Glutamine has recently been the focus of much scientific interest. Evidence suggest that during times of stress, the body may require more Glutamine than it can produce. Under these circumstances, glutamine may be considered a "conditionally essential" amino acid.
Glutamine is one of the most abundant amino-acids in the human body, accounting for greater than 60% of the total intra-muscular free amino-acid pool. Virtually every cell in the body uses this non-essential amino-acid.
Glutamine is synthesized in both skeletal muscle and in adipose tissue in addition to the lungs, liver, and brain. Because the body has the ability to produce glutamine it has long been considered a non-essential amino acid (as opposed to essential amino acids) which simply means the body has a mechanism to produce this powerful amino acid. However, there is evidence that, during times of stress, the body cannot produce enough glutamine to keep up with demand which in turn can reduce performance, immune function, and mood.
Glutamine offers a significant benefit to exercising individuals and those looking to increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat. Supplemental glutamine can help promote cell volumization, the phenomenon of drawing of water INSIDE muscle cells which can help increase muscle “fullness”, increase protein synthesis (the making of proteins), and decrease proteolysis (the breakdown of protein).
In a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine, subjects underwent an exhaustive training session and then took glutamine or placebo for six days. After six days, every subject had their power measured and then performed the same exhaustive training session. Subjects who received the glutamine supplements experienced no drop-off in power from day 1 to day 6. The placebo group was found to have a decrease in power after 6 days, indicating their muscles were still not fully recovered. Additionally, the glutamine group was able to train longer before becoming exhausted on day 6 compared to day 1, while the placebo group showed no improvement. Taking glutamine supplements in between training sessions may help speed recovery so you can start growing faster and get back into the weight-room as fast as possible.
In two separate studies conducted at LSU, researchers found that a dose of only 2 grams of glutamine increased bicarbonate levels over a 90-minute period. Taking glutamine before exercise could help increase your bicarbonate stores, allowing you to tolerate higher levels of lactic acid produced from hard training and therefore allow you to get more reps per set.
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