A Quick Guide to Glutamine

By Will Florance
12 April 2016

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that is the most abundant of all the amino acids found in skeletal muscle.  As a non-essential amino acid, there is enough glutamine produced in your body for your regular needs.  However during times of extreme stress (such as after a heavy workout), your body may need more glutamine than it can make. 

Glutamine is an essential building block of protein and is found in a wide variety of dietary sources such as beef, pork, chicken, milk, spinach, yogurt, and cottage cheese.  Glutamine plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy immune system and gastrointestinal tract, whilst simultaneously promoting muscle growth and retention.

man working out fit fitness

How is Glutamine beneficial?

Glutamine isn’t as widely researched and studied as sporting supplements such as Creatine, however there have been a variety of small scale studies conducted by researchers such as Louisiana State University (LSU), the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), and the American College of Sports Medicine that suggest it provides a variety of health benefits. 

These benefits include, but are not limited to;

  • Increase bicarbonate stores – Enabling you to tolerate higher levels of lactic acid produced from hard training (and therefore helping you get more reps per set).
  • Reduce muscle catabolism - Helps maintain healthy muscle mass.
  • Assist muscle growth – Through enhancing key muscle building functions such as protein synthesis, cell hydration and recovery.
  • Help your immune system – A lack of glutamine can leave your body exposed to colds & illness. After your workout, glutamine levels can be cut by up to half. Subsequently post-workout glutamine supplementation can help you maintain a healthy immune system and ward of illness.
  • Promote gastrointestinal health – Glutamine helps protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract known as the mucousa.
  • Assist recovery – Certain medical conditions, including injuries, surgery, infections, and prolonged stress, can lower glutamine levels, making supplementation potential helpful.
  • Increase time to exhaustion – Research by the LSU suggests that high-performance individuals supplementing glutamine can have an increased time until exhaustion when compared to those other athletes not supplementing glutamine.
  • Increase growth hormone – A study conducted by the LSU found that glutamine supplementation can increase growth hormone (GH) levels around 90 minutes after ingestion – further assisting in muscle growth.
  • Maintain health when stressed – Long periods of stress cause your body to release cortisol, which can lower your glutamine levels.  Supplementing glutamine in these scenarios can help ensure your body maintains healthy glutamine levels.

Whilst glutamine does appear to have a number of benefits, there is little to no research in relation to the effects of glutamine in large doses for a long period of time.  Thus, although excess glutamine is generally not stored by the body (leaving it as waste), it is advised to stick to the recommended serving sizes.

Finally, there is very little evidence to suggest taking glutamine in its recommended dosages can have any negative effect on your body.  
Personally, I was always slightly concerned about supplementing glutamine.  However, ever since I trialed True Ajinomoto Glutamine and experienced the benefits first hand, it has become a staple in my diet.  Whilst I have noticed increased muscle growth, the main difference I’ve found is illness reduction – I’ve been getting sick far less than before.  

Nevertheless, glutamine’s effectiveness will differ between individuals, so why not give glutamine supplementation a try and see if it’s exactly what you’ve been missing?

Research

The majority of the research for this article was taken from studies and guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine, the University of Maryland Medical Center, Louisiana State University, and the references provided below.  If you have any questions about how glutamine will affect you individually, whether glutamine supplementation is necessary, or how to tailor glutamine supplementation to your lifestyle, it is advised to consult your local nutritionist or physician.

Why True Ajinomoto Glutamine?

True Ajinomoto Glutamine is a premium pharmaceutical grade L-Glutamine that uses 100% natural raw ingredients of non-animal origin to produce a product of maximum purity.  Sourced from Ajinomoto, a global company renowned for premium quality amino acids, True Ajinomoto Glutamine provides effective benefits due to its unrivalled purity. 

Summary

  • Glutamine can increase protein synthesis & muscle growth, strengthen the immune system, increase energy, promote gastrointestinal health, and reduce muscle catabolism.
  • Stick to the recommended glutamine dosages.
  • Consult a nutritionist or physician for glutamine recommendations tailored to you.
  • True Ajinomoto Glutamine provides some of the purest, premium quality glutamine available.

References

Buchman AL. Glutamine: commercially essential or conditionally essential? A critical appraisal of the human data. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;74(1):25-32.
Garlick PJ. Assessment of the safety of glutamine and other amino acids.J Nutr. 2001 Sep;131(9 Suppl):2556S-61S. [Review].
Reeds PJ, Burrin DG. Glutamine and the bowel. J Nutr. 2001;131(9 Suppl):2505S-8S.

 

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