Glutamine is the amino acid with uncharged polar side chains. The polarity is due to the presence of functional groups in their structure that forms the hydrogen bond with the water. The functional groups in the glutamine are the amide groups. Glutamine amino acid is a non-essential as it is synthesized in our body from the other amino acid, mainly the glutamic acid. CAA and CAG are two of its codons. Glutamine has been found in an abundant amount in our blood.
Although it need not be given via food as it is manufactured in our body itself but it is richly present in many foods. Some of its sources include
Animal sources: It is found in large amount in the meat, fish, eggs, chicken, dairy products like milk, cheese etc.
Plant sources: In plants, it is found in many vegetables like in spinach, cabbage, and raw parsley. It is also present in beans, wheat etc
This amino acid glutamine, which contains an amide linkage with the ammonia at the gamma-carboxyl, is formed from the glutamine amino acid catalyzed by an enzyme called glutamine synthetase. This reaction is driven by the hydrolysis of ATP. In addition to producing glutamine amino acid for the protein synthesis, this reaction also serves as a major mechanism for the detoxification of the ammonia, especially in the brain and liver.
- Glutamine can also give rise to another amino acid from which it has arisen itself i.e. glutamic acid. It reacts with water and gives rise to glutamic acid along with generation of ammonia. This ammonia is then used for neutralization of the hydrogen ions in renal tubules. This is its important function as this amino acid regulates the acid-base balance in the kidney.
- Glutamic acid crosses the blood-brain barrier and is found useful for the brain. It is said to be the brain fuel.
- It is important for our muscles as well as it synthesizes muscles proteins and prevents the muscles from wasting. It is found useful in treating wasting of muscles due to some diseases.
- Glutamine is glucogenic and gives rise to glucose which serves as a source of energy in our body.
- It also donates carbon atom which is important for the citric acid cycle.
- It is important for the intestinal linings where it is located and provides nutrients there. This lead to a normal function of the intestinal villi.
- Glutamine has been found to use up by the white blood cells of our body; therefore it also performs an important function for our immune system.
- It also plays role in gats metabolism in the body.
- It also produces glutathione in the liver. Glutathione is essential for detoxification of harmful free radicals.
- It has also been found to regulate our blood glucose levels. Normal blood glucose level is important for our brain since our brain utilizes glucose.
These are some of its function. These days it is also available in the supplement forms. These are helpful for treating a number of chronic diseases. They also improve the functions of our brain.
Amna Sheikh is a medical doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelors in Economics and Statistics. She is also a medical writer working as a freelancer for 10+ years and she is specialized in medical, health, and pharmaceutical writing, regulatory writing & clinical research. All her work is supported by a strong academic and professional experience.