The Benefits Of Glutamine!
What Is Glutamine?
The benefits of Glutamine are clear. Glutamine is created in the human body when the non-essential amino acid glutamate (or glutamic acid) is broken down and binds with nitrogen-containing ammonia molecules. Think of glutamine as a kind of nitrogen sponge. It mops up ammonia and shuttles nitrogen between tissues, where it can be used for cell growth and tissue repair, among many other functions. It’s been reported that some 30-35 percent of all nitrogen derived from protein breakdown is transported in the form of glutamine. Glutamine can also be broken down to re-synthesize glutamate, which makes glutamine a critical source of ammonia and nitrogen.
During intense training, Glutamine levels are greatly depleted in your body, which decreases strength, stamina and recovery. It could take up to 6 days for Glutamine levels to return to normal – and Glutamine plays a key role in protein synthesis.
What Does It Do?
Glutamine like other amino acids is involved in regulating protein synthesis and breakdown. However, there’s far more to it than that. Glutamine significantly affects BCAA metabolism, gut barrier maintenance, normal immune function, glucose formation, water transport, neurotransmission, and more.
Your kidneys are a primary consumer of glutamine use that’s where the ammonia cleaved from glutamine works to maintain your body’s acid-base balance. Anywhere you find ammonia, you’ll find glutamine. As metabolic acidosis increases—as in response to intense training or a high-protein diet—renal uptake of glutamine soars. In fact, one study found that just four days of a high-protein, high-fat diet, was enough to cause a 25 percent drop in glutamine levels in the plasma and muscle tissue.
If all of these competing uses begin to outpace your body’s ability to produce glutamine, then you may start to show signs of deficiency, including muscle wasting, depleted energy, and increased susceptibility to infections.
Glutamine and Performance Application
Despite glutamine’s various functions, little evidence suggests it will directly result in increased muscle mass, reduced body fat, or gains in muscle strength or power in normal, healthy people. However, given how stressful intense training is on the human body, athletes may see certain benefits from supplementing with significant levels of glutamine, or from stacking it with other supplements.
Glutamine is especially useful for people ‘cutting down’. Especially during summer when you’re trying to get rid of some body fat without losing any muscle. Glutamine is needed throughout your body for optimal performance. Your small intestines requires the most Glutamine in your body, and your immune system also needs Glutamine because Glutamine levels deplete during workouts, bodybuilders are more susceptible to illnesses – this is why L-Glutamine supplementation is so important, not necessarily to gain more muscle, but for the ‘maintenance’ effects of L-Glutamine.
Extracellular concentrations of glutamine have also been shown to activate the signaling pathway mTOR, which is known to be responsible for increasing muscle size. However, here again, the benefits of glutamine supplementation required that other conditions be met: in this case, mTOR signaling appeared to require the presence of BCAAs (leucine, most importantly), as well as some threshold level of cellular hydration.
Full list of glutamine benefits:
• Glutamine has been linked to protein synthesis. It prevents your muscle from being catabolized (eaten up) in order to provide Glutamine for other cells in the body.
• Glutamine helps maintain cell volume and hydration, speeding up wound and burn healing and recovery.
• Glutamine benefits you by replenishing declining Glutamine levels during intense workouts.
• Research has shown Glutamine can help you produce growth hormone levels. A study has shown 2 grams of L-Glutamine increased growth hormones by over 400%.
• Glutamine may serve to boost your immune system. For bodybuilders, this is important since heavy workouts tend to greatly deplete Glutamine levels. (Glutamine is a primary energy source for your immune system.)
• Glutamine is one of the most important nutrients for your intestines. It has the ability to ‘repair a leaky gut’ by maintaining the structural integrity of the bowels.
• Bet you didn’t know this: It can even cure ulcers! Studies have found that 1.6 grams of Glutamine a day had a 92% cure rate in 4 weeks.
How Should I Take It?
It appears that the daily intake of supplemental glutamine needs to be high—at least 20-30 g per day, consumed frequently—in order to raise plasma glutamine concentrations.
To provide some perspective, consider that critically ill patients usually receive a constant intravenous infusion of between 20-30 g of glutamine per day. However, the bioavailability of infused glutamine they receive is 100 percent. It’s no more than 30 percent from orally consumed glutamine.
10 grams in 3 Divided Doses:
• Taken with First meal or Shake of the day along with BCAA’s
• Pre Workout with BCAA’s
• Post Workout with BCAA’s
Is There Any Side effects With L-Glutamine Supplementation?
Should you worry about Glutamine side effects? In short, no. You shouldn’t worry about Glutamine side effects, as studies have found it to have no adverse side effects, and also because Glutamine naturally occurs in your body, it has no health risks. However, like all supplements, too much is never a good idea. Taking excessive amounts of L-Glutamine has led to upset stomachs, so you should follow the recommended dosages.
Yes, glutamine is a key player in a whole host of functions that dramatically impact your ability to achieve your overall health and fitness goals. However, if you’re depending solely upon glutamine or aren’t using enough, you may be disappointed.
Maximizing glutamine’s effects on your body requires you to use your head first. If you’re not training hard, your body probably can supply you all you need. But if you’re the type who punishes your body regularly, taking it in the right way could help you keep performing at an elite level.
So, are you convinced yet? Not only is Glutamine important for bodybuilders to help prevent metabolism, it’s also important for regular folks with all the benefits it provides, and no side effects. So, what are you waiting for?
References 1. Supplementation "Bodybuilding For You", 2002 2. Glutamine FAQ's "The Ministry of Fitness", 2000 3. Glutamine Q&A "Pas-Fitness", New Castle, DE, 2002 4. "The Healing Nutrients Within", E R Braverman & C C Pfeiffer, Keats, 1987. 5. Elia M, Lunn PG. The use of glutamine in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in man. Nutrition, 13;7-8:743-747 1997. 6. Keast D, et al. depression of plasma glutamine concentration after exercise stress and its possible influence on the immune system. Med J Aust, 162;1:15-18 1995. 7. Quest Health Library, "l-glutamine", 2000.
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