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Glutamine is an amino acid that is naturally occurring and abundant in the human body. Approximately 61% of your skeletal muscle is composed of glutamine.
Though it is not considered an essential amino acid, it plays an important role in healing the body from injury or illness.
Glutamine contains 19% nitrogen, and transports the nitrogen to your muscle cells through the blood.
Bodybuilders, weight lifters and athletes commonly take glutamine supplements to aid in the development of muscle mass and endurance as well as heal the body after sports related injury.
How does glutamine work?
When taken as a supplement or gained through the diet, it stimulates the anterior pituitary glands, which works to increase plasma human growth hormones (HGH) levels.
This aids in the body’s ability to metabolise fat and supports the development of new muscle growth.
Glutamine helps the body to re-synthesize carbohydrates, restoring glycogen levels that become depleted during a workout.
It can take the body up to six days to replace the glutamine that is utilised during an intense workout, which is why it is a fantastic bodybuilding supplement.
Glutamine plays an important role in maintaining the body’s homeostasis, as well as supporting the function of the immune system.
As glutamine levels become depleted during workouts, the immune system can also become run down. That is why it is important ensure your body has enough glutamine when regularly working out, to prevent illness.
Glutamine also promotes a healthy nitrogen balance and its anti-catabolism abilities prevent the muscles from wasting away.
Who should take glutamine supplements?
As glutamine increases HGH levels within the body, it is a popular bodybuilding supplement for people who want to maintain muscle mass whilst cutting.
It has anti-catabolism abilities that prevent muscle loss as well as increasing the body’s ability to metabolise fat.
It is especially important for people who do intense bodybuilding training as these training sessions deplete the body’s glutamine stores, which can then lower the immune system making them more susceptible to illness.
When should you take glutamine?
Glutamine is best taken three times a day, in the morning, post workout and in the evening.
It is especially important after a workout because it helps the body to re-synthesize carbohydrates so that it can restore depleted glycogen levels.
This means you will recover from your workout faster so that you can be ready for your next workout sooner.
How much glutamine should you take?
It is always important to follow instructions when taking bodybuilding supplements and glutamine supplements are no exception.
The general recommended quantity for a bodybuilder to take on a daily basis would be about 10-15 grams per day in total, and this should be spread out and taken at three different times.
Like all supplements, you don’t want to take more than is recommended, doing so can cause digestive disturbances.
That means it is important to check if you are getting glutamine in any other supplements you are taking, such as protein powder, and if so, you should adjust your glutamine intake accordingly.