It wasn’t so long ago that fitness experts and nutritionists were raving about the magical benefits of glutamine. They promised a stronger, more robust immune system, faster muscle recovery, and a whole host of other amazing advantages. So, the question is, how accurate were their claims? Is glutamine really as remarkable as it sounds and should you be supplementing your diet with it?
The first thing that you need to know is that glutamine is the most naturally abundant amino acid in the body. You already have quite a lot of it in there, which is a good thing because it plays a vital role in all kinds of physical functions. It is essential for the movement of nitrogen, the control of stomach acid, and the production of antioxidants, to name a few.
Why Glutamine Supplements Are Beneficial
Adding an additional amount of glutamine to the body – in a consistent and healthy fashion – is believed to strengthen the immune system. It runs on glutamine, rather than glucose, so supplementation can be a positive thing. On the other hand, there are some nutritionists who advise against increasing levels of glutamine in this way unless you exercise and train intensely on a regular basis. Certainly, supplementation has a bigger impact for those who are expending lots of energy at the gym doing HIIT and frequent lifting sessions. So, if you are serious about building up that muscle mass and sculpting your physique, it might be worth considering glutamine as a dietary supplement.
Glutamine Helps Muscles Recover Faster
One of the most significant benefits, particularly for weight lifters, is that it increases glycogen production within liver and muscle tissues. Glycogen is usually taken from carbs, but if you want to stick a low carb diet, this is an effective substitute. It helps the body to recover faster from intense exercise and it reduces the need to eat lots of starchy, high energy foods immediately after a workout. If you want to supplement with glutamine to aid muscle recovery, take it after your gym session. Start with 8-10 grams and combine it with a protein shake. You’ll feel less physically strained, experience softer muscle pains, and you’ll feel more energised during your next high intensity training regime.
Glutamine Stimulates Muscle Growth When combined with BCAAs (essential amino acids), glutamine has the capacity to significantly accelerate muscle growth. This is because at least one of them – leucine – relies on glutamine as way to make it into muscle cells. Therefore, if you increase levels via supplementation, you’re encouraging more leucine to accumulate inside the tissues. You’ll then benefit from faster growth that is easier to sustain. While taking glutamine on its own isn’t going to turn you into the Hulk, it will help other supplements work more efficiently. This is especially true during times of calorific deficit (like cutting), when it’s really important that you don’t lose the muscle mass that you already have as you try to cut out unwanted fat reserves. As it is also super friendly to the immune system, glutamine is a real friend to those following intense regimes.