What is glutamine? It is an amino acid – the building blocks of your muscles – and is so abundant that it makes up almost 60% of all the amino acids in your body. You’ll find glutamine in your blood, muscles, gut, brain and liver.
The reason glutamine is so popular as a supplement is that it plays a key role in protein metabolism – protein metabolism is essential for building and maintaining muscles. Evidence suggests that taking a glutamine supplement may help to reduce muscle damage after tough workouts, stopping other tissues that need glutamine from taking the glutamine that is stored in the muscles.
Do you need glutamine? If you work out hard, the answer is probably yes. After a hard workout or event, the glutamine levels in your body can fall by as much as 50%, placing high demands for glutamine throughout the body. By taking a supplement, you can preserve the glutamine in your muscles, thus minimizing the breakdown of muscle tissue and improving protein metabolism.
There are other benefits. It appears that taking glutamine can dramatically increase the body’s output of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – HGH helps to burn body fat and build muscle, so increasing levels of HGH in the body will be of benefit to almost anyone.
Other benefits of this supplement include supporting the immune system – following a hard workout, athletes have a window of low immune function and vulnerability. Glutamine supplementation stimulates immune function, decreases inflammation, and protects muscle cells from the damage caused by hard workouts.
Finally, taking glutamine after your workouts can increase the availability of muscle glycogen, helping you to replenish the glycogen in your muscles more quickly.
This supplement is best used after your workouts – ideally, take it 20-30 minutes after a workout, with around 20 grams of whey protein. It will help to speed recovery, increase the release of HGH, increase protein synthesis, and improve your immune system.