A Beginner’s Guide to Glutamine

A beginner's guide to glutamine
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What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is a ‘non-essential’ amino acid. As a ‘non-essential’ amino acid, glutamine is produced naturally in the body, but can also be found in dietary sources including beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, cabbage, beets, beans and spinach. Although glutamine is a ‘non-essential’ amino acid, it can often be described as a conditionally essential amino acid, as the body can become extremely depleted at specific times and cannot resynthesize sufficient quantities on its own.

Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in your muscles. Approximately 60% of skeletal muscle is glutamine and in recent years it has seen a rise in popularity due to its contribution to protein synthesis and muscle maintenance. It is also believed to increase natural hormone levels (important for muscle mass), as well as playing a leading role in healthy immune system function.

Why should I take it?

Glutamine is a staple for anyone who wants to maintain muscle mass during intense and/or frequent training. After intense exercise, glutamine levels in the body can reduce significantly. When the body requires more glutamine than it is able to produce, this is known as glutamine depletion.

During this state, muscle glutamine might be metabolised in order to supply the rest of the body, particularly cells in the immune system, with the glutamine they need to function properly.

If you’re training for muscle and size but your glutamine intake is low, your body might be pushed into a catabolic state – where your muscle tissue is broken down.

Whilst glutamine levels will eventually increase naturally, this can take some time, dependant on exercise activity and diet, so supplementation can be an effective way of replenishing glutamine levels quickly. As we age, our ability to synthesise glutamine decreases. As such, glutamine is often recommended for older athletes who train frequently.

When should I take it?

The perfect time to take glutamine is post workout as this is when your glutamine levels will be at their lowest. However, most people will supplement in the morning, post workout and before bed. In addition, glutamine is a popular intra workout supplement (it’s in several of our products including Complete Intra Workout™ and Informed BCAA). Regular supplementation can ensure that glutamine, particularly muscle glutamine, is maintained for optimum performance and recovery.

How much should I take?

If you’re training intensively, 10-15g of glutamine per day should be sufficient, and 5g post workout is often recommended. Bear in mind that some dietary sources also contain glutamine so you’ll contribute to this through your regular diet too.

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