What is L-Glutamine?
does it come from?
L-Glutamine is very important and popular amino acid and
can be found in protein powders, bodybuilding
supplements and some quantities can be obtained from
dietary source like, beans, meats, fish, poultry and
L-Glutamine does in our body?
What scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Glutamine is highly in demand throughout the body. It is
used in the gut and immune system extensively to
maintain optimal performance. 61% of free-form amino
acids floating in skeletal muscles is L-glutamine.
L-glutamine plays a very important role in protein
metabolism, and it appears to be a very important
nutrient for body builders. When supplemented, it may
help body builders reduce the amount of muscle
deterioration that occurs because other tissues that
need glutamine will not rob the glutamine stored in the
Research shows that after intensely working out,
glutamine levels in the body are reduced by as much as
50%. Since the body relies on glutamine as cellular fuel
for the immune system, scientific studies have shown
that glutamine supplementation can minimize the
breakdown of muscle tissue and improve protein
metabolism. Its effects on replenishing the body after
stress or trauma have been shown in Europe where it is
commonly given to patients in hospitals. Glutamine's
cell-volumizing effects have also been shown in several
studies. No conclusive studies have been done to
evaluate the effects of L-glutamine supplementation on
weight-training adults; however, a recent study showed
up to a 400% increase in growth-hormone levels when as
little as 2 grams of free-form L-glutamine supplement
Who needs L-Glutamine
are some symptoms of deficiency?
Bodybuilders and those who have been under a lot of
stress or trauma (such as burn, surgery, and disease
victims) can particularly gain from the intake of
glutamine. Since bodybuilders use a lot of their
glutamine when working out, they are more susceptible to
illness, as the immune system relies heavily on this
Becoming ill or losing lean muscle mass are signs of
deficiency. Catabolism or muscle break down can occur if
the body robs muscles of glutamine for use elsewhere
such as nitrogen transport or maintaining the immune
system. Glutamine supplementation is certainly important
in keeping muscles building--not deteriorating.
How much should be
there any side effects?
Bodybuilders can benefit by taking ten grams of
L-glutamine per day, although clinical studies have not
determined a precise amount for muscle metabolism
are no side effects associated with L-glutamine, because
it is a nutrient naturally occurring in the body.
Reports of an upset stomach are associated with
ingesting a great deal of glutamine. if this occurs then
using smaller doses are recommended.
these circumstances the net glutamine consumption
exceeds the production and there is a decrease in muscle
protein synthesis. This contributes to the muscle
wasting seen in severe illness and trauma and can also
happen with intense exercise.
Research has shown a significant correlation between
survival in severely infected patients and the muscle
glutamine concentration. Supplying glutamine helps the
metabolic processes associated with recovery. So as an
athlete glutamine can help you in the following areas:
Stimulates muscle protein synthesis by donating nitrogen
to build proteins.
Increases growth hormone which can induce positive body
composition and mood changes (Note: A study done in 1995
by LSU College of Medicine showed that a surprisingly
small oral dose of 2 grams of glutamine raised GH levels
more than 4X over that of a placebo. Age did not
diminish the response of the volunteers who ranged in
age from 32 to 64 years.)
Decreases muscle catabolism during exercise
Increases endurance by replenishing glycogen under
conditions of glycogen depletion
Decreases muscle recovery time
Decreases the chances of illness/infection by boosting
your immune system
Prevents over-training from high loads and long duration
activities (recall that blood glutamine levels are an
excellent marker of anabolic status).
are some of the direct roles in which glutamine can
boost your performance. What is just as important, if
not more so in my mind, are the indirect roles that
glutamine can play in building a healthy body. These are
things that may not make you into a physical powerhouse
but will still aid in keeping your body healthy and free
of disease and give you some other benefits now and in
benefits are why I look at glutamine as a "wonder
supplement" and I feel just about everyone should be
using it. Next week I'll cover these other important
"Food supplements are supplements and not nutritional
replacements and should be used in addition to regular
food not instead of it."
Uses in Sports
Articles Are Republished With Permission From
week I explained how glutamine can directly help your
training as an athlete and I briefly mentioned some
other areas in which supplemental glutamine can help
improve an overall healthy lifestyle. You might not be
interested in all of these benefits but even so I think
it would be hard to disagree that glutamine can help
anyone function at an overall higher level, regardless
of whether one is an athlete or just your typical
average Joe whose never seen the inside of a gym! Now
for the goods.
so glutamine can help me study too? YEP! Glutamine is
highly concentrated in the brain (10-15 times more than
in the blood) and acts as a modulator between the
inhibitory effects of
and the stimulating effects of glutamate. It is an
important fuel for the brain, and can provide adequate
energy in the absence of glucose.
this reason it is helpful with focus, concentration,
memory, intellectual performance, alertness,
attentiveness, improving mood and eliminating brain fog.
