Overextending a joint or muscle can cause damage -- sprains or strains -- in the tendons, ligaments and muscles that support a joint. Injuries to tendons and ligaments require longer periods of time to heal that similar injuries to muscles. Supplementing with the amino acid L-glutamine can help speed the recovery process. Follow your doctor's guidelines in treating and rehabilitating sprained tendons.
Tearing of the tendon tissue underlies all sprains. Sprains are classified into three grades according to severity: first degree with minor tears, second degree with moderate to severe tears and third degree with a complete tear. Symptoms of sprains include swelling, pain and tenderness. Second- and third-degree sprains can cause severely decreased range of motion and joint instability.
Mild first-degree sprains normally can be treated using the RICE method: rest, ice, compression and elevation. More severe sprains also may require immobilization as they begin to heal. Severe sprains and strains may require surgical repair of the tendon or ligament. Moderate to severe sprains should be treated under a physician's supervision. Your doctor may recommend prescription or over-the-counter analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication.
L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your body. L-glutamine is nonessential, meaning your body can produce sufficient amounts under normal conditions. Extreme physical activity, stress, surgery, prolonged illness or a low-protein diet can contribute to decreased glutamine levels. Amino acids, such as L-glutamine, are required to produce structural proteins to repair injuries such as strains and sprains.
How it Helps
Glutamine can help strengthen the immune system, prevent infections and lower stress hormone levels, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Adequate dietary protein levels are required for proper wound healing. Studies reported in "Alternative Medicine Review" have shown the amino acids L-glutamine and L-arginine assist with wound healing above the effects of having sufficient dietary protein. L-glutamine and L-arginine are known to be abundant in muscles and tendons and play important roles in the immune system as well.
L-glutamine occurs naturally in your body and does not, itself, have any side effects. However, glutamine supplements may contain allergens or other impurities. Consult with your doctor before beginning supplementation. Supplemental L-glutamine is safe in doses of up to 14 grams per day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, although results may be seen with as little as 500 mg. Consult with your doctor to determine the best dose for you based on your injury, overall health and diet. Do not take L-glutamine with hot beverages or food, as heat denatures the amino acid.