100 1 25 25 bodybuilding.com
Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:
Is Glutamine Worth Your Money? Value Of Supplement Questioned!

Among the many supplements regaining popularity recently is glutamine. It's the most abundant amino acid of the body. Get the details here as its value comes into question.

By: Kevin Neeld

Article Summary:
  • The recommendation is 5g of glutamine following exercise.
  • Research hasn't supported an ergogenic benefit in healthy adults.
  • Glutamine serves to stimulate protein and glycogen synthesis.
  • dot
    Is Glutamine Worth Your Money?
    dot

    The supplement industry is booming! Product labels are more colorful and promises of drastic body composition changes are more extreme than ever before. Of course, it wouldn't be socially responsible for supplement companies to make completely unfounded claims.

    The bright people running those companies found a solution to that problem: run their own research and report whatever results will benefit their bank accounts. Combine this with the mass media and a number of "fitness professionals" frequently misquoting or misinterpreting research and you have a recipe for confusion, disappointment and wasted money.

    I don't want to make it seem like all companies and professionals are out to allude the general public. There are certainly excellent researchers, writers, and speakers that have done their homework and lack ulterior motives (Cassandra Forsythe and John Berardi come to mind).

    Unfortunately, quality information on supplements can be hard to find for those that don't have the time or know-how to critically analyze relevant research. With supplements increasing in popularity over the last decade, there is a need to bridge the gap between the supplement-market and quality research describing the safety and efficacy of the supplements.

    dot
    What Is Glutamine?
    dot

    Among the many supplements regaining popularity recently is glutamine. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in blood, skeletal muscle, and the free amino acid pool of the body.

    In the body, glutamine serves to increase cell volume, and stimulate protein and glycogen synthesis.1-5 Furthermore, glutamine can be used as a fuel for the immune system (lymphocytes and macrophages)5-9 and is involved in growth hormone secretion, collagen formation, and renal acid excretion.10-13

    RELATED ARTICLE
    All About Glutamine!
    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    All About Glutamine!
    What is it? Glutamine is an amino acid and is not considered one of the eight essential aminos. So why is it so popular among athletes for recovery?
    Author:
    Mr. Ryan Swan

    At this point, it isn't hard to see the attraction with glutamine supplementation. It would appear that supplemental glutamine would have the potential to make you bigger and stronger, as well as facilitate a more rapid recovery.14,15

    This latter idea is supported by the fact that plasma and muscle glutamine levels are suppressed following bouts of intense training making glutamine "conditionally essential".6-8

    Glutamine
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    It Isn't Hard To See The Attraction
    With Glutamine Supplementation.

    Basically, the thought is that supplemental glutamine would allow you to train at high levels while avoiding, or at least minimizing the deleterious effects of overtraining.

    Unfortunately, concrete evidence supporting the proposed benefits of glutamine supplementation is lacking. Research has yet to provide strong support for additional glutamine attenuating immune suppression induced by exercise or other stressors.5,7,17

    FORUM THREAD
    Best Glutamine Product?
    [ Click To Join The Thread. ]
    Best Glutamine Product?
    Hey guys, what's the best glutamine product out there or which ones do you guys enjoy using?
    Started By:
    ragnorok42

    Furthermore, there does not appear to be any advantage of glutamine supplementation with regards to glycogen synthesis if adequate dietary carbohydrates are consumed.5

    Contrary to the previous scholarly skepticism, one study actually found that 10 weeks of resistance training accompanied by supplementation with a whey protein drink enriched with 5g of glutamine and 3g of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) resulted in a greater increase in strength and lean muscle mass compared to just a whey protein drink alone (both groups underwent the same training program).18

    Glutamine
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Whey Protein Enriched With Glutamine & BCAAs
    Increases Strength And Lean Muscle Mass.

