(NaturalNews) Amino acids are critical players in nearly every metabolic function within the body. One of the most critical amino acids is L-glutamine, which is by far the most abundant free amino acid in the body. It accounts for over 60% of the free amino acids in blood, brain, organs, and muscle tissue. This critical amino acid is necessary for a number of different functions in our body, and boosting our circulating levels of L-glutamine can help a number of different health conditions and improve our overall quality of life.
Glutamine plays a very important role in cardiovascular function by supplying a key energy source for endothelial cells that line blood vessels. Additionally, glutamine regulates nitric oxide synthesis by these endothelial cells. This is critical for maintaining blood vessel tone and reducing inflammation in the blood vessel walls.
Glutamine is also a very important player in healthy neurological function and has been shown to improve mood, concentration, & memory. Glutamine easily crosses over the blood-brain barrier where it is converted into L-glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is essential for cerebral function. Glutamic acid is unique in that it can be converted into an energy source for neuronal cells when blood sugar is low. This characteristic is thought to be responsible for glutamine's ability to damper sugar and alcohol cravings.
Glutamine is also a critical part of our digestive system. It is the primary nutrient for the cells of the intestinal lining where it helps regulate cellular reproduction. Through this mechanism, glutamine helps prevent and rebuild a leaky gut which is common in people with inflammatory and auto-immune conditions. For this reason glutamine supplementation has been shown to be very effective in individuals with ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, & irritable bowel syndrome.
Glutamine also helps regulate cells as they absorb water across the junction between the small intestine and blood stream. This is a very important part of keeping the body from losing fluid and becoming dehydrated. When water is not absorbed back into the body, diarrhea is the result. Diarrhea can be disastrous because we lose both water and other vital nutrients.
Finally, glutamine plays a very important role in both cellular and systematic detoxification processes. The lymphatic system maintains fluid and protein balance in the body, carries immune cells, and filters out toxins that are stored in tissues. Glutamine is a key energy source for lymphatic cells allowing them to better remove toxic debris. Additionally, glutamine acts as a transport molecule to carry ammonia out of major tissues, including the brain, where it is shipped to the liver for conversion into urea.
Glutamine is found in many different foods with the highest levels found in grass-fed beef, bison, chicken, & free range eggs. Raw dairy products from grass-fed cows and goats are also very high in L-glutamine. This includes grass-fed, non-denatured whey protein powder, which is considered the most bioavailable form of L-glutamine from an animal source. Using an ample amount of this form of whey protein in a shake with coconut milk, berries, & cinnamon every day is a fantastic way to naturally boost L-glutamine levels.
Red Cabbage is considered the most dense vegetable form of L-glutamine. An amazing way of bringing in the high quality nutrition from red cabbage is through juicing or shredding & fermenting it. Red cabbage sauerkraut made with apple cider vinegar may be one of the most bioavailable ways to consume L-glutamine; this is due to the deep fermentation processes that create an abundance of enzymes and good bacteria that allow amino acids and other nutrients to be better absorbed and utilized within the body.
Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information go to www.exodushc.com To find a Maximized Living doctor near you go to www.maximizedliving.com