Glutamine is one of the most well-known supplements out there, and nowadays we can find it almost in any supplement store or super market. Why is this supplement so popular? What is glutamine?
In this article, I will give you a brief but concise explanation about this supplement, mainly focused on its uses to athletes.
What is glutamine?
There are many known amino acids, and they are separated into two categories: Essential and Non – Essential. Glutamine is an amino acid, but it’s actually “in between” categories. I use the quotation marks because it is widely considered a non – essential amino acid, but because it’s role is so important in some certain specific condition, some (and me) like to put in between categories or call it “conditionally essential”.
As stated before, we produce this supplement in our cells, and we even consume it in meat, milk, chicken and eggs. What makes it important is that when we train, our bodies use up glutamine, and a hard training or workout can leave our glutamine stores depleted for up to six days, avoiding it to carry out it’s so important tasks.
The way glutamine is presented is usually in the form of powder, tasteless and without smell, it mixes quite well with water or juices. Depending on the goal, it has many used, both in the clinical practice as in the performance boosting athlete’s supplementation.
We produce glutamine, yes, but in some conditions, mainly stress situations (not exams or paying bills, stress such as in severe burns or muscle breakdown) a higher intake/production is needed to help healing the body or the harmful condition.
This supplement is commonly used in the clinical practice in many ways, such as a way to help the body recover faster from a big injury or trauma, to improve hospital stay periods, to minimize wounds infection risks and to accelerate scar tissue formation, among others. It is also a key factor in the immune system and it helps to keep the small intestines lining healthy.
Glutamine as a Sports Supplement
In regard of athletes, this supplement is used as a anti – catabolic supplement (it may help to reduce the rate of muscle breakdown following a strenuous training session) and to increase the muscle synthesis during the post workout anabolic period. It also takes a part in keeping a healthy cell volume and maintaining it’s hydration status.
If used to aid in repairing damaged muscle (in order for it to grow), then you should be consuming 12 – 15 grams of glutamine per day. Try to space them out as much as possible, having ideally three intakes throughout the whole day. Now, having said that, I must also tell you that MOST protein supplements contain up to 5 grams of this supplement added, so be mindful about it and take it into consideration if you are using protein shakes as well.
So, should you take Glutamine?
If you reckon you are not having a healthy glutamine intake from your diet, or you are in a muscle growth phase (you are trying to break as much muscle fibers as possible in order to repair them and grow) then you should consider using a glutamine supplement. I should add that if you are already using a protein shake, you most likely do not need this kind of supplement. Check your intake and assess if you really need it!
Also, as stated before, glutamine is not only advised to athletes, but to regular folks as well, in order to help improve a wide array of health conditions. Of course, as always, consult your physician or doctor before taking this or any other supplement.