    This would appear to be good news for lifting and supplement enthusiasts. While I don't think it's logical to completely dismiss these results, it should be noted that it is impossible to determine whether the experienced benefit was due to the glutamine, the BCAA, or the combination of the two.

    dot
    Should You Be Taking It?
    dot

    Despite a seemingly large body of evidence negating the effectiveness of glutamine supplementation, I'm not sure it's appropriate to write the supplement off altogether.

    As much as I rely on research to support the use of ergogenic aids, every research study has its limitations. Many studies have no or a poorly designed control group, fail to account for important lifestyle factors, or do not provide a sufficient training stimulus to elicit a training effect (or sufficient stress to measure the effect of a supplement).

    Also, because immune system suppression is largely a characteristic of endurance training, high-quality research on resistance training is relatively limited.

    If you're interested in taking glutamine there are a few things you should be aware of. Timing is important. One study found that plasma glutamine levels were 19% higher when the supplement was given immediately post-exercise, opposed to three hours later.19

    RELATED POLL
    Do You Take A Glutamine Supplement?

    Yes - Regularly
    No - Never
    Occasionally

    Similar to protein drinks in general, it appears that consuming glutamine either during or immediately following training will provide the greatest benefit, in this case increase in serum glutamine concentration.

    Anytime you consider taking a supplement, it's important to consider possible side effects. Glutamine supplementation of 20-30g in healthy adults, 28g/day for 14 days in athletes, and 0.65g/kg body weight in patients has been reported to be safe.20 Despite the reported safety of these higher doses, the typical recommendation is 5g of glutamine immediately following exercise.

    RELATED VIDEO


    Jamie Eason's New Years Tips:
    Post-Workout Nutrition!

    Jamie Eason is here to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Check out this video as Jamie Eason teaches you the importance of post-workout nutrition!

    Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
    [ Jamie Eason's New Years Tips Main Page ]

    Regardless of what the research says, I break supplementation down into two basic questions:

    1. Is it safe?
    2. Does it work?

    Should you take glutamine? That's up to you. With a price as low as $0.03/gram, it's a relatively cheap supplement. Research hasn't supported an ergogenic benefit in healthy adults, but that isn't to say there isn't one, or that you won't experience one.

    Cardio Glutamine Products:
    Sorted By Top Sellers.

    Glutamine is highly in demand throughout the body. It is used in the gut and immune system extensively to maintain optimal performance.

    [ Glutamine Products Sorted By Top Sellers! ]

    It's possible that the small benefit documented in the research literature, and the short-term nature of the majority of the studies simply doesn't allow enough time for the benefits to reach statistical significance.

    dot
    Conclusion
    dot

    I've taken glutamine for various reasons. Because of it's established safety, the only thing you have to lose is some money. I'm a big fan of self-experiments. Different things work for different people.

    Give it a shot and note whether you experience an effect or not. If you do, try taking it again. If you don't, then scrap it. In general, I support the use of supplements, but they're just icing on the cake. Remember, you can't out-supplement a bad training program.

    About The Author:

      Kevin Neeld, CSCS has helped athletes of all ages fulfill their athletic potential. Through the application of functional anatomy, biomechanics, and neural control, Kevin specializes in guiding athletes to optimal health and performance. He can be reached by email at kn@prodigyperformancetraining.com or through his website at www.KevinNeeld.com.

    References:

