Glutamine is the building block for muscle. Glutamine is the most common amino acid in our bodies because our bodies use it by the bucket load. Sixty-one percent of skeletal muscle is composed of glutamine, and it accounts for 30-35% of the amino acid nitrogen found in the bloodstream. But what does this mean for gym rats? And can we supplement it for better results?
HERE ARE THE BENEFITS OF GLUTAMINE WHEN IT COMES TO STAYING FIT
Glutamine plays an active role during exercise. It is used for protein metabolism, promoting glucose uptake after a workout, enhancing cell hydration, and reducing acid build up during intense exercise.
In layman’s terms, glutamine gives you muscle pump. It improves protein synthesis, which means your muscles grow quicker, and it maximises cell expansion by filling your muscle cells with creatine, water, and carbohydrates.
Glutamine has other health benefits. It promotes digestive activity and improves cognitive ability. It can also reduce the risk of cancer. Its rebuilding and repair properties make it beneficial for gastrointestinal health by healing ulcers and leaky gut. It also balances mucus production, helping relieve IBS and diarrhoea.
SHOULD I BE SUPPLEMENTING GLUTAMINE?
Heavy exercise depletes glutamine levels, but research does not indicate that it depletes them enough to impair glutamine functions. This means that if you have a healthy, balanced diet, and are eating enough food to maintain your workouts, you should have no need to supplement it.
However, it is the occasions when you are not taking in enough food to sustain your workouts when you will need to supplement. Bodybuilders often supplement glutamine in the last few weeks of cutting before a competition.
If you are modifying your diet in an extreme way to burn body fat or are conducting particularly strenuous training, in the build-up for a marathon or a triathlon, for example, you may also want to supplement your diet with a glutamine supplement.
A dose of 0.1gm of glutamine per kilogram of bodyweight is a good place to start. If you weigh 75kg, for example, a daily dose of 7.5gm of glutamine is about right. Several studies have examined the effects of glutamine supplementation in the short term and found no negative effects.
WHERE TO FIND GLUTAMINE NATURALLY
For most of us, getting enough glutamine is simply a case of maintaining a balanced and healthy diet. Fish, beans and dairy are all good sources of glutamine, and for a real boost, have some beetroot or cabbage. These vegetables are an extremely rich source of glutamine.
To finish, glutamine is an important amino acid for gym rats. It keeps our muscles looking full and pumped, as well as boosting our immune and gastrointestinal systems. Supplement your training with it if you are seriously modifying your diet, but for most people, keeping a healthy diet will give you all the glutamine you need.
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