10 Reasons Why You Need to Take Glutamine

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    10 Reasons Why You Need to Take Glutamine

    10 Reasons Why You Need to Take Glutamine

    Glutamine isn’t new. It hasn’t been attributed to building 21-inch arms or smashing world records, nor is it a previously hidden Soviet secret. The funny thing is, however, over 50 years of research shows supplementation with this amino acid is indispensable for anyone interested in gaining a real edge in performance and muscle-building results.

    1. During training, even a minor illness create demands that easily exceed your body’s ability to supply glutamine.1 Even the common cold is shown to lower glutamine levels, and the ramifications of not getting enough glutamine are severe. Frequent, reoccurring illness and infection,2 suppressed immune function3 continuously poor athletic performance,4 increased body fat and muscle loss5 – these are all associated with low glutamine levels.

    2. Glutamine plays a role in virtually all of your biochemical processes from protein synthesis to detoxification. For example, glutamine is the primary fuel that powers your entire immune system and the billions of cells that line your intestinal tract. The intestinal tract is particularly voracious, it alone accounts for at least 40% of the total body drain of glutamine stores.6 And wne in need, it robs this glutamine from your muscle tissue.

    3. Glutamine’s obligations don’t end there. It’s also the main participant in the transport of all nitrogen and ammonia to and from your skeletal muscle to visceral organs.7 In many tissues, this is the sole reaction for reducing toxic levels of ammonia. To most organs glutamine serves three roles: a) An intermediate for detoxification.8 b) A source of amide nitrogen for biosynthesis of important peptides and amino sugars9 and c) The formation of purines and pyrimidines; the building blocks of RNA and DNA.10

    4. In your liver, glutamine is also used for glucose and urea synthesis. In your kidneys, glutamine is used to support renal ammonia-genesis and your brain utilizes glutamine as a precursor for neurotransmitter substances.6-10

    5. As if this wasn’t enough, glutamine is also the main precursor for your body’s most potent antioxidant; glutathione,1 and glutamine is essential for the production of the vitamin folic acid.9 Glutamine’s role in physiology sounds impressive, but what does this have to do with your quest for lean muscle, chiselled abs or bulging biceps? Absolutely everything!

    6. Scientists view intense exercise training as a major metabolic stress – it makes huge inroads on precious glutamine stores.11 Even in a sedentary your body still has a huge metabolic demand for glutamine. Without constant synthesis your body’s stores of glutamine would probably disappear in seven hours or less!2 Numerous studies have demonstrated that your body’s glutamine storage and synthesizing capabilities are in fact, ineffective at meeting demands during these periods of intense metabolic stress.2,9,11

    7. Your body uses glutamine in proportion to your training intensity.1 The harder you train, the greater your tax on muscle glutamine. Well-designed studies have shown healthy, physically fit people with low levels of glutamine actually lost muscle, increased body fat and suppressed their immune function, all within 4 weeks of a fitness program.5

    8. Your muscles are the primary site of glutamine synthesis, the “little factories” that churn out large amounts of glutamine to meet all these metabolic demands each and every day. A constant influx of other amino acids into muscle is required to manufacture glutamine.12 Supplementation helps keeps muscle glutamine stores full and intact.11

    9. Keeping your muscle glutamine stores full and intact is vital to all anabolic processes. Firstly, protein synthesis rates are proportional to glutamine levels inside muscle cells – when your glutamine levels drop so does your capacity to recover and build muscle.13 Increasing and maintaining muscle cell volume – a potent trigger of anabolism – is also correlated specifically to muscle glutamine stores – no other amino acid shows this relationship.14

    10. Supplementation does increase blood glutamine levels to boost T lymphocytes and promote a superior T cell driven, cell-mediated immune response. Glutamine supplementation also prevents excessive cytokine production during illness, enhances the bacterial killing function of neutrophils and increases production of antioxidant intermediates.15 All these factors equate to glutamine supplementation doing your body a BIG favor – build a more powerful, potent immune system, that means less illness, faster recovery and bigger, stronger muscles.

    How should you take glutamine?
    • Take a 5-10 gram serving before and training.
    • Take at least another 5-10 gram serving in the 3-hour post-workout time frame.
    • Training twice a day – servings need to small but frequent (5-10 grams 3 times per day).

    The fact is, due to glutamine’s exclusive cell transporters, high-affinity transport rates19 and the cell’s ability to increase the number of these transporters,6 all research points to the fact that glutamine will be efficiently absorbed and utilized whenever it is taken.

    Clearly, your body gives glutamine top priority. You should too!

    1. Walsh NP, Blannin AK, et al. Glutamine, exercise and immune function. Sports Med. 26(3): 177-191,1998.
    2. Rowbottom, Keast D and Morton A. The emerging role of glutamine as an indicator of exercise stress and overtraining. Sports Med. 21.2. p80-97. 1996.
    3. Saito H, Furukawa S, Matsuda T. Glutamine as an immunoenhancing nutrient. JPEN;23(5Suppl): S59-61,1999.
    4. Rowbottom DG. et al. The haematological, biochemical and immunological profile of athletes suffering from the overtraining syndrome. Eur.J.Appl Physiol. 70: p502-509. 1995.
    5. Kinscherf R,.et al. Low plasma glutamine in combination with high glutamate levels indicate risk for loss of body cell mass in healthy individuals: the effect of N-acetyl-cysteine. J.Mol.Med. vol 74: 393-400 1996.
    6 .vanAcker BA,.et al. Glutamine:the pivot of our nitrogen economy? JPEN, 23(5suppl): S45-8, 1999.
    7. Nissim I. Newer aspects of glutamine/glutamate metabolism: the role of acute pH changes. Am. J.Physiol; 277(4pt2): F493-7,1999.
    8. Matilla B, et al. Effects of parenteral nutrition supplemented with glutamine or glutamine dipeptides on liver antioxidant and detoxication in rats. Nutri 16(2):125-8, 2000.
    9. Neu. J, et al. Glutamine nutrition and metabolism: Where do we go from here? FASEB.J.10. p829-837. 1996.
    10. Rennie MJ et al. Glutamine metabolism and transport in skeletal muscle and heart and their clinical relevance. J.Nutr. 126: p1142S-1149S, 1996.
    11. Agostini F, Biolo G. Effect of physical activity on glutamine metabolism. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010 Jan;13(1): 58-64.
    12. Wagenmakers AJ. Muscle amino acid metabolism at rest and during exercise: Role in human physiology and metabolism. Exercise & Sport Science Rev. 1998; 26:287-314
    13. Low SY, Taylor PM, Rennie MJ. Response of glutamine transport in cultured rat skeletal muscle to osmotically induced changes in cell volume. J Physiol 492:877-885, 1996.
    14. Fumarola C, La Monica S, Guidotti GG. Amino acid signalling through the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway: Role of glutamine and of cell shrinkage. J Cell Physiol 204:155-65, 2005.
    15. Curi R, Lagranha CJ, Doi SQ. Molecular mechanisms of glutamine action. J Cell Physiol 204: 392-401, 2005.

  2. #2
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    Good info! Do you have a specific Glutamine brand you recommend?

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