Glutamine is a very important amino acid for the metabolism of rapidly regenerating cells, like those in the digestive tract and the immune system. While it is not normally an essential amino acid, glutamine can be essential in certain circumstances.That is why it is termed a conditionally essential amino acid.
In conditions of disease or intense stress, the consumption of amino acids speeds up and the blood glutamine concentration falls. The integrity of the intestinal mucosa is then put at risk, allowing intestinal bacteria to move into the bloodstream.
Glutamine exercises many functions connected with protein synthesis, as a precursor of compounds that enter into the composition of cell DNA, a regulator of hepatic syntheses and a role-player in the detox process.
Glutamine is utilised by the cells of the intestinal mucosa as a source of energy. A low intake by an animal with a high requirement in a critical phase may compromise the integrity of the intestinal barrier. Glutamine supplementation may help reduce the risk of atrophy of villi. It may also be beneficial during convalescence after a period of digestive problems.
Glutamine is synthesised by many tissues and approximately 60% of glutamine is freely stored in the muscles. When the animal’s requirement increases, the body may be unable to produce sufficient quantities. Wheat gluten is a good source of glutamine, containing close to 40%.