What does glutamine do?
Glutamine plays an important role in proper immune system function. It helps to keep up your defenses against microbes, those bacteria that cause disease or fermentation. It can also help keep your GI tract in check, promoting good digestive health.
Another important function is the role it plays in the production of glutathione (a key antioxidant enzyme). Glutathione supports the immune system, helps maintain lean muscle mass, promotes proper gut barrier function, and helps slow down the breakdown of muscle tissue!
Finally, glutamine works to minimize the breakdown of muscle and helps improve protein metabolism. This makes it great for preserving lean muscle mass while you’re in a caloric deficit or when you’re working out really hard.
Glutamine supplements help to replenish your body’s natural stores so that all these important functions can keep rolling along smoothly.
In addition to the important roles listed above, a glutamine supplement does so many awesome things to help you reach your fitness goals!
These are a few of the biggest benefits of supplementing with glutamine.
1. Glutamine Helps Build Lean Muscle
If you’re familiar with the fitness supplement world you may be very familiar with Glutamine, because it is so common among athletes and bodybuilders for enhancing performance.
When you do intense training your body will become depleted of this amino acid. This can cause tiredness and slower recovery. Supplementing with glutamine has been shown to reduce recovery period and enhance strength.
2. Glutamine Improves Cell Volume and Hydration
Have you ever taken a peek through a microscope that was pointed at a Petri dish? If not, you totally should!
It’s so amazing to see the insane amount of life that goes on without us even knowing. The fact is, your body is composed of trillions of cells. Most of the time we don’t give them a second thought, but if they aren’t healthy, you won’t be healthy.
Glutamine helps to assist in cell hydration, allowing them to take in more water, therefore enhancing cell volume.
This boosts cell health, promoting a reduced recovery time following exercise, injury, or wounds.
3. Glutamine Helps Improve Fat loss
Supplementing with glutamine can actually increase levels of the naturally occurring human growth hormone. Because of increased levels of HGH that come from supplementing with glutamine, it allows for more efficient metabolism of fats.
This can help to enhance your fat reduction and maintain your lean muscle mass!
4. Glutamine Helps Reduce Sugar and Alcohol Cravings
As a supplement, glutamine can suppress or curb cravings for sugary foods and alcohol. The reason for this?
L-Glutamine actually helps to suppress insulin.
This reduces the body’s draw upon muscle mass to maintain blood sugar levels during high-intensity exercise. This, in turn, can help lead to weight loss and help improve your caloric metabolism!
5. Glutamine Helps Promote Intestinal Health
Who has time to be slowed down by digestive issues and tummy troubles? Not you!
Another awesome benefit of glutamine is that it helps to promote good digestion, a healthy GI tract, and may even help to combat leaky gut!
On the road to reaching your fitness goals, there simply is no place for sick days. This is yet another big reason why you should try a glutamine powder.
Glutamine Side Effects
Certain diseases or disorders, like some liver conditions, might not respond well to a glutamine supplement. But in otherwise healthy individuals, this isn’t the case.
There aren’t any reported adverse side effects that have been attributed to supplementation with L-Glutamine. This is because it’s a naturally occurring amino acid, and isn’t a chemical or foreign body.
However, you should refrain from taking excessive amounts of it, at least to begin with. Take it gradually and always start with lower doses. And like always, talk to your doctor first, especially if you’re nursing or pregnant, or if you suffer from a medical condition.
Most likely you are getting some glutamine in your diet without even realizing it. Glutamine can be attained in certain amounts from the food you eat, and is found in many high-protein food sources.
Meat and Poultry
Beef, pork, fish, and chicken are all great sources of glutamine, but raw liver and fish take the cake and are the most bioavailable source.
Beans and Legumes
All beans and legumes are great sources of glutamine as well.
Dairy products derived from animals like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, and ricotta cheese all contain glutamine.
Veggies like beets, spinach, kale, wheat grass, wheat, and cabbage are all great sources.
Note: raw vegetables contain more glutamine than cooked vegetables!
Am I Getting Enough Glutamine from my Diet Alone?
Like I mentioned, there are a number of glutamine food sources that are probably already included in your diet.
However, chances are that you aren’t getting enough solely from these foods alone, especially if you’re living an active lifestyle. Food sources of glutamine are also not effective post-workout glutamine sources, compared to a glutamine supplement.
This is why you can still benefit greatly from a glutamine powder, even if you’re eating a well-balanced diet!
When to Take Glutamine
For best results, glutamine should be taken right after your workout. After a tough workout, your muscles are broken down and your glutamine stores are depleted.
Taking your glutamine at this point will allow it to have the greatest impact possible over your post-workout recovery. While you can take it at other times, it won’t be able to provide as big a benefit.
There are times when your glutamine production may not meet your needs. Some of these include:
- High-intensity exercise
- Certain Diseases or Injuries
- Times of Extreme Stress
- Severe Burns
- Rapid Growth
- Muscle Wasting Diseases (cancer, AIDS, pulmonary obstructive diseases)
- Pregnancy and Lactation
After performing high-intensity workouts your body may experience decreased glutamine levels and you need more glutamine than your body can make, so under those circumstances and other ones of high stress you should look to supplementing with it.
Here is what can happen if you experience a glutamine deficiency:
- Muscle Wasting
Glutamine helps to preserve the lining of the stomach and intestines, and may also help with the intestinal absorption of important nutrients. People who do not get enough glutamine may experience a decrease in muscle mass, and experience weight loss.
- Increased Susceptibility to Infection
Glutamine works to strengthen the body’s immune function, so it would make sense that low levels of glutamine result in an increased susceptibility to infection.
- Depleted Energy
When you perform intense exercise, or if you overtrain, your body will undergo stress, this requires higher levels of glutamine. If you do not get enough your body may not be able to keep up, so you could experience fatigue.
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