You also may have heard of it if you have been diagnosed with any sort of gastrointestinal problems.
You may have even used it yourself, or at least considered doing so.
So what are the benefits of this supplement? Some herald it as a cure all, end all, be all supplement for all people everywhere. Others claim it has no benefits, and it may have adverse side effects. So what is the truth? Lets find out.
I’ve personally used L-Glutamine quite heavily in the past and had much success while doing it. However, one factor does not determine success in health and fitness, so I wanted to really dive in and find out more about this amino acid and what it can do for the human body.
What is L-Glutamine?
L-Glutamine is an amino acid produced in your body. It is in fact the most common amino acid in your muscles, making up 61% of your skeletal tissue. It is also one of the 20 amino acids encoded by the standard genetic code. It isn’t considered one the “essential” amino acids, but it can become situationally essential in times of intense athletic training or gastrointestinal disease.
That is, of course, the science of L-Glutamine (if you want to know more about that science, see this Wikipedia article). But what is the stuff that you can buy in a plastic bottle at your local sporting goods and health food stores? It turns out that it can be made in two ways. Most commonly it is chemically synthesized in a lab.
If you want to go the natural route, you can get L-Glutamine that has been derived from the natural fermentation of vegetables. It is significantly more expensive and your options are more limited, but if you are trying to keep things more natural that is the way to go. ALLMAX is a great company for this. You can buy it here.
L-Glutamine supplements are normally in a flavorless powder form. This powder can easily be mixed into juices or water, or protein shakes. If you don’t like to use powders, you can get it in pill form.
The Benefits: What L-Glutamine Can Do For You
L-Glutamine is obviously an important thing for your body to have, but will supplementing it do any good? Turns out there are many benefits to using this supplement:
Everyone’s favorite L-Glutamine benefit is of course this first one. Because our muscles are made up in such large portion of Glutamine, supplementing this amino acid can greatly help with protein synthesis. It does this in two ways. First, when the body is low on glutamine levels, intensive workouts can cause muscle wasting and cause you to tire much more quickly. Supplementing with glutamine allows your muscles to fight just a little bit longer, ultimately helping boost your strength. The addition of extra glutamine to the system also of course helps with repairing muscles after your exercise.
Of course, remember that L-Glutamine by itself DOES NOT cause you to instantly gain muscle mass. In order to gain lean muscle mass, a healthy diet and consistent exercise are needed. Glutamine is a supplement, not a miracle pill.
Cell Volume and Hydration
By helping our cells maintain a healthy volume and hydration level, glutamine can actually decrease recovery time from wounds and burns, just as it helps to repair muscle more effectively.
Increased Growth Hormone
Studies have shown that Glutamine supplementing can drastically increase levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in the body. In fact, some have shown increases in as much as 400%. This helps with multiple things. For one thing, HGH increases lead to an increase in metabolism. This increase in metabolism makes you able to process food much more quickly, as well as burn off fat cells more efficiently. HGH is also a very critical component in building muscle.
Energy Source for Immune System
Glutamine can act as a primary energy source for the immune system. By doing this, it boosts your overall ability to fight infection and disease.
Glutamine is absolutely critical to gastrointestinal health. Studies have shown it fixes such problems as ulcers and leaky gut, sometimes very quickly. It also helps overall with your digestive system, as it is one of the most important nutrients for your intestine.
Increased Brain Function
As an innate neurotransmitter, L-Glutamine can help the different parts of the brain pass on information, improving recollection, attentiveness and concentration.
Blood Sugar Levels
Glutamine can help the body suppress insulin, and by doing so keep blood sugar levels stable. By doing this, the body needs to use up less muscle mass to keep blood sugar levels healthy, which can be a big problem for those on low calorie diets.
Decrease Alcohol and Sugar Cravings
Due to the blood sugar stabilizing effects of glutamine, supplementing the amino acid can in fact help curb sugar cravings. This is especially important for those people that have issues with occasionally cheating on an otherwise healthy diet.
It has also been shown that glutamine supplementation can fight alcohol cravings in a similar manner. In fact, in double blind tests it has even sometimes help cure alcoholism.
Supplementing with L-Glutamine
Clearly there are many benefits to using an L-Glutamine supplement, but how does one go about doing it? What type of supplement should be used, when should it be taken, and how much should be taken?
It really doesn’t matter which type of glutamine you choose to supplement with (between pills and powder). Personally, I like to simply mix the powder in with a protein shake. While that works well for me, some people prefer to take pills. Both have the same effects.
There is a lot of debate as far as when you should take L-Glutamine and in what quantities. For body builders, most experts agree that you should take between 5 and 15 grams per day, spread out in two to three servings throughout the day. The most popular times to take it are in the morning, before and after a workout, and right before bed. Any time will honestly work, just keep things consistent and you should see the benefits.
Are There Side Effects?
Of course, there is always the possibilities of side effects with any type of supplement or drug. However, in glutamine they are actually very low. Because your body is made up in such large part by glutamine, it should have no problem taking on the extra.
The most commonly seen side effects normally have more to do with act of taking a concentrated supplement than effects of the glutamine themselves. Allergic reaction and an upset stomach are two rare possibilities.
The odds of having any sort of negative side effects from L-Glutamine supplementation are extremely low. Start with a lower dose to make sure you don’t have any negative reactions, and you should be fine to use it as long as you want.
Where to Buy L-Glutamine
L-Glutamine unfortunately can’t normally be picked up at your local Costco or even Walmart (usually). You’ll likely have to venture to a sports store, supplement chain, or health foods store to find it.
Personally, I’ve found that simply buying glutamine online is the easiest way of going about things. For one thing, it is much cheaper. I once bought a bottle of powder at a health foods store, went home and found the same bottle on Amazon for 30% less than I paid. I highly recommend simply buying online.
My personal recommendation is to use Optimum Nutrition glutamine powder. It is cheap, effective, and very highly rated. Optimum Nutrition is an extremely reputable supplement company that absolutely dominates the market, and rightly so. If you want to use caps instead of a powder, here are the caps. Good luck with all your health and fitness goals!