An increase in cortisol , a stress hormone, can generate deficiency.

Some of the consequences of a glutamine deficiency can be:

  • the decrease in mental and physical performance. Lack of concentration.
  • Inability to make great efforts due to fatigue or excessive tiredness. Feeling of overtraining.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Damage to the immune system: increased probability of infection. This amino acid is in charge of protecting a large number of tissues that can be affected in case of deficiency.

Glutamine supplementation.

When purchasing a glutamine supplement, we must know the two existing types and the characteristics of each one.

If a daily dose is exceeded more than 20 grams the following side effects may occur. Remember that a supplement is not a substitute for a balanced diet.

  • Abdominal bloating.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urticaria.


  • L- Glutamine : has a higher absorption rate than glutamine peptides. It is the most widely used as it is the active form of the amino acid glutamine.
  • Petids of glutamine : it raises plasma glutamine levels. They have a lower rate of elimination in the urine than L-Glutamine.

For whom.

It is recommended for those people who:

  • play sports frequently.
  • elite athletes.
  • people subjected to high levels of demand not only physical, but not mental.
  • those who suffer from infections, wounds, serious injuries and need to strengthen their immune system.

The dose will depend on one person to another. The intake is usually between 5 and 20 grams a day, divided into several intakes. When in doubt, consult a supplementation / nutrition specialist.

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