Bodybuilding comes with a multitude of benefits. Some of these are obvious, ripped abs and less back pain for example. However, other benefits aren't so obvious. It's only when someone asks how you manage to make it through every winter without a cold that you take a step back and think about it.
While your co-workers are sneezing and sniffling their way through the winter, the bodybuilding supplement glutamine may be helping you ward off the common cold.
What Is Glutamine?
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that is abundant in the human body and the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle. Though non-essential (your body can make it), glutamine can become essential during times of illness, stress, or injury, meaning you may need supplemental glutamine as needs can exceed those your body can make.
Glutamine is primarily stored in the muscle and secondly, the lungs. Like all amino acids, glutamine plays a role in protein synthesis. In addition, glutamine helps remove the common waste product ammonia from the body, supports immune system functioning and plays a role in brain functioning and digestion.
Protein synthesis: The process by which nitrogen from amino acids is linearly arranged into structural proteins through the involvement of RNA and various enzymes. Protein synthesis is muscle growth. The more efficient you can make this process the more efficiently you can build muscle.
How Glutamine Can Ward Off The Common Cold
Though your body can manufacture the glutamine you need when you are healthy and mild to moderately active, sometimes you need a little more of this bodybuilding supplement to boost your immune system and ward off the common cold.
- Supplemental Glutamine Helps In Times Of Stress: There's a reason glutamine is used in clinical nutrition (it's given to some patients in the hospital). Injuries, infection, illness, surgery and trauma all stress your body and take a toll on your glutamine stores. And, studies show that this bodybuilding supplement can strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of infection after surgery.
- Hardcore Training Can Reduce Your Glutamine Stores: It's no secret that strenuous exercise associated with long distance running or cycling, two-a-days and other types of intense physical exercise can make you tired and decrease several parameters of your immune system functioning. This may be partly due to a drop in glutamine stores. Studies also show that strenuous exercise decreases the concentration of glutamine in the blood. And, some studies have also found that supplemental glutamine can decrease the likelihood of illness in endurance athletes.
- Resistance Training Decreases Glutamine Stores: Pump iron and your body will respond by pumping out the havoc-wrecking hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol means decreased glutamine stores. Supplemental glutamine can bring your stores back to a good range.
- Dieting Can Decrease Immune Functioning: If you're training for a competition and taking in fewer calories than your body needs or dieting to lose weight quickly, your efforts may be doing more than shrinking your waistline. Dieting can also impact your immune system. To make sure your immune system is functioning well, eat plenty of quality protein, take a multivitamin and continue taking glutamine.
Additional Tips To Ward Off The Common Cold
- Wash your hands frequently (with soap and for at least 20 seconds) and always before touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow if need be.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you and put some in your car.
- Telecommute when everyone in your office is sick.
- Consider probiotic strains that boost immunity.
- Stay home when you are sick. There's no need to infect others who can re-infect you plus your body needs the rest.
Glutamine can help your muscles recover from an intense workout and potentially decrease muscle damage. But, it doesn't stop there. It may also help you prevent the common cold.
In today's society we are in constant contact with many different people. Some wash their hands, some don't. And many don't stay home from work when they feel a cold coming on but instead linger in your cubicle a little too long.
To stay healthy, follow the tips above and keep taking the bodybuilding supplement glutamine. Because who wants to use their days off from work sniffling, sneezing and coughing?
How much glutamine should you take? Approximately 0.1-0.3 grams per kg bodyweight (divide weight in pounds by 2.2 to get kg), post-exercise.
Though there are no side effects from taking glutamine, always tell your physician about all of the dietary supplements and over the counter drugs you are taking.
Though glutamine has a great safety record in doses up to 14 grams per day and possibly higher, it shouldn't be taken if you are taking certain chemotherapy medications for (drugs to treat cancer) or if you have kidney disease, liver disease or Reye's syndrome.
Reye's Syndrome: Reye's syndrome is a potentially fatal disease that causes numerous detrimental effects to many organs, especially the brain and liver, as well as causing hypoglycemia. The exact cause is unknown, and while it has been associated with aspirin consumption by children with viral illness, it also occurs in the absence of aspirin use.
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- Glutamine. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/glutamine-000307.htm
- Castell L. Glutamine supplementation in vitro and in vivo, in exercise and in immunodepression. Sports Med 2003;33(5):323-45.
- Castell LM. Can glutamine modify the apparent immunodepression observed after prolonged, exhaustive exercise? Nutrition 2002;18(5):371-5.
- MacKinnon LT. Special feature for the Olympics: effects of exercise on the immune system: overtraining effects on immunity and performance in athletes. Immunol Cell Biol 2000;78(5):502-9.