Sustamine, alanyl-glutamine, for cellular hydration


Glutamine may be very helpful for many of us. It's the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle and I'd bet many of us are low. In some studies, adding glutamine has improved the outcomes for patients in the ICU.

Sustamine is the brand name of a glutamine peptide that is purported to have all the benefits of glutamine but also will increase cellular hydration. It does this by increasing intracellular potassium which drags water along for the ride into the cell.

When there are HPA axis dysfunctions, often the sodium potassium pumps don't work as well. People often end up with low intracellular potassium and higher serum potassium. This may be one way to reverse that problem, with a very low risk of undesirable side effects.

Sustamine is included in many different hydration products in lower doses and can also be bought as a bulk supplement powder by itself. I prefer the bulk powder because then it can be dosed higher.

Glutamine is the first "carrier" in cells of the nitrogen derived from the catabolism of proteins and it stimulates GLP-1 (glucose-like peptide-1), thus it helps maintain circulating glucose levels as well as promotes the synthesis of the same.

But the main factor that arouses my (and not only) interest is how it improves cellular hydration. Let's see how:

Alanine seems to influence hydration and cell volume by raising the concentration of intracellular potassium, dragging water inside the cell. Glutamine helps keep the equilibrium of the acid-base balance (a particularly popular subject in recent years).

But what has glutamine got to do with it?

Well, muscles produce lactic acid in training, which passes into the bloodstream and acidifies it, giving us that potentially pleasant feeling related to pump, which can then become annoying or a hindrance in certain sports performances.

The increase of lactic acid induces a decrease of pH, and renal glutamine consumption can be significant, which then indirectly raises the percentage of bicarbonate.

After the newly synthesised bicarbonate has reached the blood, it serves as a buffer by binding to the blood's acidic portion in order to make the pH neutral and restore the acid-base balance.

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