ABC's of Supplements... Glutamine

ABC's of Supplements... Glutamine

Glutamine is the most plentiful nonessential amino acid in the body and plays a number of important physiological roles. Glutamine is, no doubt, the mother of all aminos. It is required in mega-quantities to maintain the proper function of your immune system, kidneys, pancreas, gallbladder, and liver. Glutamine is also an essential nitrogen transporter, as well as provides a protein sparing effect during times of very intense training.

Glutamine allows ammonia to be removed from areas of the body (your brain and lungs in particular) and deposit into others (your intestines and kidneys). Large amounts of glutamine are used for what is most likely your body''s most powerful, most abundant, water-soluble antioxidant, glutathione. Glutamine is also one of the few amino acids that causes extra growth hormone release; in fact, just a two-gram oral dose of glutamine was shown to cause up to a 430% increase in growth hormone levels.

Your body typically keeps a pretty good supply of glutamine in muscle tissue. Muscle is actually a reservoir of stored glutamine; in fact, 60% of the free-floating amino acids in every one of your skeletal muscle cells is made up of glutamine.

When the kidneys, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, immune system, and other "glutamine hogs" can''t get enough of this vital amino acid through the diet, nor by manufacturing it, they rob muscle tissue of glutamine, and when this happens, you basically go into a catabolic state or muscle breakdown. One reason this happens is because glutamine helps maintain proper cellular hydration or cell volume. Muscle cell volumization refers to the hydration state of a cell, which can help regulate many physiological processes, including protein breakdown and glycogen synthesis. People who do not maintain muscle cell hydration during training may inhibit protein synthesis, resulting in lesser gains in muscle mass and longer recovery periods between workouts. When muscle glutamine falls, the cell volume decreases, which at that point, you are in a catabolic state.

In addition, glutamine and carbohydrates boost insulin levels, which helps transport more creatine and carbohydrates into the muscle.

For athletes or people who take their workouts seriously, supplemental glutamine is an important fuel for the immune system. There is some indication that the immune system may be weakened in these people that exercise on a regular basis. This may be a symptom of overtraining, but in times of disease and stress (weight training is stress), certain parts of the body demand so much glutamine that the body can''t manufacture enough.

Glutamine supplementation at certain times of the day, such as right after a workout or right before you go to bed, can help satisfy the body and immune system''s hunger for large amounts of glutamine. If you provide the body and the immune system with the glutamine they need, these systems won''t have to "call out" the glutamine reserves and thus, preserving glutamine levels in muscle tissue.

Although scientific studies have not determined the exact amount of glutamine needed to support optimal muscle metabolism, there is no question that glutamine supplementation is important. Precisely how much glutamine is required for a athlete to support optimal muscle metabolism, enhance cell volume, and support the immune system has yet to be determined. However, my guess is that in addition to a diet rich in high-quality protein, athletes could benefit from consuming at least an additional ten grams of glutamine a day.

Here''s a tip for ya - there is a possibility that loading up on supplements like glutamine, in combination with a potent insulin-releasing carbohydrate for five to seven days, might help increase muscle-cell volume (by supersaturating glutamine stores in muscle cells). So, if you''re just starting out on a glutamine supplement, I recommend you take four servings a day, in divided doses throughout the day. Be sure to take one dose immediately after training and one right before going to bed.

If you''re not already using a glutamine supplement, consider giving it a try - the expert opinion, real-world evidence, which support glutamine supplementation are really quite compelling. I, myself have been taking glutamine for quite sometime now. It seems the older I get, the longer it takes for me to recover from my workouts. This is a powerful supplement that really works and one that I use and believe in.

Source: Max Sport and Fitness Sports Supplement Reiview
Prescription for Nutritional Healing