Glutamine is a building block of protein, known as an amino acid. It is unique because even though your body will produce it on its own, it is considered a conditionally essential amino acid. “Conditionally essential” means that sometimes your body is unable to produce enough to keep up with all the important body functions that require glutamine. Glutamine helps your body digest foods, regulate blood sugar, protect your digestive tract lining, strengthen your immune system and much more. In a healthy individual, the body produces enough glutamine to maintain these functions. However, if an individual has leaky gut, chronic illness, high inflammation or constant stress, their body releases more cortisol, the stress hormone, than usual, which can deplete your body’s stores of glutamine. During these times, your body can greatly benefit from abundant glutamine so it can begin healing from these conditions.
For those who have one of the conditions listed above, it is important to try to increase the body’s overall glutamine amounts by consuming foods that are rich sources of glutamine. Even though most dietary sources of glutamine are found in grass fed animal proteins, vegetarians can find high sources of glutamine in lentils, peas, beans and vegetables, such as cabbage and beets. Increasing these foods in your diet can help your body heal faster and get you back to feeling your best.
Written by: Tori Parsons, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.