The Reality Behind Glutamine and How It Actually Gets You Results

by Erik Tremblay

Why Do We Need Glutamine?

Glutamine is a highly discussed and marketed compound that many people don’t understand the significance behind it and what appropriate doses are. We dose our BLACK ICE™ with a highly efficient dose of 3g but what is the reason behind that and why is that beneficial for you?

Glutamine is a critical amino acid in our body and is actually known as what is a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that normally our body has the ability to synthesize it so we don’t require it from our diet but under certain circumstances we do require an additional source from our diet/supplements. These circumstances can be a time of serious illness or times of strenuous exercise. During this time it is a proven fact that your blood plasma concentrations of glutamine decrease sufficiently, so why is that bad? Well glutamine is critical because it is the most abundant amino acid in the body and is used in many different biological processes. This is because it is a great molecule to donate its nitrogen group in metabolic pathways. The nitrogen it carries is directly linked in absolute vital pathways of synthesizing nitrogen-rich compounds such as DNA and different amino acids/proteins your body requires for growth/repair. A decrease in blood plasma levels from strenuous exercise can compromise the availability of nitrogen in these cellular pathways and impede not only muscle growth but immune function as well.

The Chemistry

Glutamine is an interesting compound because it is an amino acid that is known as conditionally essential. Our body actually has the ability to synthesize glutamine on it’s own from glutamate or ammonia by the enzyme glutamine synthetase. This enzyme is specifically interesting due to the reaction it catalyzes and how your bodies physiological pH is related to it. Let’s take a look at the reaction below:

Above you see the starting compound of glutamate, which is the negatively charged version of glutamic acid, which is used in the biosynthesis of proteins and as a neurotransmitter. Glutamate is essential for the production of glutamine as it is the starting compound for glutamine synthetase to synthesize glutamine. However, what is interesting about this reaction is it explains why glutamine becomes conditionally essential under times of intense physical activity. This reaction happens majorly in muscle tissue as 90% of all glutamine is synthesized in our muscle tissue (the other 10% coming from your brain and lings). That is significant as this reaction is actually competitive between water and ammonia at the second step where the Acyl-Phosphate Intermediate is formed and determines if the reaction proceeds forward to form glutamine or if it goes back words and reforms glutamate. If water(h2O) reacts with the intermediate it will steal a PO2 group and result to the starting compound of glutamate, however if ammonia (NH3) reacts with the intermediate compound, the PO4 will steal a hydrogen from ammonia resulting in an NH2 group to bind the backbone of the acyl-phosphate intermediate as the HPO4 group leaves. The ammonium ion has a better affinity to bind to the glutamine synthetase enzyme which is why its concentration is significant.

Why Is That Significant?

The fact that ammonia can influence the direction of this reaction and can better bind the glutamine synthetase enzyme reveals why it is so crucial during strenuous exercise. Ammonia is a direct by-product of ATP production which is either used up in biological reactions like these ones or filtered out to be excreted in your urine when the liver converts it into urea. When you undergo intense exercise, your body is demanding large amounts of ATP, specifically from your muscle tissue as that is what you’re forcing to contract. This leads you to rev up ATP production (check out our cellular respiration blog) causing a rise in the production of ammonia as a waste product of the reactions; most ammonia made by the body comes from the need to burn protein as a fuel source. The body will then remove the amine group (NH2) group from the amino acid by an oxidation reaction which will result in the formation of NH3. This excess ammonia, already in your muscle tissue cells, then begins to heavily outcompete water and push your body to more heavily synthesize glutamine intracellularly. However, levels of glutamine in the blood decrease during times of strenuous activity and this is where nothing really conclusive has been discovered. However, it can be theorized that intracellular levels of glutamine decrease because the lack of replenishment from the muscle tissue cells. If your cells are being signaled to generate more glutamine from the increase in ammonia concentration as a direct by-product of cellular respiration, they are most likely working to increase intracellular concentrations to secure glutamine for their individual function. So this can lead to a depletion in blood serum levels from the decrease in the amount of glutamine being released into your blood by your stressed muscle tissue cells.

Supplementing with glutamine is a great choice for anyone who does anytype of strenuous lifting/training and is looking to enhance their recovery and restore their depleted glutamine levels. That’s why we include an efficient 3g dose in BLACK ICE™ as part of it’s AminoSize™ Complex.

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