Strengthens the immune system
Glutamine is the primary source of energy for the various cells of the immune system, including T cells and macrophages. Strenuous exercise, viral and bacterial infections, and stress and trauma in general cause glutamine depletion that starves the immune cells. They decline in number and/or show diminished activity. Up to 40 g of glutamine a day can be used to sustain the immune system of AIDS patients or cancer patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation. More typical doses, such as 2-5 mg/day, should be sufficient for healthy people. Athletes may want to increase their dosage on an as-needed basis if they tend to succumb to infections after heavy exercise such as marathon running.
In addition, glutamine is a substrate for glutathione, a tripeptide amino acid that acts as one of our master antioxidants, and also helps enhance the immune function. Though large doses of glutamine stimulate the immune response even under heavy stress, it is important to reduce stress as much as possible. Stress hormones may interfere with glutamine metabolism in the immune cells. This is where relaxation and DHEA supplementation might prove to be very helpful in addition to glutamine.
In recent years, the molecular biology of these cells and the process of chemical communication among them has attracted considerable interest, and much progress has been made in our understanding of some regulatory aspects of the immune system. This system is of fundamental importance not only in preventing or limiting infection, but also in the overall process of repair and recovery from injury. It is therefore of importance in clinical conditions of trauma, sepsis, burns and recovery from surgery.