Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid used by many bodybuilders. But what many people do not know is that it is very important for your brain and your nervous system as well.
In this article, we will talk about the main benefits and properties of glutamine.
What is glutamine?
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid.
And, what does that mean?
First, we will explain what amino acids are and then we will explain the difference between essential and non-essential amino acids.
What are amino acids?
Amino acids are essential nutrients for your body since they combine to form proteins.
In nature, there are hundreds of amino acids, but only 20 are part of the proteins (protein amino acids).
The former are called non-essential amino acids, while the latter are the essential amino acids.
Therefore, glutamine belongs to the first group and is found in large quantities in both blood and muscles.
Although it is a non-essential amino acid, it does not mean that it is not important, since they are the building blocks of muscles and also participate in the maintenance of a healthy and productive brain.
How does it benefit the brain?
In recent decades, glutamine has gained ground in the world of sports nutrition for its benefits in increasing muscle mass, but this medication also has many benefits for the brain.
It was discovered that it is a key factor to improve brain function because it participates in the improvement of two very important neurotransmitters: glutamate and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
These are two chemicals used by neurons in the nervous system to communicate with each other.
The proportion of glutamine, glutamate, and GABA
From glutamate, the body produces glutamine, which in turn produces glutamate, the main neurotransmitter of the nervous system.
Glutamate deficiency is associated with fatigue or performance problems, therefore, glutamine participates in the improvement of attention, learning as well as the improvement of cognitive function.
Glutamine also increases GABA production and vice versa.
GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. The low levels of this neurotransmitter are associated with anxiety disorders, sleep problems, depression, and schizophrenia.
Glutamine effects on your brain
Glutamine, therefore, performs several functions within the human brain and is involved in mood swings, anxiety, irritability or insomnia. In addition, this medicine increases short and long term memory and increases concentration.
Glutamine deficit is associated with:
- Concentration problems.
- Decreased sexual appetite.
- Mental fatigue.
- Increase in sugar and fat cravings.
- Feelings of being less alert.
Glutamine and its relationship with stress
The demand for glutamine in the body increases during times of physical and mental stress, at the same time, it is an important energy provider for the immune system and intestinal cells, creating a vicious circle.
In times of physical and mental stress, the intake of glutamine supplements is recommended, always after consulting your doctor.
For those who are reluctant to take supplements, it is possible to obtain it through food intake. However, although we can find this substance in some foods, it is usually lost within the cooking process.
Among the foods rich in glutamine are spinach, parsley, milk or nuts.
What are its muscle benefits?
Glutamine is the most frequent amino acid found in muscles since it constitutes approximately 60% of the components of skeletal muscle.
It is formed in 19% of nitrogen, which makes it a primary carrier of this chemical for cells.
During intense exercise, its levels decrease dramatically, resulting in a decrease in strength, endurance, and recovery.
In fact, it can take up to 6 days for the body to return to its normal levels.
Therefore, especially for athletes, it plays a fundamental role in what is known as ‘protein synthesis’.
On a muscular level, glutamine provides the following benefits:
- Participates in protein synthesis and prevents muscle catabolism.
- Promotes muscle recovery.
- Stimulate growth hormone
- Promotes glycogen recovery.
For all these reasons we consider that glutamine should be part of your diet, and so you will be a little bit closer to building that healthy lifestyle that you crave for so much.