L-Glutamine - Benefits, Side-Effects, Supplements, Powder -
But, muscle isn't the only tissue where protein is being synthesized. Glutamine serves the anabolic (tissue-building) needs of the whole body. Since it can very easily donate nitrogen, it functions as a "nitrogen shuttle," delivering nitrogen wherever it is needed.
Very ill patients suffer both a decrease in glutamine levels and muscle loss. One way to counteract this is to add glutamine to their diet, or, if they can no longer consume food, to the I-V drip that delivers parenteral nutrition. The use of glutamine has been documented to aid the survival of severely ill surgical and burn patients. It also speeds up wound and burn healing, and improves recovery in general.
Helps the Heart
The action of the heart is under considerable control of the nervous system and the pathways involved in the neural control of cardiovascular function happen to rely on glutamate and GABA. If the brain has a faulty glutamine / glutamate / GABA metabolism, we can expect the development of cardiovascular dysfunction as well. In addition, glutamine serves as a substrate for the synthesis of a special type of beta-endorphin, glycyl-l-glutamine. This dipeptide appears to be important for the regulation of blood pressure and prevention of cardiorespiratory depression. Glycyl-l-glutamine is also important for the immune response, since it enhances the activity of natural killer (NK) cells.
Low Blood Sugar by Raising Serum Glucose
Providing abundant glutamine through diet and supplementation means that less muscle tissue (if any) will be broken down to provide glucose. This is of great importance to people on calorie-restricted diets whose problem is losing muscle mass more so than fatty tissue. Since it is the metabolically active muscle mass that helps keep us slender (not to mention strong and fit), extra glutamine may help dieters lose girth around the waist while preserving muscle mass.
Considering the support of glutamine in combating hypoglycemia, it is no wonder that alternative medicine recommends it for the purpose of eliminating sugar cravings and alcohol cravings (many alcoholics appear to suffer from hypoglycemia).
Diabetics, however, need to exercise caution since they have an abnormal glutamine metabolism. A much higher percentage of their glutamine is broken down for the production of glucose by the liver and the kidneys - a process called glutamine gluconeogenesis. This increased production of glucose from glutamine (and also from alanine, an amino acid in the same family) is probably related to the diabetes-related excess levels of the serum glucose-raising pancreatic hormone called glucagon. This excessive breakdown of glutamine into glucose in diabetes occurs without any supplementation since muscle and fatty tissues release so much glutamine in response to the endocrine pathology.
Diabetics also show other enzymatic abnormalities in relation to glutamine including poor function of the retinal glia (glia are cells that have various supportive functions in the nervous system including detoxifying ammonia through the production of glutamine). Thus, the diabetic retina is prone to damage through glutamate excitotoxicity since the glia are not converting enough glutamate to glutamine. The use of high doses of antioxidants, including vitamin E and various polyphenols should be beneficial as well as supplementation with taurine. Taurine is the one amino acid that seems to be very helpful to diabetics and is virtually side effect free also.
Effects on Canc -- Including Breast
In reality, however, glutamine is frequently used as an adjuvant treatment of advanced mesothelioma canc. In a study published in US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, survival rates increased. It has been shown to prolong survival by slowing down catabolic wasting. In addition, since low immune function is a hallmark of canc, glutamine is considered beneficial for the depleted immune system. It helps preserve intestinal function as well. Both clinical practice and animal studies suggest that glutamine can be given to canc patients without stimulating tumor growth or metastasis. Nevertheless, the use of any amino acids in canc remains controversial, and patients are urged to consult with their physicians first.
The most fascinating findings regarding glutamine and canc, however, suggest that glutamine may be another weapon against breast canc. In one animal study, rats implanted with breast canc were given glutamine at the dose of 1g/kg/day. Their tumor growth was 40% less than in the control group. The natural killer cells in glutamine-supplemented rats showed 2.5 times greater activity. In addition, there was a 25% rise in glutathione levels and a decrease in inflammatory prostaglandins. Inflammatory prostaglandins (PGE2) have been found to fuel tumor growth. Glutamine can also be used as adjuvant therapy with chemotherapy such as methotrexate. Glutamine lowers the toxicity of methotrexate augmenting its effectiveness against inflammatory breast canc. In the words of the authors, "No toxicity of oral glutamine was detected. No patient showed any sign of chemotherapy-related toxicity." This is an extraordinary statement since the biggest problem with chemotherapy is its toxicity. The glutamine dose used in conjunction with methotrexate was .5g/kg/day.
One interesting clinical application of high doses of glutamine (30 gm/day) is as adjuvant therapy for sickle cell anemia. In alternative medicine, glutamine is also used as part of the treatment for AIDS.
Another note worth mentioning, nigella sativa (black cumin seed oil) has been shown to help extensively with mesothelioma canc. 250+ studies strongly suggest that this herb can be supportive for the treatment of mesothelioma canc.
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