- Everything you need to know about glutamine, and why it is a very popular supplement.
- The important role glutamine plays in skeletal muscle.
- About the research that indicates glutamine may be anti-catabolic.
- How the immune system relies on glutamine as a primary fuel source.
- When the best time to take glutamine is.
- The potential benefits of glutamine for muscle building.
This glutamine supplement fact sheet contains all the essential stuff you need to know about glutamine. If you have any questions about the glutamine supplement information on this page you can ask questions in our forum. It's free to join! If would like to purchase cheap glutamine supplements online follow the links at the bottom of the page.
In the bodybuilding world, glutamine is known as one of the best supplements on the market. Glutamine is a "non essential" amino acid. Non essential does not mean that it is not essential, it means the human body produces it naturally. Sixty percent of our glutamine is found in the skeletal muscle, with the remainder residing in the lungs, liver, and stomach. Glutamine has a unique molecule structure with 2 nitrogen side chains. This makes glutamine the primary transporter of nitrogen in the muscle cells.
In the past couple years, glutamine has gained importance through studies revealing its unique contribution to protein synthesis (muscle growth), anti-catabolic breakdown functions (prevents muscle tissue breaking down) and growth hormone elevating effects. Due to these effects, glutamine plays an important part in your body by aiding recovery of muscle cells. Under normal circumstances the human body is more than capable of producing enough glutamine necessary. But in some cases more glutamine is required than the human body is able to produce, this is called glutamine depletion. Glutamine depletion can be caused by illness like the common cold, extensive burns, surgery etc. The other main cause of glutamine depletion is intense physical exercise.
As mentioned previously, during times of disease or intense physical exercise the demand from glutamine in your body increases. The cells in the immune system rely on glutamine as their primary fuel source. When you get a disease or injury your immune system reacts, and thus more glutamine is required. People who are prone to sickness, or residing in areas where there is disease, are likely to need glutamine supplements to maintain a healthy immune system.
Glutamine supplementation is also to promote nitrogen retention and prevent the loss of muscle proteins. Within the first few minutes of your workout your muscles begin to release glutamine. If your glutamine levels fall too low your muscles may adopt a catabolic (breaking down) state. In extreme cases this may result in muscle loss. Glutamine is also largely responsible for transporting nitrogen throughout the body during instense physical activity. A positive nitrogen balance and high glutamine levels are a necessary criteria in the effort to gain muscle mass.
The human body uses glutamine to move ammonia and nitrogen throughout the body via the bloodstream. So the body tries to maintain a contstant level of glutamine in the bloodstream at all times. The immune and digestive systems crave glutamine. The digestive system often struggles to get enough glutamine to cope with the high protein diet of a bodybuilder.
The muscles are the biggest source of glutamine for your body. 60% of all glutamine in the body is stored in the muscles. When a person undertakes in intense physical activity (working out) more glutamine is required than the total amount produced by the body. If the body cannot get the required glutamine needed from the bloodstream it must revert to the storage facility, the muscles. The body will now break down the glutamine stored in the muscles and send it into the bloodstream. It's under these circumstances that glutamine supplementation is required.
Glutamine supplementation is expecially necessary straight after an intense training period. Glutamine levels can be reduced by up to 50% after intense training. When muscle tissue has been broken down (post workout) glutamine is required to drive protein into muscle cells where it will be synthesized for muscle growth. If the body is forced to produce its own glutamine (when you don't use glutamine supplements) it may take several hours, or even days, to get your glutamine levels back normal.
Glutamine supplements are required when the bodys stores of glutamine are low. And the bodys glutamine levels are at their lowest after instense physical activity. You should take glutamine as soon as possible after your workout. Most bodybuilders prefer to add glutamine supplements to their post-workout shake. Glutamine is mostly tasteless.
Below are some of the direct roles in which glutamine can boost your performance and assist your body in building/repairing muscle...
- Stimulates muscle protein synthesis by donating nitrogen to build proteins
- Decreases muscle recovery time
- Increases growth hormone production and release
- Decreases muscle catabolism during exercise
- Increases endurance by replenishing glycogen under conditions of glycogen depletion
- Decreases the chances of illness/infection by boosting your immune system
- Prevents over-training from high loads and long duration activities
To get these effects from glutamine supplements the glutamine intake must exceed the amount needed and produced by the body. How much glutamine you need depends on the physical activity and it's effects on the body.
Glutamine is generally safe for most adults. As always, consult your doctor before taking any nutritional supplement.
As mentioned throughout this page glutamine is the primary fuel of the immune system and a secondary fuel of the digestion system. So possible additional benefits of glutamine supplements may include the following:
- Stronger immune system less prone to disease and infection
- Reverse some of the intestinal damage caused by anti-inflammatories
- Glutamine is a mood elevator
- Possible positive effects on neurodegenerative diseases
- Help with long and short term memory
Research shows that people who are diabetic should use caution when supplementing with glutamine because they metabolize glutamine abnormally. It is recommended that if you are diabetic you should consult your doctor before using any bodybuilding supplement.