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Nutrition. 2002 May;18(5):371-5.

Can glutamine modify the apparent immunodepression observed after prolonged, exhaustive exercise?

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  • 1University Department of Biochemistry, Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Glutamine is an important fuel for some cells of the immune system. In situations of stress, such as clinical trauma, starvation, or prolonged, strenuous exercise, the concentration of glutamine in blood is decreased, often substantially. In endurance athletes this decrease occurs concomitantly with relatively transient immunodepression. Provision of glutamine or a glutamine precursor has been found to decrease the incidence of illness in endurance athletes. To date, it has not been established precisely which aspect of the immune system is affected by glutamine feeding during the transient immunodepression that occurs after prolonged, strenuous exercise. However, there is increasing evidence that neutrophils may be implicated.

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