Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning the body can produce it on its own. Majority (60%) of glutamine in the body is found in the skeletal muscles and the rest is found in the liver, stomach and lungs. It is the primary transporter of nitrogen in muscle cells. Even thought the body generates it own, taking glutamine supplement is still important to give that boost to your muscle and strength building routine.
What Does Glutamine Do and How does it Help in Muscle Building?
Glutamine helps in protein synthesis, prevents muscle tissue from breaking down, aids muscle recovery and enhances growth hormones. Glutamine also enhances nitrogen retention and hence arrests loss of muscle proteins. The body’s glutamine reserves are depleted when you engage in extensive exercise, due to ill health, etc. In terms of muscle building training, the body starts to release glutamine within the initial few minutes of the workout session. This means that if the glutamine reserves fall below a certain level, the body might get into a catabolic state and may start breaking down muscle. Since glutamine is the chief transporter of nitrogen during intense workouts, to ensure a positive nitrogen balance in the body it is important to ensure a high glutamine level, ultimately boosting muscle mass gain. In nut shell the benefits of glutamine can be listed as follows:
- Helps in protein synthesis
- Helps in arresting muscle catabolism during workouts
- Brings down muscle recovery time
- Enhances growth hormone production
- Boosts the immune system
- Helps in replenishing glycogen reserves during situations of glycogen depletion
- Acts as a mood elevator
- Has positive influence on neurodegenerative diseases
- Helps with long and short term memory
Why Do You Need Glutamine Supplements
Since glutamine is the chief carrier of nitrogen through the bloodstream, it is important for the body to maintain a constant level of glutamine in the blood. Also with the high protein diet that you consume as a weight trainer, your digestive system needs a high amount of glutamine to process it. When you are engaging in intense training sessions, your glutamine reserves are depleted and your body’s glutamine levels can be reduced by as much as 50%. If the level of glutamine in your bloodstream falls below a certain level the body gets into the catabolic cycle and may try to break down muscles for glutamine, ultimately resulting in loss of muscle mass. To prevent this from happening, you need to take glutamine supplements.
Does Glutamine Have Any Side Effects?
Glutamine has not been known to cause any major side effects though it is always best to consult your physician before you start with the supplements. One word of caution is for diabetic people, who should consult their doctor before taking any supplement.
When You should you Take Glutamine and in What Amounts
Usually you should take glutamine supplements right after finishing your workout session. You can add glutamine supplements to your post workout shake. The amount usually varies from individual to individual and your fitness instructor is the best adviser in this regard. However, usually you can tale 1-2 servings of glutamine supplement not exceeding 20 grams a day.