L-glutamine is another one of those buzzwords in the fitness industry that seems to be highly acclaimed for its ability strip fat and build lean muscle. In this post we will take a deeper look at L-glutamine benefits and side effects, so you can decide for yourself this supplement is right for you.
WHAT IS L-GLUTAMINE?
L-glutamine is an amino acid needed in the body for the biosynthesis of proteins. It is the most abundant amino acid in our bloodstream and more than 61% of our skeletal muscle is made up of it, and 90% of our body’s l-glutamine is synthesised in our skeletal muscle.
However, there can be a problem sometimes with glutamine synthesis in certain individuals like the sick or premature babies, making it much herder for these individuals to produce their own. In such cases l-glutamine is an essential amino acid.
WHEN WOULD I NEED TO SUPPLEMENT?
Glutamine is crucial in our bodies, it is essential for providing fuel to our cells in order to make other amino acids and to produce glucose. It is especially needed in times of stress, both physical and mental as it will be burnt up very quickly. This is one of the reasons why l-glutamine is so popular in the fitness industry, because physical training puts constant stress on the muscles and immune system.
When intensely training, levels of glutamine are vastly depleted, which decreases overall strength, stamina and recovery time. In fact, after an intense session it can take up to 6 days for levels to return to what they should be.
L- glutamine for Muscle Repair and Growth
Studies show that glutamine supplementation can improve the metabolism of protein, so it can not only be used for muscle repair and growth, but also minimise breakdown in the first place. Helping to prevent the breakdown of muscle is another reason why l-glutamine is so popular with those on an intense training program or lifting heavy weights.
L-GLUTAMINE AND FAT LOSS
L-glutamine is definitely up there as a fat burner because it helps counteract the storage of fat and so helps to regulate weight – it also reduces cravings for sugar and alcohol. During intense exercise it helps with the process of outing fat without losing vital muscle mass, which is very easily done when exercising and is often a side effect of weight loss.
All this can be negated with a few simple strategies and a proper eating plan which will make sure you are getting all the amino acids you need from your diet, as well as supplementation if needed.
L-carnitine is another amino acid I have been looking into recently, and it also has an impressive profile for fat burning during exercise, among many other benefits. This is often used alongside l-glutamine for even more enhanced fat burning/muscle building effects.
There are many other ways you can build muscle whilst burning fat and you should incorporate some of these into your daily regime and not just rely on one thing. You will always get the best fat burning results from hitting it from many different angles that include diet, exercise, and soemtimes supplements.
EXERCISE AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
An intense workout (especially body building) depletes your stores of glutamine, and as glutamine plays such an important role in the immune system this can leave you more susceptible to catching bugs and other illnesses. Who’s noticed getting sick after they know they have overdone it in the gym or out running?… I know I have! Pushing your body too far can really have a knock on effect on the immune system and so it is vital to keep it strong and healthy.
This in itself could be a good reason to use l-glutamine, especially if you do like to push yourself during training, and of course pushing yourself gradually is something that you need to do in order to get stronger, fitter and leaner. It’s just a good idea not to take this too far, too quickly if you want to keep your immune system strong.
Other Uses For L-Glutamine
L-glutamine is also used in the medical world for many other reasons, one being as a protection for the immune system in patients undergoing cancer treatment such as radiotherapy. It is also used after bone marrow transplants and bowel surgery to improve recovery, prevent infection, and increase well-being.
L-GLUTAMINE AND MENTAL DISORDERS
L-glutamine can also be used in the treatment of various mental illnesses and disorders, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and ADHD. It has a stabilising effect, and unlike many other medications is able to cross the blood brain barrier. This means it may stimulate GABA; a neurotransmitter that sends chemical messages through the nervous system and brain and changing these messages may result in relief from some of these disorders.
Although more research needs to be done in this field, as with many natural mood disorder treatments sometimes it can be a case of trial and error to find what works for you.
L-GLUTAMINE AND LEAKY GUT
Another very popular use for l-glutamine is for healing the cells in the lining of the gut that may have been damaged by LGS (leaky gut syndrome). LGS can often be a side effect of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
The inflammation that goes with this disorder can often damage the intestinal lining. Experts are not sure whether IBS causes LGS or vice versa and it is a field that still needs much more research – there is no real cure as of yet, not medically at least.
Other Issues Caused by leaky Gut:
Having a leaky gut can cause so many issues in the body and it is fast becoming a leading chronic health issue. Some of the problems caused are auto immune diseases, skin problems, allergies, asthma, autism, arthritis, SIRS and type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms of leaky gut include:- inflammatory diseases, food sensitivities, auto immune diseases, malabsorbption of key nutrients such as Vitamin B12, magnesium and other enzymes, and mood disorders, including autism.
This is a long list and I haven’t gone into much detail here as it requires much more in depth study, but it seems that leaky gut syndrome may be a root cause of many problems and certainly requires deeper investigation if you feel you may be suffering from it.
Healing A Leaky Gut:
While l-glutamine may help to repair a leaky gut, this is only a small part of the healing process and there are other steps that involve the cutting out of certain foods. These include foods such as sugar, grains, non organic animal products and alcohol, and also adding in healing foods such as live enzymes and probiotic foods like sauerkraut.
It is after this that you would begin the repair process, and this is where l-glutamane would come in with its abilities to heal stomach lining. After which the next step would be to repopulate the guts good bacteria with a good quality probiotics.
All this is a process that needs to be done either under the supervision of a professional or with proper understanding of it.
If you feel like having a go at making your own sauerkraut to help heal your leaky gut then please check out this video below.
L-GLUTAMINE BENEFITS IN A NUTSHELL
- Helps protein synthesis
- Helps strip fat and promotes lean muscle growth
- Is a great immune booster
- May help with mental disorders such as depression and anxiety
- May help combat insomnia
- Has many medical uses (of which I would suggest you consult your doctor about before use)
WHERE TO BUY AND WHICH KIND:
As with all supplements, they are most definitely NOT all created equal. Some are filled with preservatives, chemicals, fillers and many more nasties and if it is something you need to take long term then just think of how detrimental it would be to keep filling your body with rubbish. Many of these will have names that are unrecognisable so you don’t really know what you are putting in your body, or the potential side effects of this added junk.
Always buy from reputable companies and brands. Here I have sourced out what I think is good quality l-glutamine
Trusted Brand – Amazon: SOLGAR 500mg L- GLUTAMINE CAPSULES
Possible Side Effects:
It is important to ALWAYS read labels. Side effects are pretty rare and usually only occur when too much is taken, but are generally mild and may include stomach aches and cramps, nausea, vomiting, mild skin rash, dizziness, itching and headache. If these occur then you should stop taking the supplement and consult your doctor who may suggest a different dosage, or to stop completely.