Shari Duncan

Considering Glutamine?…. It’s that Important !
Shari

by on Sep.22, 2010, under General HEALTH, General Nutrition, Supplementation

There are no side effects. No health risks. It doesn’t make you bigger or stronger or give you energy or burn fat, yet it could be one of the most useful supplements around.

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in our body – and highly concentrated in muscle cells. Glutamine has recently been re-classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that while the body can make glutamine, there are times when the body’s need for glutamine is greater than its ability to produce glutamine.

Although the body produces glutamine, under times of stress, glutamine reserves are depleted and need to be replenished with supplementation.  Glutamine depletion caused by stress

Supplement with Glutamine if your body is under stress, which  includes stress from exercise.

Supplement with Glutamine if your body is under stress, which includes stress from exercise.

can be activated by something as minor as a common cold and the level of depletion increases with the severity of the disease. Patients undergoing surgery, burn victims, those suffering acute trauma, as well as HIV and cancer patients will all find their glutamine levels severely depleted by their condition.

Stress related glutamine depletion does not only occur with illness but also occurs due to stress caused by exercise. But the need for glutamine for many critical functions such as the immune system takes precedence over the building of muscles. Without any glutamine in the muscles we cannot build muscle mass and in fact the muscles can start to breakdown.  And the more stress the body is under, the more glutamine that is pulled away from the muscles.  And working out puts a lot of stress on the muscles.  If we supplement our body with glutamine we allow our body to keep a high supply of glutamine in the muscles and stop the muscle catabolism. This means the body can use the glutamine in the muscles to synthesize protein and build muscle mass. Because there is now enough glutamine for the whole body – the other critical functions such as the immune system have enough glutamine to perform their necessary functions as well.

Studies have shown that glutamine supplementation can do the following:

  • Increase Protein synthesis (which leads to increased muscle mass)
  • Increase nitrogen retention
  • Decrease muscle breakdown
  • Decrease recovery time needed after a workout
  • Enhance immune functions

How much glutamine is needed?

The typical American diet provides 3.5 to 7 grams of glutamine daily found in animal and plant proteins. Many people choose to supplement daily due to the long growing list of benefits.

Research shows levels of supplementation from 2 to 40 grams daily. Two to three grams has been found to help symptoms of queasiness.  This two to three gram dosage used post workout builds protein, repairs and builds muscle and can induce levels of growth hormone found in the body.

High levels of glutamine supplementation have been used in hospital settings with doses of 20 grams per day to treat colitis, Crohn’s disease and diarrhea. 40 grams per day of glutamine are used with HIV, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and burn victims.

If you work out regularly or intensely,  or simply want to boost your immune system, you should consider supplementing with glutamine. In addition, if you are going through any type of stressful event or just trying to fight off the cold or flu – glutamine can be very beneficial.

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