Bone broth is renowned for reducing gut inflammation and improving digestive health. In fact, it’s a traditional superfood. But the bone broth isn’t for everyone, which is why if you’re looking to reap the powerful digestive-healing benefits of bone broth as a vegan, then you need to know about glutamine.
Glutamine is an amino acid, one of 20 that our bodies require. It is the most abundant amino acid in circulation throughout the body, since our bodies produce glutamine naturally it’s not one of the nine essential amino acids that we can only get from food.
However, it is considered “conditionally essential.“ If you’re too stressed, sick or overworking your body, your body won’t be able to create enough glutamine to support its own needs, meaning you need to get it from food sources, too.
Health Benefits Of Glutamine
Making sure you are getting plenty of glutamine in your diet comes with some major health benefits.
This amino acid is critical fuel for white blood cells. If your body isn’t producing enough glutamine, the immune system can become compromised, and healing can significantly slow down. Some studies have shown that supplementation with glutamine leads to decreased infections and shorter hospital stays after surgery, thanks to its immune empowering effects.
Essentially, since glutamine is legitimate immune system fuel, it helps your body heal at its peak capacity. Getting enough glutamine through diet during times of healing can also discourage the body from breaking down precious muscle mass to unlock stored amino acids, which is always a good thing.
Gut Health Benefits
Did you know the intestines are considered the largest part of the immune system, thanks to our trillions of beneficial gut bacteria? That’s why the digestive benefits and immune benefits of glutamine kind of go hand in hand.
Like white blood cells, intestinal cells feed off of glutamine. Proper levels of this amino acid ensure the health of a protective lining within your gut to keep bacteria and waste inside your intestines.
When this lining fails and bacteria drift outside of your intestines, that’s called leaky gut. Since glutamine supports the strength and health of this lining AND feeds intestinal cells it is a crucial amino acid for those struggling with healing their gut inflammation.
Vegan Sources Of Glutamine
Naturally, glutamine exists as either L-glutamine and D-glutamine. For our purposes, we’re only discussing L-glutamine here. Bone broth, meats, and cheeses are major dietary sources of glutamine, so omnivores shouldn’t have problems getting enough in their diets, but vegans need to be a little more conscious of their, intake if they want to supplement the body’s needs.
Legumes are a good source of glutamine, too. Soy protein is 9.1% glutamine. Focusing on getting the full spectrum of amino acids through your diet is a good way to keep yourself healthy and balanced.
Again, your body produces glutamine on its own, but if you tax your body hard, have chronic digestive issues or have recently fallen ill, it’s smart to become conscious of your consumption.