Everything You Need to Know About Glutamine

23 December, 2018
Let's look at another dietary supplement that's common in the world of athletes. Discover in which situations it's advisable to take glutamine.
 

It’s one of the 20 amino acids that are responsible for comprising proteins. Beyond talking in scientific terms, we must know that glutamine is a widely used substance in fitness due to its presence in muscles. Find out more in this article.

The role of glutamine

It’s one of the few amino acid molecules that has two nitrogen atoms and therefore, we consider it to be very important in terms of metabolic functions. When glutamine is synthesized, the body is “cleansed” of the ammonia present in tissues and in the brain.

In turn, it’s the amino acid with the greatest presence in muscles and blood. It neutralizes the excess of lactic acid we generate when practicing intense aerobic exercises. Lactic acid is one of the causes of muscle fatigue and catabolysis.

Glutamine neutralizes the excess of lactic acid. 

Another benefit of glutamine is that it prevents the loss of muscle mass when we are at rest or after a cardio routine.

Glutamine deficiency

Glutamine is naturally present in our bodies, but in certain cases, its levels can decrease. One of the main causes of this amino acid’s deficiency is stress, which weakens the immune system.

 

It can also happen due to the intensity of an exercise; such as when we increase the frequency (days we train) or change our routine for a more intense one. When the body isn’t able to produce the adequate amount of glutamine it needs, we’ll notice it through certain symptoms or signals, which include:

  • Excessive fatigue.
  • Lack of recovery.
  • Appetite reduction.
  • All-day lethargy.
  • Bad moods.
  • Susceptibility to infections.

Glutamine as a supplement

Due to its virtues on a muscular level, glutamine has become a widely-used dietary supplement by athletes. By doing this, the exercised muscles are prevented from losing volume.

It’s also convenient for athletes who have stopped training due to an injury or illness that causes muscle reduction. Due to its “building” power, doctors prescribe glutamine for patients with HIV and cancer in advanced stages. 

Glutamine is prescribed for patients with HIV and cancer in advanced stages.

In addition, it may be beneficial in patients with arthritis, fibrosis, peptide ulcers, or immonudeficient diseases.

Although it’s marketed in the form of capsules or powder (which are consumed on an empty stomach), the truth is that glutamine is also present in foods–both of vegetable and animal origin—that contain high levels of protein.

 

The problem with this natural option is that heat destroys the amino acid. For this reason, its properties are lost when cooking food. The main sources of glutamine are dairy, meat (raw or smoked), eggs, pork, turkey, salmon, spinach, parsley, cabbage, nuts, and fermented food such as miso.

Glutamine in athletes

Even though this amino acid is important for all people, it becomes essential for those who practice sports. It allows better muscle recovery and a reduction in post-workout pain. It’s also valued because it prevents the spread of common colds or viral diseases in gyms.

To know how much glutamine you need to consume, it’s very important to consult with the trainer or doctor in charge of diets. The two aspects that intervene in the dosage are body weight and the type and amount of exercise you perform.

It’s normal to consume between 2 and 30 grams a day in order to increase the levels of the amino acid in the blood. The minimum amount is recommended for inactive people and the maximum for those who train at a professional or competitive level.

In case you ingest more than 10 grams a day, you should divide the dose by half. The most appropriate moments to consume it are when we wake up, before or after training, and before going to sleep. We recommend not to mix it with hot food or drinks since they can diminish the effects. It’s also not good to accompany them with citrus juices.

If you have any doubts about glutamine, don’t hesitate to consult your trusted doctor. You’ll learn about the possible side effects and above all, the proper dosage.