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Ageing - Years can be added to life when changes are made in lifestyle

Years can be added to life when changes are made in lifestyle

Glutamine: The Secret of Healthy Ageing

The mysteries of healthy aging have baffled people for centuries. The Bible equates long life with spiritual awareness. ponce De Leon crossed the ocean to find the Fountain of Youth (he found Florida instead). Yogurt, vitamin E, and exercise have all had their proponents. And recently, a slew of hormones and other so-called anti-aging remedies have come into vogue.

Still, there are certainties associated with aging. The body loses its muscle and therefore, its strength with age. The digestive tract loses some of its ability to absorb nutrients fully, leading to bloating, constipation and a host of other digestive ailments of the older years, and to deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals. Digestive problems are made worse by the handfuls of medications that are prescribed to the older population. The metabolism slows down and the need for calories decreases. Fatigue comes sooner and easier. The immune system weakens, leading to decreased resistance to infections and to cancer. And it becomes more difficult to recover from each injury and illness.

Recently, research has provided an insight into some of these changes and given a clue as to their possible slowing. One nutrient seems to be involved in all these processes, and its depletion can lead to fatigue, muscle loss, damage to intestinal cells, immune system sluggishness, and less resistance to stress. That nutrient is the amino acid glutamine.

Glutamine is the most common free amino acid in the body. It is the preferred food for the small intestine cells whose job it is to absorb valuable nutrients. The glutamine is a concentrated source of glutamate, which provides ATp, the energy source that drives most body functions. Studies show that these intestinal cells don't utilize glucose for fuel as do other cells. They get their ATp, and thus their energy, from glutamine in the diet. This is why there is a movement in hospitals to add glutamine to the artificial nutrition that is given to chronically ill and injured patients, and there is widespread support in the research for this addition.

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