Support Your Immunity with Glutamine Supplements
The immune system is a complex network within the body that ultimately targets and destroys microbes with the potential to make us sick. There are many parts involved in the body’s immunity function.
The Immune System is Made Up Of:
- white blood cells
- complement system
- lymphatic system
- bone marrow
The body has other defenses against microbes, too. The skin, lungs, digestive tract, and bodily fluids all play vital roles in protecting us.
Naturally, supporting your body’s immunity function through supplement sources and vitamins could involve any one of these body systems. Glutamine supplements are one way to strengthen the immune system by supporting the immunity cells within the body, like white blood cells and cells in the digestive tract.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid with many functions in the body. Most people know amino acids as building blocks for proteins, which make up the structures in the body. However, amino acids serve other functions and are involved in the body’s immunity because they transport substances in the blood and help fight off harmful microbes.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in body fluids like blood. The body can naturally produce glutamine. However, there are times when the body’s need for glutamine is higher than its ability to produce, hence conditionally essential.
Glutamine and Immunity
Glutamine serves as a vital fuel source for white blood cells and cells within the digestive tract – both are significant parts of the immune system. The body works hard to ensure it makes enough glutamine, but illness, injuries, burns, and surgeries can lower blood levels. When blood levels drop, the body breaks down other protein stores, like the muscles, to release more glutamine.
If the body’s need for glutamine is not met, immune function is compromised. High protein, high-glutamine diets or glutamine supplements are often recommended for illnesses and major injuries like burns.
Glutamine Food Sources
Like other vitamins and minerals, glutamine occurs naturally in both plant and animal sources. Experts estimate that a typical diet includes anywhere from three to six grams of glutamine per day.
Foods that are good sources of glutamine and other vitamins include:
- skim milk
- white rice
Specific quantities of glutamine within these foods are not measured. However, it is found in all foods that are protein sources.
Glutamine Supplement Sources
As with other macro and micronutrients from vitamins to proteins, you can safely consume glutamine from supplement sources.
Studies report that glutamine supplements may:
- Improve health
- Decrease the risk of infection
- Improve recovery leading to shorter hospital stays after surgeries
- Improve survival rates in critically ill people
- Improve immune function
These results are due, in part, to providing fuel for white blood cells and also to glutamine’s role in intestinal health. When using glutamine supplement sources, we ensure our white blood cells and intestinal cells are adequately fueled and working optimally.
As always, getting vitamins and other nutrients like amino acids is best done through whole foods. However, using glutamine supplements is well studied and determined safe for short-term use. More research is needed to study the effects of prolonged usage.
When you start using a glutamine supplement source, start with a conservative dose of five grams per day. Look for a pure glutamine supplement to limit your intake of any unnecessary fillers or harmful ingredients.