The extremely popular amino acid L-Glutamine can be found in protein powders, beans, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, and of course, L-Glutamine supplements.
Use in the Body:
Glutamine is highly in demand throughout the body. It is used in the gut and immune system extensively to maintain optimal performance. 60% of free-form amino acids floating in skeletal muscles are comprised of L-glutamine. In addition, it also plays a very important role in protein metabolism, and it appears to be a very important nutrient for body builders. When supplemented, it may help body builders reduce the amount of muscle deterioration that occurs because other tissues that need glutamine will not rob the glutamine stored in the muscle cells.
Research shows that after intensely working out, glutamine levels in the body are reduced by as much as 50%. Since the body relies on glutamine as cellular fuel for the immune system, scientific studies have shown that glutamine supplementation can minimize the breakdown of muscle tissue and improve protein metabolism. Its effects on replenishing the body after stress or trauma have been shown in Europe where it is commonly given to patients in hospitals. Glutamine’s cell-volumizing effects have also been shown in several studies. No conclusive studies have been done to evaluate the effects of L-glutamine supplementation on weight-training adults; however, a recent study showed up to a 400% increase in growth-hormone levels when as little as 2 grams of free-form L-glutamine supplement was consumed!
Bodybuilders can particularly gain from the intake of glutamine. Since bodybuilders use a lot of their glutamine when working out, they are more susceptible to health related problems, as the immune system relies heavily on this amino acid. Catabolism or muscle break down can occur if the body robs muscles of glutamine for use elsewhere such as nitrogen transport or maintaining the immune system.
Glutamine supplementation is certainly important in keeping muscles building–not deteriorating. Those who suffer from muscular cramps or pain—particularly elderly people also will benefit from supplementing with Glutamine.
Normal supplementation is healthy mainly because glutamine is helpful after prolonged periods of exercise (for example, a workout or exercise in which amino acids are required for use) and replenishes amino acid supply; this being the main reason glutamine is recommended during fasting or for people who suffer from physical trauma, immune deficiencies, or cancer. A secondary benefit to bettering body immunity is fortification of the intestinal tract, responsible for roughly 70% of the body’s immunity.
It is also known that glutamine has various effects in reducing healing time after operations. Hospital waiting times after abdominal surgery are reduced by providing nutrition regimens containing glutamine to patients. Clinical trials have revealed that patients on glutamine based supplementation regimens have improved nitrogen balances, improved lymphocyte recovery and intestinal permeability (in postoperative patients) – in comparison to those who had no glutamine within their dietary regime; all without any side-effects.
Dosing and Possible Side Effects:
Endurance and strength athletes can benefit by taking between 10 to 20 grams of L-glutamine per day, although clinical studies have not determined a precise amount for muscle metabolism optimization. The timing of the doses is far more critical.
Below are sample guidelines on effective L-Glutamine supplementation:
- Pre-Workout: 5g dose (1 tsp)
- Acts as an anti-catabolic to reduce muscle breakdown
- Extremely effective when used in conjunction with BCAA’s or HMB
- Post Workout: 5g dose (1 tsp)
- Glutamine stores can be taxed as much as 50% of normal levels
- Body is insulin sensitive and ready for absorbing what is has expended
- Reduces post-workout muscle catabolism and begins the recovery process
- Before Bed: 10g (2 tsp)
- A very potent secretagogue, helps boost the secretion of naturally occurring HGH (human growth hormone)
- Major muscle recovery occurs at night and L-Glutamine replenishment is most critical at this juncture
There are no side effects associated with L-glutamine, because it is a nutrient naturally occurring in the body. Reports of an upset stomach are associated with ingesting a great deal of glutamine during one dose; using smaller doses is recommended if this occurs.