L-Glutamine

(Known as Glutamine, L-Glutamine)

tickPart of the Amino Acid group
tickSupports the immune system
tickMuscle Builder
tickAids health
tickAids recovery
tickBoosts growth hormone
How does it work?
Glutamine is considered a "conditionally essential amino acid" because it can be manufactured in the body, but under extreme physical stress (such as training with weights 3-4 times each week) the demand for glutamine exceeds the body's ability to make it.
Who is it used for?
Anyone who exercises on a regular basis (3-4 times per week) may deplete their glutamine stores. This is because they are placing a large demand on their muscles, where much of the glutamine in the body is stored. Athletes who overstress their muscles (without adequate time for recovery between workouts) may be at increased risk for infection and often recover slowly from injuries. This is also true for people who participate in prolonged exercise, such as ultra-marathon runners. Glutamine supplementation is extremely useful for anyone who exercises regularly, especially individuals wanting to gain muscle size and strength.
How does it work?
Glutamine is a nutrient essential for muscle growth, as it's the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue. Your body is able to make glutamine on its own. However, intense physical exercise, or any form of prolonged stress, can deplete glutamine levels. This is why most informed nutrition experts now recommend the use of glutamine supplements.

Glutamine's power is common knowledge to doctors and clinicians, who regularly use it to treat patients with illness, injury or infection [3]. Several types of important immune cells rely on glutamine for energy. Without it, the immune system would be impaired. Glutamine also appears to be necessary for normal brain function and digestion.

During periods of intense training, your can't make enough glutamine. Without an adequate supply of glutamine, muscle growth takes a back seat while your body simply recovers from your last workout. In fact, studies show that strength athletes (such as powerlifters) have lower Glutamine levels than cyclists or runners [1]. Regular high intensity exercise can lead to a 45% drop in glutamine levels in just 7 days [2]. One trial carried in the prestigious Journal of Nutrition shows that large doses of glutamine accelerate muscle growth four-fold compared to a placebo [5].

Glutamine stimulates the synthesis of new protein within your muscle, thereby facilitating new muscle growth, and increasing the size and strength of your muscles by increasing muscle cell volumisation (increasing the retention of water within muscle fibres), in much the same way as Creatine does. That's why adding glutamine to your diet is so important. The bigger the "pool" of glutamine in your body, the faster your muscles grow.

Not only does Glutamine play a vital role in building muscle, studies also show that glutamine boosts growth hormone levels, helping you burn fat faster. As little as two grams of glutamine can double growth hormone levels after just 30 minutes [4].
How do I use it?
For maximum results, most experts recommend the use of 5-10 grams of glutamine daily, in one or two divided doses throughout the day.
What results can I expect?
Glutamine supplementation for several weeks usually leads to an increase in muscle "fullness". Most athletes also report a greater ability to recover between workouts. Used regularly for several months, glutamine will also make your body more resistant to infection.
What can it be combined with?
Glutamine can be consumed alone, but most athletes and bodybuilders combine it with other nutrients, such as Creatine, Whey protein (which itself is rich in glutamine) and HMB. Initial research also shows that glutamine absorption is greater when combined with a mixture of bicarbonates (potassium and sodium bicarbonates), which serve to reduce acidity in the stomach.

1. Hiscock, N., & Mackinnon, L.T. (1998). A comparison of plasma glutamine concentration in athletes from different sports. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 30, 1693-1696
2. Newsholme, E.A. (1994). Biomechanical mechanisms to explain immunosuppression in well-trained and overtrained athletes. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 15, S142-147
3. Smith, R.J. (1990). Glutamine metabolism and its physiologic importance. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, 14, 40S-44S
4. Welbourne, T.C. (1995). Increased plasma bicarbonate and growth hormone after an oral glutamine. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61, 1058-1061
5. Shabert JK, Winslow C, Lacey JM, Wilmore DW. (1999). Glutamine-antioxidant supplementation increases body cell mass in AIDS patients with weight loss: a randomized, double-blind controlled trial. Nutrition, 15, 860-864

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