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Glutamine's "Hidden" Benefits

Glutamine's 'Hidden' Benefits
Glutamine provides critical benefits for hard-training individuals – whether you notice it or not. Here's what you need to know about this essential amino acid.

I use social media to not only educate through free articles and videos on training, nutrition and supplements, but also as a live and ongoing Q&A session with fitness-minded people worldwide. While my answers are visible to anyone, some get lost in the shuffle and need highlighting so that they can be useful for everyone.

Take the question that @rezaredbull recently asked me on Instagram:

(In case the above image doesn't come through on your mobile device or computer, the question is this: Can you please tell us more about glutamine? The benefits of it and if there's any supplements better than that?)

I spent a bit more time than normal on this answer, as it was a great question. I even filmed a quick video on it (coming soon). If you missed it on Instagram, here's my answer to @rezaredbull's question (edited slighly from the initial version for clarity and grammar): 

Glutamine isn't all that special as far as noticeable benefits go. However, I provide 3 grams of glutamine in Post JYM because its levels are critical in muscle cells for muscle protein synthesis. Glutamine is not only one of the essential amino acids needed for muscle protein synthesis (muscle building); it’s also one of the highest-concentrated amino acids in the body, as many other bodily tissues use it. The kidneys, the immune system and the digestive system all use glutamine for energy. If any of these organs or systems is cranked up, its energy needs will increase and it will pull glutamine from the muscle cells. 

Exercise is a stress on the body that ramps up the immune system. When this happens, the immune system will need extra glutamine and will take it from the muscles. Research has shown that if muscle glutamine levels are low after exercise, protein synthesis may be compromised. So it makes sense to get in a dose of readily available glutamine – it can quickly supply the intestines and immune cells the energy they need, as well as restock muscle levels, so that muscle protein synthesis can be maximized when you get in your protein blend (Pro JYM) and BCAAs (also present in Post JYM). 

As for dosing, go for 3-5 grams of glutamines as soon after your workout as possible so that protein synthesis isn't compromised and muscle growth can be maximized. Many people have stomach issues taking glutamine, so start on the lower end of the dosing scale. This stomach sensitivity issue is why I have 3 grams of glutamine in Post JYM. This dose helps reduce the issues yet still provides an adequate dose to get the job done. 

You can take glutamine at other times of day, too, but if the immune system isn't revved up (such as after workouts), it will likely not provide a huge benefit. That’s why I only recommend 3-5 grams taken post-workout. 

I hope this clears up exactly what glutamine does for the hard-training individual. A lot of self-proclaimed "experts" say glutamine is worthless, but they likely only say this because they don't notice and literally "feel" the benefit of this essential amino acid. When you delve into the science and realize exactly what glutamine does in the body, you'll appreciate its benefits for aiding recovery after hard workouts. What you don't notice or feel might still be providing a great benefit. This is certainly the case with glutamine.

 

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