For these reasons it is not surprising to see the
popularity of glutamine among athletes/bodybuilders who
follow low carb diets. Some of the low mental energy
symptoms of a low carb diet can be avoided with
Stabilizes Blood Sugar
Glutamine does this through several mechanisms. When the
blood sugar is low, glutamine suppresses insulin to stop
the further decline of the sugar levels. It also
stimulates glycogen to be released to help increase the
blood sugar to normal levels. Further, glutamine is a
glycogenic amino acid which means it can convert to
sugar for energy production, a process called
Providing abundant glutamine through diet and
supplementation means that less muscle tissue (if any)
will be broken down to provide glucose. This is of
importance to people on calorie restricted diets, whose
main problem is losing muscle mass more so than fatty
Decreases Alcohol & Sugar Cravings
blood sugar stabilizing effects may partly explain why
it decreases sugar and alcohol cravings. In studies with
alcoholics, 2 to 3 grams given 3 times daily decreased
the desire to drink, decreased anxiety, and improved
sleep. It works best given between meals. Giving
glutamine to rats decreased their voluntary alcohol
consumption by 34%. When the glutamine was stopped their
alcohol consumption returned to baseline levels.
healthcare providers have noted success rates as high as
80% when using the protocol with alcoholic patients.
Many people can vouch for the almost instant effect
glutamine has at killing a sugar craving. If you
normally get sugar cravings try taking a 5-10 gram
serving of glutamine about 30 minutes prior to the time
when you normally get your cravings and see what
Maintains Lining Of The Gut
to the frequency and volume that most athletes consume
food they put a heck of a lot of stress on the digestive
system and glutamine can help ensure everything is
functioning properly here. Many medical professionals
believe that most chronic diseases originate from the
gut. The problem starts when, for a variety of reasons,
the lining of the gut becomes leaky, which allows
pathogens, food particles, bacteria, fungi, and
parasites into general circulation where they can cause
problems such as autoimmune diseases, food allergies,
and a host of other chronic ailments.
"Glutamine is the chief
source of energy for the cells of the gut lining."
without a leaky gut an impaired gut can cause digestive
disturbances, bowel problems, yeast infections, ulcers,
ulcerative colitis, and crohn's disease. People who use
glutamine virtually ensure superior health of their gut
lining. In fact, when it was first discovered, glutamine
used to be called "intestinal permeability factor."
Glutamine is the chief source of energy for the cells of
the gut lining. Most glutamine in the diet is
metabolized by the intestines where it maintains the
structural integrity of the intestinal lining,
supporting its quick turnover.
who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or antibiotics
may have a special need for supplemental glutamine. Both
can damage the gut lining and set up gastrointestinal
disturbances or leaky gut syndrome. Fortunately,
sufficient glutamine can undo the damage caused by
antibiotics or NSAIDs, maintaining permeability at a
healthy level. For those with any disturbance of the gut
the soothing effects of glutamine taken as powder
dissolved in water makes itself known quite soon after
Effects on Immune
Glutamine is the primary source of energy for the
various cells of the immune system. Strenuous exercise,
viral and bacterial infections, and stress in general
cause glutamine depletion that starves the immune cells.
Up to 40 grams per day can be used to sustain the immune
systems of AIDS or cancer patients undergoing bone
marrow transplantation. Very ill patients suffer both a
decrease in glutamine levels and muscle loss. The use of
glutamine has been documented to aid the survival of
severely ill surgical and burn patients. It also speeds
up wound and burn healing and improves recovery in
Glutamic Acid Formula
addition, glutamine is a substrate for glutathione, an
amino acid which acts as one of our master antioxidants
and helps enhance the immune function. Large doses of
glutamine stimulate the immune response even under heavy
stress. Dosages of 2-5 grams per day should be
sufficient for healthy sedentary people to boost immune
system function although athletes may want to increase
their dosage on an as needed basis if they tend to
succumb to infections after heavy exercise.
Effects on Wound
cells of connective tissue in the body called
fibroblasts use glutamine for protein synthesis and also
for 30% of their energy needs. Glutamine is required for
their proliferation and is therefore critical in wound
metabolism and healing. The implications for athletes
here are in the healing of damaged joint tissue and also
damaged muscle tissue after intense training.
Effects on Heart
has recently been discovered that glutamine is an
important source of fuel for the heart muscle. It can be
converted to glutamate, which then enters the Krebs
cycle to produce ATP, our energy molecule. In heart
patients, glutamate infusions can be used during heart
surgery to ensure a better outcome.
addition, glutamine serves as a substrate for the
synthesis of a special type of beta-endorphin, glycyl-l-glutamine.
dipeptide appears to be important for the regulation of
blood pressure and prevention of cardiorespiratory
depression. Although you might not worry about your
heart, the application of this to athletes is that by
increasing function of the heart it can help during
exercise of cardiovascular nature by increasing
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