There are so many great factors when it comes to nutrients. I classify nutrients into macro and micro categories. Macro nutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, fats. Micro nutrients are the derivatives of the macro nutrients. Amino acids, glucose, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Most people know about the macro nutrients but not the micro nutrients. I would like to discuss one key micro nutrient that is found in — you guessed EGGS, poultry, dairy products, wheat germ oil, oats and avacados. The micro nutrient is L-glutamine.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body. The body can hold up to 100,000 mg of Glutamine. Every tissue in the body utilizes glutamine. It has been well established that amino acids produce energy in the body. Glutamine is a major source of energy for the body. There are high levels of glutamine in all the vital organs; the brain, skeletal muscle, intestinal walls, lungs, heart, kidneys and liver.
Where Glutamine comes from is food. Glutamine is a converted form of Glutamic acid. When glutamic acid breaks down by the enzymatic reaction of glutamine synthetase it forms a salt, which ends up becoming glutamine. In order to have the correct amount of Glutamine in the body it is important to have the proper enzymatic support. Glutamine Synthetase requires the presence of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (vitamin B6), manganese and derivatives from vitamins and minerals. A glutamine deficiency can arise if these compounds are not present in adequate amounts. Even if a person is taking in high levels of protein, they could still be deficient in Glutamine. Many people are deficient in Glutamine concentrations. This is because of poor dietary choices and lack of the vital external fat and protein. Eating the right foods that are rich in compounds necessary for Glutamine conversion is important. Eggs are one of the best sources.
Glutamine has an important role in the production of neurotransmitters of the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that control the function of the brain. Without neurotransmitters the brain is useless. There are three neurotransmitters that are essential for healthy brain function, Glutamine, Glutamate and GAGA. Glutamine is highly abundant in the cerebro-spinal fluid in the brain, more so than in the blood. The brain depends alot on Glutamine as an energy source. The reason for this is help the brain survive during times low glucose levels. If brain glucose levels drop too low, oxygen levels would drop as well, the brain would begin to die. Glutamine is used during times of low glucose levels to help keep the synthesis of oxygen active. Glucose and Glutamine are both energy sources of the brain. When there is an ample amount of these energy sources in the brain, concentration, mental alertness and clarity, mood, memory and intelligence are improved. It is believed that low levels of Glutamine in the brain is directly related to brain disorders and disease; i.e. Alzyheimers.
Glutamate is a stimulant type of neurotransmitter. GABA is the stimulant reducer, calming down the brain. These work in conjunction with Glutamine to support healthy brain function.
Helps Maintain Blood Sugar Levels
Glutamine helps support energy in the reduction of blood sugar in the bloodstream. It does this by suppressing the release of insulin. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that opens up cells allowing sugar to be absorbed. Too much insulin will ultimately deplete all blood sugar. This is a serious condition. In order to avoid this event, Glutamine is released to help turn off insulin production. It then activates glycogen receptors of the liver and muscle tissue. Glycogen is stored glucose. Glycogen is used to help stabilize the blood system with energy.
Another great benefit of Glutamine is its ability to be converted into glucose. There are amino acids in the body known as, glycogenic amino acids. Glycogenic amino acids can be converted into glucose when the body needs more energy. The process of glycogenic amino acid conversion is called, gluconeogenesis.
With high levels of Glutamine in the blood, the pancreas has to work less. Because of the inhibitory insulin factors that Glutamine presents. Glutamine helps support the health and function of the pancreas, pancreatic enzymes, and protein content.
The intestines also benefit from high levels of Glutamine. The bacteria located on the walls of the intestines consume a lot of Glutamine throughout the day. Low levels of Glutamine can result in digestive disorders. Glutamine is essential for the health and production of the mucosa of the intestinal lining. Glutamine helps maintain a good balance of bacteria in the intestines. If Glutamine is not available in the correct amount, the bad bacteria increases and can cause many problems in the intestines.
Glutamine can help remedy many of the effects of bad bacteria.
When muscle tissue is broken down from either exercise or aging damage to the cellular machinery occurs. Glutamine helps in the support of repair and energy storage of the muscle cell. Glutamine’s role in the muscle is to help regulate protein synthesis. It also helps with the storage capacity of muscle sugar (glycogen). When Glutamine levels are low muscle tissue cannot be repaired effectively, resulting in atrophy. Keeping a high level of Glutamine is also essential to help combat the effects of aging. Glutamine helps with the synthesis of Glutathione (an essential anti-oxidant) in the liver. Glutathione is a co-factor in the aging process.
Daryl Conant, M.Ed
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