Several key nutrients (known as precursors) are necessary to supply the chemicals responsible for the formation of the brain’s neurotransmitters, thus helping to balance brain chemistry. When taken on a daily basis, specific supplementation with certain amino acids helps us feel more mentally balanced and provides us with an overall sense of well-being. Research studies have confirmed the effectiveness of using just a few targeted amino acid ‘precursors’
to increase the key neurotransmitters, thereby eliminating depression, stress, anxiety and cravings for food and drugs (Ross,1999)
Glutamine, or L-Glutamine, is an amino acid derived from another amino acid, glutamic acid.L-Glutamine is another example of an amino acid with substantial benefits to mental functioning. L-Glutamine is the most widely used amino acid and constitutes more than 20% of all the amino acid levels in the body. While it is the most prevalent amino acid, it is considered to be ‘conditionally essential,’ meaning that stress or excessive exercise can create a need for more of it than the body can provide.
Glutamine is found in plant and animal sources, as well as in supplement form. Many plant and animal substances contain Glutamine, but cooking easily destroys it. If eaten raw, spinach and parsley are good sources. Soy proteins, milk, meats and cabbage are additional sources of this amino acid.
Glutamine helps the body maintain a healthy pH balance and is necessary for making and repairing cells. As the most plentiful free amino acid in muscle tissue, Glutamine plays an important role in all parts of the body. It speeds recovery and healing,can improve mental acuity and helps curb cravings. Other than glucose, a stimulatory neurotransmitter known as glutamic acid can be used as an energy source by the brain. There are only two ‘fuels’ that the brain can readily use:
1. Glucose,which is blood sugar made from carbohydrates.
2. Glutamine, an amino acid available in protein foods or as a supplement.
Unlike other amino acids that have a single nitrogen atom, Glutamine contains two nitrogen atoms that enable it to transfer nitrogen and remove ammonia from body tissues. Glutamine readily passes the bloodbrain barrier and, within the brain, is converted to glutamic acid, which the brain needs to function properly. Aside from generally providing an energy source for the brain to function at a higher level, glutamic acid is thought to play a role in mental alertness and perhaps even memory enhancement.
It also increases the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is needed to
sustain proper brain function and mental activity. It assists in maintaining the proper acid/alkaline balance in the body, and is the basis of the building blocks for the synthesis of RNA and DNA. Glutamine promotes mental ability and maintenance of a healthy digestive tract.
Potential therapeutic uses of Glutamine:
1.-Depression and Mood Disorders.
2.-General Energy Booster.
3.-Poor Memory, Concentration Difficulties,and Mental Fatigue.
4.-Aid Treatment for AIDS or Viral Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
5.-Blood Sugar Instability (Hypoglycemia).
7.-Aid Treatment of Alcoholism (The Craving for Alcohol).
9.-Protection Against Nuscle Catabolism and Overtrainig.
10.-Gastrointestinal Disorders and Ulcers.
11.-Aid Treatment of Cirrhosis.
12.-Strengthening the Immune System.
Glutamine is also an amino acid that stimulates the release of human growth hormone within the body. Human growth hormone serves many important functions by influencing carbohydrate,protein and lipid metabolism, regulating the secretion of other hormones, and interacting with the immune system. Preliminary scientific research show that L-Glutamine can increase the body’s production of Human Growth Hormone.
Therapeutic dosages of L-Glutamine range from 1.5 to 6 g daily, divided into several separate doses. As a naturally occurring amino acid, Glutamine is thought to be a safe supplement when taken at recommended dosages. However,people who have kidney disease, Reye’s syndrome,cirrhosis of the liver,or other illnesses that cause ammonia to build up in the blood should not take Glutamine. For such individuals, taking supplemental Glutamine may only cause further damage to the body. Those who are hypersensitive to monosodium glutamate should use L-Glutamine with caution, as the body metabolizes Glutamine into glutamate. If you are taking antiseizure medications use Glutamine only under medical supervision. Maximum safe dosages for young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease have not been fully determined. Be aware that although the names sound ‘similar’, Glutamine, Glutamic Acid, Glutamate, Glutathione, Gluten, and Monosodium Glutamate are all different substances.
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