The amino acid
L-Glutamine is the most abundant free-form amino acid found in muscle
tissue. Like other amino acids, L-Glutamine plays a vital role in
protein metabolism and muscle recovery. L-Glutamine is not only
utilized by muscle tissue, but also in large quantities by the immune
system and by the digestive system as well. During periods of intense
training, levels of this amino acid can decline and our bodies may not
be able to make enough of it. This can result in depleted L-Glutamine
levels in our muscles and thus cause muscle-tissue breakdown.
Why should I use
Glutamine? What are the benefits?
As is the goal of
many of today's top supplements, including Creatine Monohydrate and
HMB, L-Glutamine is used in an attempt to boost strength levels,
enhance gains in muscle size and strength and prevent muscle tissue
breakdown that can occur subsequent to strenuous exercise. By
supplementing the diet with L-Glutamine, weight training athletes may
be able to prevent muscle tissue breakdown and help promote cell
volumization. When glutamine is in short supply, muscle tissue becomes
the first to sacrifice it. Thus muscle tissue breaks down which leads
to "flat" muscles, less strength and a very unfavorable
environment for muscle growth. However, when glutamine is in abundant
supply, the opposite occurs. High muscular levels of glutamine and
other cell volumizes like Taurine, can lead to protein metabolism and
cell volumizing. Cell volumizing is a process whereby water molecules
are pulled into the muscle cell, helping them look "fuller"
or more "pumped" and thereby creating the necessary
conditions for muscle growth.
What research has
been done on Glutamine?
studies on L-Glutamine, and the amino acid Taurine, have shown that
glutamine can improve protein metabolism and minimize the breakdown of
muscle tissue in people suffering from severe metabolic stress. In
addition, supplementing with glutamine also was shown to increase cell
volumization. Another recent study found that consuming as little as 2
gm of free-form L-Glutamine may cause up to a 400% increase in
growth-hormone levels. At this time though, no studies have been done
on L-Glutamine's effects on healthy weight training athletes.
What doses of
Glutamine should be taken?
While there is no
definitive guide on how much L-Glutamine should be taken,
supplementing one's diet with as little as 2-6 grams per day may have
significant effects on protein metabolism and cell volumizing. Similar
to Creatine, L-Glutamine seems to have a "loading period"
whereby taking higher doses of this amino acid, sometimes as high as
10-15 grams per day, may cause a rapid increase in cell volumization
and muscle hardness thus leading to greater muscular gains.
What side effects
are caused by Glutamine?
As of yet, no known
side effects have been reported from the use of free form L-Glutamine.
L-Glutamine is a natural amino acid produced by our bodies and is
believed to be safe.
Should I cycle
produced naturally by our bodies on a daily basis. When we perform
intense, rigorous exercise, these natural stores of L-Glutamine may be
compromised which can lead to muscle breakdown. Therefore, cycling
L-Glutamine is not necessary because low levels of L-Glutamine in our
bodies can lead to impaired protein metabolism and tissue breakdown.
Many manufacturers include L-Glutamine in their meal replacement
powders and other products to help boost glutamine intake.