- fueling and repairing muscle tissue
- replenishing the natural supply of L-glutamine depleted during stress
- preventing disease from entering the circulatory system
While technically a nonessential amino acid, glutamine can be depleted during times of stress, such as during digestive distress or intensive training. When the depletion is severe, supplementation with L-glutamine is required, such that this amino acid is often referred to as “conditionally essential”.
L-Glutamine Energizes and
L-glutamine is an essential link in the biochemical functions of protein synthesis and cellular energy. The tissue producing the most L-glutamine is muscle.
Under normal conditions, horses produce enough L-glutamine de-novo to support the body’s needs. However, conditions of high metabolic stress in a horse create greater needs for L-glutamine.
The natural supply of L-glutamine may be depleted by:
- GI ulcers or colitis
- intense exercise and training
Natural production of L-glutamine in the body may not be able to keep up with the horse’s demand under these stressors. Adding L-Glutamine to a horse’s diet fuels muscles and provides the additional reserves needed to recover and repair muscle tissue after physical activity.
L-Glutamine is Important for
Insufficient levels of L-glutamine can negatively impact intestinal villi, the finger-like tentacles that line the small intestine and increase the absorption of nutrients. Villous atrophy occurs when villi are eroded away by inflammation as well as ordinary wear-and-tear on the enterocytes. Supplementing with L-glutamine can strengthen intestinal villi against stressors and help maximize the surface area available for nutrient absorption along the small intestine.
L-Glutamine Protects Against
The immune system needs to receive an adequate supply of L-glutamine to protect against illness and potential tissue damage. L-Glutamine deficits can result in:
- atrophy of intestinal villi
- mucosal ulceration in the stomach and colon
- increased intestinal permeability
- digestive complications
- poor nutrient absorption
Dietary glutamine helps to avoid these problems for horses that are in training, being used for hard work or are otherwise under stress. L-Glutamine supplies nitrogen to the immune cells of the intestinal mucosa, as well as fuel for intestinal epithelial cells (which make up the first layer of the gut lining). These “enterocytes” maintain intestinal integrity, ensuring that the gut lining can absorb nutrients while simultaneously keeping pathogens out.
L-Glutamine Supports Horses’
Assess your horse’s health to determine if added digestive support may be beneficial for health and performance.
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Duckworth DH, Madison JB, et al. Arteriovenous differences for glutamine in the equine gastrointestinal tract. Am J Vet Res 53(10): 1864-7.
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