    1. Low, S.Y., Taylor, P.M., & Rennie, M.J. (1996). Responses of glutamine transport in cultured rat skeletal muscle to osmotically induced changes in cell volume. The Journal of Physiology, 492, 877-85.
    2. Rennie, M.J., Khogali, S.E., Low, S.Y., et al. (1996). Amino acid transport in heart and skeletal muscle and the functional consequences. Biochemical Society Transactions, 24, 869-873.
    3. Rennie, M.J., Ahmed, A., Khogali, S.E., Low, S.Y., Hundal, H.S., & Taylor, P.M. (1996). Glutamine metabolism and transport in skeletal muscle and heart and their clinical relevance. The Journal of Nutrition, 126, 1142S-1149S.
    4. Varnier, M., Leese, G.P., Thompson, J., & Rennie, M.J. (1995). Stimulatory effect of glutamine on glycogen accumulation in human skeletal muscle. The American Journal of Physiology, 269, E309-315.
    5. Williams, M. (2005). Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance: Amino Acids. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2, 63-67.
    6. Filaire, E., Lac, G., & Pequignot, J.M. (2003). Biological, hormonal, and psychological parameters in professional soccer players throughout a competitive season. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 97, 1061-1072.
    7. Buchman, A.L. (2001). Commercially essential or conditionally essential? A critical appraisal of the human data. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 74, 25-32.
    8. Miles, M.P., Naukam, R.J., Hackney, A.C., et al. (1999). Blood leukocyte and glutamine fluctuations after eccentric exercise. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 20, 322-327.
    9. Rowbottom, D.G., Keast, D., Morton, A.R. (1996). Sports Medicine, 21, 80-97.
    10. Curi, R., Lagranha, C.J., Doi, S.Q., et al. (2005).Glutamine-dependent changes in gene expression and protein activity. Cell Biochemistry and Function, 23, 77-84.
    11. Karna, E., Miltyk, W., Wolczynski, S., et al. (2001). The potential mechanism for glutamine-induced collagen biosynthesis in cultured human skin fibroblasts. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology, 130, 23-32.
    12. Welbourne, T., Claville, W., & Langford, M. (1998). An oral glutamine load enhances renal acid secretion and function. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67, 660-663.
    13. Welbourne, T.C. (1995). Increased plasma bicarbonate and growth hormone after an oral glutamine load. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61, 1058-1061.
    14. Kreider, R.B. (1999). Dietary supplements and the promotion of muscle growth with resistance exercise. Sports Medicine, 27, 97-110.
    15. Antonio, J., & Street, C. (1999). Glutamine: a potentially useful supplement for athletes. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 24, 1-14.
    16. Nieman, D.C. (2000). Is infection risk linked to exercise workload? Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32, S406-411.
    17. Gleeson, M., Lancaster, G.I., & Bishop, N.C. (2001). Nutritional strategies to minimise exercise-induced immunosuppression in athletes. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 26, S23-35.
    18. Colker, C.M. (2000). Effects of supplemental protein on body composition and muscular strength in healthy athletic male adults. Current Therapeutic Research, 61, 19-28.
    19. Levenhagen, D.K., Gresham, J.D., Carlson, M.G., Maron, D.J., et al. (2001). Postexercise nutrient intake timing in humans is critical to recovery of leg glucose and protein homeostasis. American Journal Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, 280, E982-E993.
    20. Gleeson, M. (2008). Dosing and efficacy of glutamine supplementation in human exercise and sport training. Journal of Nutrition, 138, 2045S-2049S.

    Is Glutamine Worth Your Money? Value Of Supplement Questioned!
    kn@kevinneeld.com

    Visitor Reviews Of This Article!
    Read Visitor Reviews - Write Your Own Review

    Back To Kevin Neeld's Main Page

    Back To The Articles Main Page.

    Related Articles
    Grounds For Debate: The Truths About Coffee
    Ask The Supplement Guru: Can Any Fruits Or Veggies Naturally Boost NO?
    Death By Protein: Debunking The 'Protein Is As Bad As Smoking' Study



    RATE THIS ARTICLE
    POOR
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    EXCELLENT
    OVERALL RATING
    N/A

    Out of 10

    0 Ratings

    0

    Comments

    Showing 0 - 0 of 0 Comments

    (5 characters minimum)

        • notify me when users reply to my comment
    Showing 0 - 0 of 0 Comments

    Featured Product

    Give Us Feedback:
    Report A Problem
    Site Feedback
    Follow Us:
    Twitter
    Facebook
    RSS Feeds
    Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

    Receive exciting features,
    news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com