L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It's found in high-protein foods - fish, beans, meat and dairy products. Research shows that L-Glutamine helps facilitate the release of growth hormone.
After a review of the research concerning L-Glutamine and its impact on GH release, I conclude in my book that 2 grams of glutamine before training may be a wise fitness improvement strategy. And new research seems to keep heading in this direction. (Note: sometimes glutamine is confused with glucosamine used for joints/cartilage)
Personally, I take 2 grams of glutamine before training. And I know many that do the same and get great results. There's still not a body of research, however, that says this should be an absolute strategy for everyone.
My gut feeling is that one day, when the research is mature, Glutamine supplementation will become a pre-workout fitness strategy, but we're not quite there yet. Here's the latest.
Recent Glutamine Research Highlights
Glutamine may have a significant impact on the immune system. In clinical situations and during high-intensity exercise, Glutamine has been shown to decrease the incidence of infections, (The relation between glutamine and the immunodepression observed in exercise, 2001, Castell).
Glutamine has a positive impact on heart disease. "Glutamine may be cardioprotective in patients with coronary heart disease," (Is glutamine beneficial in ischemic heart disease? 2002, Khogali).
These studies follow earlier research that shows that two grams of Glutamine supplement increases HGH significantly. Many of the protein recovery drinks sold today contain up to five grams of glutamine - so two grams may be considered a small dose.
Earlier research by Dr. Welbourne at LSU Medial Center shows that 2 grams of glutamine is effective in increasing GH, "These findings demonstrate that a surprisingly small oral glutamine load is capable of elevating alkaline reserves as well as plasma growth hormone," (Increased plasma Bicarbonate and growth hormone after an oral glutamine load, 1995, Welbourne).
What does this mean to you?
High-intensity training significantly reduces the body's supply of glutamine, and it needs to be replaced. Actually filling up the glutamine fuel tank before training may do much more than simply help to replace a nutrient that is reduced during exercise. Glutamine may help facilitate the release of HGH during training.
What I hear from those who use glutamine as a pre-training strategy, "I feel stronger at the end of a workout," (or at the end of a tennis match, or round of golf).
The Take Home
L-Glutamine is a powerful supplement and has many wonderful benefits. But there can be drug interactions with glutamine and some forms of chemotherapy. It's always a good idea to let your physician know what supplements you are taking.
Chapter 3, "How to Improve Performance," Ready, Set, GO! Synergy Fitness for Time-Crunched Adults www.readysetgofitness.com
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