L-Glutamine, one of the most discussed and studied supplements on the market. This amino acid has been a hot topic for bodybuilders and athletes of all levels for many years, and is often regarded by many (myself included) as one of the most underrated sports supplements. With more and more studies showcasing it's numerous and incredible benefits, L-Glutamine supplements are gaining increased popularity and finally starting to get the attention it deserves.
Even though L-Glutamine is a very important part of a bodybuilder’s supplementation, it's benefits go far beyond just aiding in muscular repair. Today, we are going to take an in depth look into this amino acid, discuss it's wide range of benefits, how it can aid you as an athlete, bodybuilder, strength athlete, or possibly even someone just looking to increase their overall wellness/health. Welcome to Glutamine 101!
Let's start off with the basics. What is L-Glutamine? L-Glutamine is the most abundant and naturally occurring conditionally essential amino acid in the human body. In fact, it makes up approximately 60% of the amino acid pool in your muscle tissue. Nearly 90% of glutamine is produced in the skeletal muscles and it is one of the very few amino acids with such versatility. L-Glutamine is extremely versatile... it plays a role in gut health, muscle growth, the immune system, and much more. Because it is so abundant, most proteins and their functions involve glutamine.
How does L-Glutamine work? L-Glutamine helps direct the body when and where to place nitrogen atoms in order to rebuild and repair muscle tissue. In order to build muscle mass and strength, you need to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. This is the optimal state for muscle growth, where the nitrogen intake is greater than nitrogen output. Essentially, it shows the body has sufficiently recovered from its last workout. The greater the nitrogen balance, the faster is workout recovery. This is the body's a
As mentioned above, L-Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid. Glutamine is technically a nonessential amino acid since the body can produce it endogenously, but it becomes a conditionally essential amino acid in times of physical (I.e. intense exercise or dieting) or mental stress, which can suppress your body's glutamine production, causing a multitude of issues. This is where L-Glutamine supplementation comes into play. During bouts of intense training or exercise, your body actually utilizes and depletes all of its glutamine stores, which inhibits its function, decreasing strength, stamina, and lengthening the recovery period. By supplementing L-Glutamine, you’re ensuring your body has an adequate supply of glutamine to maintain a positive nitrogen balance to reduce muscle soreness and protect yourself from workout induced muscle mass breakdown, or DOMS ( Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
As you can see, Glutamine is already providing some pretty sensational benefits for anyone hitting the gym or training intensely. What other benefits do L-Glutamine provide for the body? Glutamine plays a crucial role in not only your musculoskeletal system, but in your immune and gastrointestinal systems as well. In fact, supplementing with L-Glutamine could possibly be even more so beneficial for immune and gut (digestive) health than enhancing muscular recovery.
Glutamine is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. In fact, L-Glutamine is the primary fuel for our immune system. Our immune system relies heavily on this amino acid to function properly. After it is synthesized in our skeletal muscle, it is discharged into immune cells throughout the body. Because roughly 70% of our immune system is housed in our intestinal tract, maintaining a strong immune system is critical for maximizing absorption rates in the gut. Since we have learned that L-Glutamine is depleted during an intense workout or training session, this can ultimately lead to a temporarily weakened immune system. Supplementing can ensure that adequate levels of the amino acid are available for the immune system to properly function.
L-Glutamine has now been studied numerous times for it's impressive benefits on digestive health as well. L-Glutamine assists in rebuilding and repairing the intestinal tract and lining of your gut by maintaining your body’s nitrogen balance. Since L-Glutamine decides when and where to place nitrogen atoms to be most efficient and effective in repairing your body, it is extremely beneficial for those that have gastrointestinal issues such as leaky gut and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s diease, Ulcerative Colitis and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
Needless to say, L-Glutamine offers several amazing health benefits, on top of some astounding recovery benefits for any athlete!
How much Glutamine should I take? This will depend on what you are looking to accomplish with L-Glutamine supplementation. In regards to athletic performance, boosting recovery times and reducing exercise-induced muscle soreness a conventional dose of 5-10g per day is recommended, depending on the severity of soreness. For most, it will be best to take 1 serving (5 grams) of Glutamine intra (during) workout and 1 serving before bed (during rest, when it can go to work to fight over-training issues and to help repair muscle fibers). For extreme soreness, up to 3 servings per day, one in the morning on an empty stomach, one during training, and one before bed would be best.
How much Glutamine should I consume daily to help with immune health or for a medical condition such as IBS? For medicinal purposes, such as those experiencing IBS, leaky gut, or Crohn's, the recommended dosage is between 20-30 grams per day. For Crohn's, the recommended dosage is on the higher end, so 30 grams per day. You'll want to spread these servings out throughout the day. So, for example, take a serving (5 grams) upon waking, one a few hours later, one before lunch, one between lunch and dinner, and then 2 servings (10 grams) before bed.
Alright guys, we've covered a lot of ground here! We now know what L-Glutamine is and all of its magnificent benefits to athletic performance. Now you have a road map of how much Glutamine to take and when to take it. You know all of the potential benefits and how it can propel you to better results on the field, in the gym, or your sport of choice. We have learned that numerous studies have proven that L-Glutamine is extremely versatile and offers several benefits, that can improve and maximize overall athletic performance. Glutamine can decrease your susceptibility to illness, by improving immune system health, optimize your digestive health by rebuilding your gut lining and accelerate recovery times, through the inhibition of muscle mass breakdown and improving post workout muscle soreness. Overall, adding a scoop of glutamine to your post workout shake, or your shake before bed, can dramatically improve your muscle recovery and overall health.