Should You Use Glutamine?

Glutamine seems to be a pretty popular supplement as as many of you may know. Why is it good to supplement with, when you are not terminally ill or in a hospital bed? I have no idea. I remember hearing Bro Science that glutamine could help decrease muscle soreness, but I was unable to find any research to back this claim. If you’re bored and want some entertainment check out the Bro Science here.
Glutamine is a very important amino acid in our bodies. ‘It is considered to be a major fuels for many cells including enterocytes, reticulocytes, stimulated lymphocytes, fibroblast and malignant cells. These cells share the common characteristics of relative rapid growth rates, high glicolitic rates, relative poor glucose oxidative capacity, and high glutaminase activity.’ (Vasconcelos et al, 1998)
The beauty of glutamine is that it’s a non-essential amino acid. This means the body can acquire glutamine from the body and doesn’t need it from the diet. Obviously, you don’t want your body breaking down muscle to acquire glutamine. However, there are many ways your body can move glutamine in your body to the gut if your gut requires glutamine.
For one thing, about 50% of the amino acid pool in your blood is made up of glutamine. This means if you are healthy, you should have approximately 50 grams of glutamine contained in your blood (the amino acid pool contains around 100 grams of amino acids). So that’s one way the body can acquire glutamine.
Eating is also another simple way for the body to get glutamine. Eat a steak or chicken breast and your body will have more than enough glutamine. Click on the links above and expand the protein content. Look at which amino acid dominates the protein content in those foods: glutamic acid (glutamic acid becomes glutamine in the body).
Pretty much all the research I found on glutamine sought out to study the effects of glutamine supplementation on sick people. There are many different reasons sick people might use glutamine, I will not cover them as I don’t prescribe supplements for sick people.
There was some interesting research that I found on how glutamine effects glycogen resynthesis after intense exercise. Since intense exercise does deplete glycogen stores, restoring them after is important. The study investigated the effects of glycogen resynthesis when a glucose beverage was mixed with a glutamine beverage, and two other protein powders with varying amounts of glutamine. The study concluded ‘that ingestion of a glutamine/carbohydrate mixture does not increase the rate of glycogen resynthesis in muscle.’ (Hall et al, 2000)
So my conclusion is to save the money you could spend on glutamine, and spend it on meat. Unless you are sick, or have some form of gut issues, you simply do not need to supplement with glutamine. Until next time.

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