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Thinking

Can L-Glutamine Improve My Focus?

L-glutamine, or simply glutamine, is an important nutrient for good health and an excellent contributor to acute focus and cognitive performance.

Glutamine plays an important role in the immune system and the regulation of a healthy digestive tract. It also works to repair injuries and restore the body after strenuous exercise. Therefore it is used extensively in the fitness community as well as for surgical procedures.

When the body is operating under extreme conditions it uses up much more glutamine than can be produced in the body alone. A body that is experiencing especially strenuous mental and physical output or recovering from serious injury will need to increase its consumption of glutamine to avoid being glutamine deficit.

As part of a plan to improve cognitive performance, glutamine offers fundamental resources and without it, cognition and brain health can deteriorate. In the following article, we will examine the role glutamine plays for enhanced focus.

Glutamine and Neurotransmitter Production


Glutamine can be produced within the body. About 90% of the glutamine made in your body occurs in the muscles. Glutamine is an important amino acid that functions as a precursor to chemical communicators that directly affect cognitive function and the capacity for concentration. 1

 width= Glutamate and Aspartate


Glutamate and glutamine are two different amino acids but one can be converted into the other in a reversible reaction. Glutamate and aspartate are excitatory neurotransmitters meaning they act as brain stimulants. When the mind is applied to learning or producing solutions to its environment, excitatory neurotransmitters work to fire up brain synapses.

Glutamate is especially important for memory and acquired learning. Aspartate has a similar function to glutamate and works to support cognitive function and the capacity to focus. Furthermore, glutamate functions as a potential fuel source for powering the brain when glucose is not readily available. 2

GABA l-glutamine


Glutamine also increases levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and has the opposite effect of glutamate and aspartate.

Excitatory neurotransmitters accelerate the brain and excite the neurons into action which is necessary for powerful focus and concentration. Inhibitory neurotransmitters like GABA are equally important as they relax these neurons and keep synapses from becoming overexcited and burned out.

How Glutamine Improves Focus


By supporting the production of these important chemical communicators, glutamine affects biological processes in the immune system, digestive tract, and even the skin. Read on to learn about the most important ways focus can be improved through a healthy intake of glutamine.

l-glutamine Improved Performance of Neurotransmitters


Much like an automobile, the brain works best when it is receiving all the fluids and fuel it needs for the job it has to perform. Brain functions like focus, learning, and regular maintenance are directly improved with the increased presence of neurotransmitters. By the same measure, when these communicators begin to run dry, cognitive deficiency results.

Glutamate plays a central role in improving cognitive function and the ability to focus while GABA plays the role of an inhibitor. This synergy of neurotransmitters allows this process to continue indefinitely. 3 Additionally, GABA plays an equally important role in regulating sleeping habits. Good sleep is important to the way acquired information throughout the day is processed and stored. 4

Decreased Distractions


A large part of being able to focus and concentrate is ignoring the impulses and urges of the moment that tug on attention in a multidirectional strain. Part of the inhibitory effects of GABA work to reduce the effects these motivators can have on the mind in focus.

Some experts believe GABA could play an important role in controlling the symptoms of ADHD. Clinical studies have shown that those with a tendency to ADHD also have a naturally lower level of GABA. GABA supplementation has shown some potential in treating this disorder by decreasing impulsivity. 5

Chemical Balance  width=


For the best results, glutamate and GABA work to keep the brain balanced between a fine line of concentration and relaxation.

When these functions are not properly synched, it most often results in an excess of glutamate. This can lead to a host of brain conditions including Lou Gehrig’s, epilepsy, and moodiness. Excessive glutamate and insufficient GABA can also lead to sleep disruption and insomnia that also compromise cognition. 6

Alternative Brain Energy


Energy is in high demand to power cognitive function, protect the brain from unhealthy elements of our environment, and evade natural wear and tear. Luckily, the brain is designed with failsafe plans that ensure the brain remains powered despite changes in the diet or lifestyle.

In addition to playing the role of a neurotransmitter, glutamate derived from glutamine can also act as an alternative power source. Through the process of oxidation, a single glutamate molecule can produce 12 ATP molecules of brain power. ATP is the main energy source for powering cells. 7

 width= Other Potential Benefits


In addition to directly improving the function of the brain and nervous system, glutamine provides several other important benefits that promote a healthier brain. Glutamine stimulates the thyroid and kicks the metabolism into gear, which keeps the brain and muscles systems energized after hours of output. Glutamine is best known for its efficacy in addressing conditions of the bowels. When the gut is functioning optimally, energy assimilated from food is increased.

Finally, glutamine functions as an effective anti-inflammatory in the immune system. While the inflammatory reaction is important for healing, prolonged inflammatory conditions can have serious effects on brain health and function. Glutamine works to soothe inflammation which can do wonders for improved focus and mental output.

Risks and Precautions


Glutamine is generally considered safe for supplementation in doses of 40 mg a day. Cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy are few of the known risks involved with taking glutamine.

Cirrhosis is a liver condition that can be adversely affected by glutamine supplementation. Hepatic encephalopathy is another liver condition that can lead to poor cognitive functioning. Glutamine can aggravate this condition. 8

Not enough is enough is known about how glutamine supplementation can affect pregnant women and unborn children. Experts recommend obtaining glutamine through food sources and sticking to a diet suitable for a healthy pregnancy.

If you have any other questions, be sure to speak with a qualified medical professional before beginning your supplementation.

Final Notes


Even though glutamine is made in the body, don’t underestimate the benefits of doubling up on this important amino acid when feeling the effects of stress and high demands. An extra dose of glutamine can keep the body well-resourced and the brain functioning optimally to achieve maximum focus.

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