One of the most freely available amino acids in the body, glutamine is derived mainly from skeletal muscles. The liver, kidneys, GI tract, and immunesystemutilizeglutaminereadily. Inside the organs, glutamine transports nitrogen and carbon.1 Regarded mainly as nonessential (the body can manufacture someamount), glutamine isessential for proper immunesystem function and GI integrity (adequate amounts are produced by the intestinal mucosa, but not in amounts necessary in times of extreme physiologic stress), and playsa role in maintaining overall amino acid balance in the body. Because of these essential roles, glutamine should, more appropriately, be considered a conditionally essential amino acid.2
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