The Top 5 Benefits of Glutamine
Why is Glutamine important and what does glutamine do?
Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid, and is one of the 20 naturally occurring amino acids found in the body. It is also one of the most abundant amino acids in the body, and therefore is a major substrate for many vital functions that go beyond working out. This means it can be produced by the body naturally, but there are instances where the body’s glutamine bioavailability drops and is required via supplementation for the body to carry out important bodily processes. In this article, we will go over the top 5 reasons why glutamine is a fundamentally important part of anyone’s daily supplementation.
1. Aids in muscle growth and recovery
During intense training or exercise, your body undergoes catabolic distress at a certain point. Meaning, your body will start using your muscle for energy which leads to muscle wasting. In this state, there is a decrease in glutamine availability in the body on a cellular and plasma level. One of glutamines key roles is nitrogen transportation, and as discussed in our previous blog on muscle growth, the key to building muscle is a positive nitrogen balance. Therefore, by supplementing with glutamine immediately post-workout, your body will be able to shuttle nitrogen atoms to damaged muscles, in order to stimulate tissue repair. The same process is also true when facing injury and inducing skeletal repair. This is especially important in a caloric deficit for maintaining muscle mass. Furthermore, because glutamine is the principle carrier of nitrogen in the body, it is a catalyst behind building proteins in the body. Therefore, the more bioavailable glutamine is in our bodies, the better suited we are for protein synthesis, which leads to muscle growth.
2. Helps with immune system health
Glutamine scarcity in the body not only occurs during intense training or exercise, but also can occur during inflammatory conditions such as infection and/or illness. A decrease in glutamine availability in the body leads to several impaired immune functions, including lowered lymphocyte production, cytokine production, and reduces the activity of surface activation proteins. In simpler terms, it reduces your body’s ability to fight off infection, bacteria and kill off bad cells. The supplementation of glutamine has been proven to regulate the body’s defense against pathogens and other harmful viruses, and acts on gene expression. It also activates intracellular signaling pathways in order for the body to carry out vital metabolic functions.
3. Glutamine aids in digestive health and gastrointestinal health
As discussed, glutamine plays a huge role in protein synthesis, and part of this process is cellular. Glutamine directly influences intracellular signaling pathways that regulate cell cycle regulation and regeneration. This means, glutamine helps your gut cells to regenerate quicker, and therefore helps to seal any perforations in the gut in order to restore the gut lining into a healthy state. This can be especially helpful for those suffering from food sensitives, and/or with inflammatory gut conditions such as Candida overgrowth, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Chron’s disease, etc. By protecting and helping to heal your gut lining, glutamine helps to reduce inflammation in the body, keep your intestines healthy, and reduce your chance of ulcers. Glutamine also aids in the mucus production in your gut, leading to healthier bowel movements and better intestinal health.
4. Glutamine curbs sugar cravings and helps metabolic management
A less commonly known benefit to supplementing with glutamine is its ability to help your body’s cravings for sugar and/or unhealthy foods. It assists in regulating your body’s metabolism so that you are less likely to indulge in foods that are not necessary for your overall intake. It does this by suppressing insulin levels and stabilizing blood glucose, which is the main catalyst for hunger cues and fat cell storage. With regulated glucose levels, our body is less likely to store excess calories as fat. This is also especially important for reducing inflammation in the body, as these types of foods are often linked to inflammatory responses.
5. Glutamine assists in growth hormone production
Human growth hormone (HGH) supports overall health in many different ways, and naturally begins to fall around the age of 30. There are studies done to show that supplementing with a small amount of glutamine significantly increased growth hormone secretion levels. This is massively beneficial, as human growth hormone has many positive repercussions on the body. This includes the reduction of body fat and skin aging, an increase in muscle mass and bone density, maintaining cognitive function with age, and aiding in internal organ health. Supplementing with glutamine may aid in maintaining healthy HGH levels and negate the decline we face with age.
Dosage For Glutamine
It is very apparent that supplementing with glutamine can be beneficial on many different levels. The benefits go beyond just being used as a “bodybuilding” supplement. It aids in muscle growth and recovery, your body’s ability to fight off infection, digestive health and metabolic regulation, and aids in human growth hormone production. Yet the benefits listed here are only a few of the many benefits to supplementing with glutamine. Glutamine also aids in maintaining pH homeostasis, is a source of cellular energy, boosts brain health, and many more. In order to reap the benefits of this conditionally essential amino acid, the recommended dosage for the average person is 5g-10g per day, most beneficially consumed on an empty stomach in the morning and immediately post workout.