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Comphensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils


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Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Glutamine
General Features
L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the bloodstream and in the body. It is involved in more metabolic
processes than any other amino acid, fulfilling a number of biochemical needs. It operates as a nitrogen shuttle, taking
up excess ammonia and forming urea. Ammonia, a by-product of certain normal biochemical reactions in the body
(including the brain) is toxic to the human body and thus glutamine serves an important function in helping to convert
ammonia into urea, a non toxic end product, which the body can easily eliminate. L-Glutamine can contribute to the
production of other amino acids, glucose, nucleotides, protein and glutathione. It is the principal metabolic fuel for the
epithelial cells that line the small intestine (enterocytes), and for certain immune cells, namely lymphocytes,
macrophages, and fibroblasts.1
Glutamine intake has been shown to enhance glutathione stores in conjunction with N-acetylcysteine, which may
forestall the progression of HIV infection to AIDS in afflicted patients.2 Glutamine supplementation has been shown to
help protect the gastrointestinal tract from damage by certain chemotherapy drugs (i.e. fluorouracil) and also prevents
diarrhea that these drugs are known to produce.1,3
Glutamine supplementation has been shown to enhance immune system function and result in a lower level of
infection and a shorter stay in hospital following surgery, radiation treatment, bone marrow transplantation, and in
patients suffering from injury, compared with patients receiving Glutamine-free parenteral nutrition.4,5,6
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid in that the body can synthesize it from the amino acid glutamic acid via the
Glutamine synthase enzyme.7
However, during periods of fasting, starvation, critical illness, cancer, AIDS and following trauma, radiation treatment,
surgery, bone marrow transplantation or in patients with a weakened immune system or catabolic stress, extra
Glutamine replenishment has been shown to be beneficial to re-establish homeostatis.7
Glutamine is also a main anti-catabolic agent in muscle, which when supplemented, may help preserve muscle tissue
(preventing its breakdown), during and after exercise. The heavier one trains, the greater the stress on the muscle
and the greater is the use of Glutamine.8
During and following exercise or trauma, large amounts of alanine and Glutamine are released from muscle. They then
travel through the blood stream to the liver where they can be used to form glucose and glycogen. The total loss of
alanine and Glutamine induced by exercise is above the amount available in muscle and represents more than 50
percent of the total loss of muscle amino acids and nitrogen loss from muscle tissue during exercise. Studies show
that during exercise other muscle amino acids (branched-chain amino acids) are used to donate their carbon skeletons
to make alanine and certain alpha ketoacids and amino acids, such as alpha ketogluturate and glutamic acid are
converted within the muscle to glutamine. Most notably, the branched-chain amino acid, leucine, isoleucine and valine
serve as a substrate for alanine synthesis, but higher levels of intramuscular glutamine (via supplementation) may help
to stop the catabolism of branched chain-amino acids, as glutamine can diffuse from the muscle and become a source
of glucose in the liver to help maintain blood glucose and liver glycogen levels during periods of stress (i.e.
exercise)8,9,10 This is also the role played by alanine, and thus, higher glutamine concentrations may reduce the
requirement for alanine synthesis in the muscle, and thereby spare the breakdown of muscle tissue (branched-chain
amino acid catabolism) during exercise and under other periods of catabolic stress (burn victims, infection, post
surgery etc). 8,9,10
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