Sunday, 16 March 2014

Benefits of glutamine

This is part two of our top 3 supplements for lean muscle growth. Part one outlined the benefits of creatine for lean muscle gains, and can be found here. Now we'll look at the benefits of L-glutamine for supercharging your workouts and achieving better results.


L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid present in the human body, and has many important roles in muscle function and growth. Whilst it's not an essential amino acid for humans and your body will form it from other amino acids in the protein you eat, levels of glutamine can be greatly reduced in cases of sickness, or just from regular resistance training. This is because training your muscles causes glutamine to be used up in the recovery and growth processes, and it takes a while for your body to return levels to normal. Glutamine supplements prevent this deficit and ensure your muscles always have enough glutamine.

What can glutamine do for you?

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Speeds up recovery
  • Boosts muscle growth
  • Reduces muscle loss

Glutamine boosts the immune system

Glutamine is an important component of the immune system. Adequate levels of the amino acid allow the immune system to produce cytokines and maintain healthy lymphocyte proliferation. When given to patients following a bone marrow transplant, surgery, or radiation therapy, glutamine helps ease the immunosuppression that occurs, and decreases both hospital stays and risk of infection.

In people who take part in bodybuilding, glutamine levels often fall below normal because the demand for the nutrient overpowers supply. Supplementation with glutamine can help offset this imbalance and aid the immune system.

Glutamine aids muscle growth

Glutamine has two major benefits that lead to better gains and quicker recoveries. It can raise the plasma levels of bicarbonate and growth hormone. This can make a world of difference because:
  • Bicarbonate neutralises lactic acid formation. When you work out a muscle, lactic acid builds up and causes the classic burning sensation of soreness. This can limit the amount of effort you can exert. Because glutamine supplementation can increase levels of bicarbonate, there is more available to neutralise the lactic acid and reduce soreness, increasing the work you can do in the gym, and decreasing muscle recovery time and soreness.
  • Growth hormone fuels muscle growth. Working out itself causes growth hormone levels to increase, and glutamine can further raise these levels to enhance the benefits of resistance training.

Reduces muscle loss

When glutamine levels drop as a result of strenuous exercise, injury, or illness, muscle loss is increased. Supplementation of glutamine may help to alleviate this problem and prevent muscle loss. In cases where patients are given glutamine after surgery, the catabolism of muscle tissue is reduced compared to regular nutrition without added glutamine.

If you're suffering through an illness, spend a lot of time in the gym, or due for surgery, glutamine supplementation can reinforce gains and prevent you from losing muscle mass.


Glutamine should be taken in a dosage of 2 grams per day to support the body's natural reserves. In fairly sedentary people, this dosage is enough to boost bicarbonate and growth hormone reserves. If you exercise fairly often or are currently ill, you will benefit most from a higher dose of up to 5 grams per day to combat the loss that occurs after heavy exercise.

Coming up next

This three part series will conclude with a key supplement that can boost your gains and help you reach new levels of fitness. No other supplement is as highly used and praised, but many people don't realise just how many benefits it has.

Part 1 - Creatine
Part 2 - Whey protein

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