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Glutamine is the most abundant naturally occurring, non-essential amino acid in the human body and one of the only amino acids capable of directly crossing the blood-brain barrier. It can be found circulating in the blood as well as stored in the skeletal muscles. Even though it is officially classified as "non-essential," there are some authorities who believe it becomes conditionally essential in states physical stress (such as that induced by heavy exercising). Higher intake of glutamine from food or supplements is usually encouraged during these states.
Glutamine plays a primary role in a variety of biochemical functions:
- Aids in DNA synthesis*
- Aids in protein synthesis*
- Primary source of fuel for cells lining the inside of the small intestine*
- Aids in immune function*
- Alternative source of fuel for the brain*
Glutamine's benefits have been studied extensively over the past 10-15 years and suggest to be beneficial for bodybuilders and athletes.