There are numerous supplements out there that promise the world but in reality deserve little more than a passing glance because they do not deliver results. At Platinum Training Institute we are proud to bring you a range of tried and trusted supplements that are not just placebos but really do work! Each week we will bring you a blog post about the benefits of one of our range. Today our focus is on glutamine. Read on and find out why it made our top ten!
Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein vital for the production of lean muscle mass. Some of the amino acids are considered essential and must be obtained from the diet as our body cannot synthesize them. Others are considered non-essential, this doesn’t mean that we need them any less it just means that given the right ingredients our body can synthesize them autonomously.
Very often you’ll see amino acids referred to with a prefix of ‘L’ or ‘DL’. These letters refer to the handedness of the amino acid as those produced in a lab typically present as left or right sided. It is important to note that the ‘L’ form is the most biologically available and therefore the form that should be taken as a supplement. This is the case in most instances with DL Phenylalanine being one exception.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid found naturally in the body, making up about 60% of skeletal tissue. It can become conditionally essential in times of great stress, with prolonged intense exercise, when in a calorie deficit and training on multiple days per week. In my opinion, it has been overlooked in relation to its myriad benefits. It is a very cost effective and valuable supplement that can give you an edge in your training and fat burning program.
Recently glutamine has gained popularity within the fitness community as it is a pro-anabolic amino acid that promotes optimum protein synthesis due to its favourable effect on levels of growth hormone i.e. It increases growth hormone secretion. It is the only amino acid to pass freely through the blood-brain barrier, making it a desirable supplement for athletes and gym-goers because it is important for muscle glycogen deposition and can release extra growth hormone. It has anti-catabolic properties i.e. it helps to prevent muscle tissue breakdown and promotes cell volume maintenance. It has been shown to enhance the immune system and it is important for providing fuel to many cells of the body, being produced in the muscle and transported by the blood to areas of need (is the dominant amino acid in blood and cerebrospinal fluid). It can also enhance glycogen storage, which keeps you from getting tired easily when you exercise as glycogen is the body’s stored form of carbohydrate.
More recently It is thought that glutamine should be added to the supplement protocol of those trying to lose body fat as it can reduce cravings for alcohol, sugar and carbohydrates, three things that can be detrimental to the success of a calorie restricted diet.
But the reason I love this wonderful supplement (and add it to my shakes!), is the positive effects it has on our digestive system. No matter how healthy we eat, if our digestive system isn’t healthy and primed for assimilation of nutrients we are losing valuable resources. Glutamine provides energy to the small intestines and is vital for intestinal mucosal integrity, it has been shown to aid symptoms of stomach ulcers, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and repair damage to that all important gut. It is currently being researched as a means by which to repair cellular degeneration of the intestinal cells. There are many more purported benefits of supplementing with L- glutamine but these have yet to be clinically proven so watch this space!
The body’s demand for glutamine increases with the amount and duration of physical exercise and mental stress, and as you get older your body’s ability to synthesize glutamine reduces and slows down, for these reasons alone it is a valuable supplement for any active, hard-working person. In addition a typical serving of L-glutamine, won’t break your calorie bank as it provides 20 calories and 5g protein. Add it to your shake for an extra boost and click the link in the supplements section of our website for more information!
Naomi McArdle MSc