Getting The Facts Straight On Glutamine
Most people who are heavily involved in fitness and bodybuilding have at least heard of glutamine at one point or another, and many have found it to be a very beneficial supplement to add to their training regime.
What Glutamine Is...
Glutamine, which is short for glutamic acid, is one of the twenty amino acids that make up what's called our standard "genetic code"—which is the set of rules that the genetic material (DNA and RNA) follow to create proteins for use by the cells in our body.
The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded in genetic material (DNA or RNA sequences) is translated into proteins (amino acid sequences) by living cells. Specifically, the code defines a mapping between tri-nucleotide sequences called codons, and amino acids; every triplet of nucleotides in a nucleic acid sequence specifies a single amino acid.
Glutamine is also the non-essential amino acid that occurs most frequently in the body and the only amino acid that will cross the blood-brain barrier. In the body, glutamine can be found in the circulating blood or in the stored muscles, and will really be needed whenever you are in a state of illness or have a severe injury.
How Glutamine Works In The Body
Being that glutamine is one of the more predominant amino acids in the body, it plays many important roles, some of which will have a direct impact on the results you see from your training program.
The first big role, as touched upon briefly above, is that glutamine acts as a substrate for DNA synthesis. This literally means that without glutamine being present in the body, your body would not be able to manufacture many of the cells it needs on a daily basis.
DNA synthesis is the process of copying a double-stranded DNA molecule to form two double-stranded molecules. The process of DNA synthesis is a fundamental process used by all living organisms as it is the basis for biological inheritance.
Glutamine is also involved in the protein synthesis process, so after each workout after you've broken down muscle tissue, it will help to rebuild this muscle back, growing stronger (and larger if you're in a calorie surplus) in the process.
Apart from these two roles, glutamine also serves as a source of fuel for enterocytes, which are cells that line the inside of the small intestine, acting as the precursor for multiplying immune cells, as well as helps to promote a healthy immune systems.
Severe burn patients are often treated with high doses of glutamine because of this fact in an attempt to boost the recovery processes taking place.
Finally, glutamine also serves to be an alternate source of fuel for the brain and helps to block cortisol-induced protein catabolism, which is likely to be particularly high when you're dieting.
Where You Can Find Glutamine
The foods that commonly contain glutamine include beef, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, hemp seeds, and dairy products. Most people, even vegetarians will be able to achieve a positive glutamine status that is needed to go about your everyday life.
Those who are participating in regular physical exercise though, or who are currently sick or have an injury, will have higher requirements, which is where supplementation comes in handy.
Who Should Not Take Glutamine
The one group of people who should not be taking glutamine however, or who need to discuss its use before hand with their doctor, are those who are suffering from liver failure or kidney disease.
How To Take Glutamine
After ingestion, glutamine will be absorbed in the lumen—the inside space or lining of a tubular structure, such as an artery or intestine.—of the small intestine and then will enter into the enterocytes in the body. Any excess glutamine not metabolized there will then get transported to the liver, where more will be metabolized.
Finally, the last stop will be the circulation system, where it will be distributed to various tissues of the body to help with other functions necessary for a healthy metabolism.
Most people will tolerate doses up to about 20 grams a day very well, and the doses should ideally be divided into five to ten gram servings, taken two to three times a day.
Other Factors To Promote Recovery With Glutamine Use
Since glutamine is typically taken to help promote a maximum recovery between your weight lifting sessions, it's important to also do whatever you can to continue on with the recovery process with your diet and training factors. This would include:
- Being sure you take in carbohydrates during the post-workout period when the body is most likely to put them directly into the muscle tissues as stored muscle glycogen.
- Being sure to adequately hydrate yourself, as even slight dehydration can have a major impact on recovery and performance.
- Allowing at least 48 hours of rest between working individual muscle groups.
- Allowing at least one full day of rest per week for CNS recovery.
- Taking measures to reduce your overall stress levels during the rest of the day, as stress has a direct relation to cortisol release, which will work against your glutamine supplementation.
So, if you're looking for a way to boost your workout performance and results, definitely give some good consideration to using glutamine.