By Chad Kerksick, PhD ProSource
Shut Down Catabolism and Jumpstart Recovery With Premium-Quality Glutamine
Optimal growth and recovery require several factors working in tandem. Killer training is a must to provide the cue for your body to get bigger and stronger. This must be balanced with a good diet to help provide the fuel you need to exercise and recover as quickly and completely as possible. To build protein our body needs adequate levels of 20 different amino acids. From a muscle building perspective, the essential amino acids are the most important and a number of studies have reported upon the ability of this group of amino acids to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis (Rasmussen, Tipton et al. 2000; Tipton, Rasmussen et al. 2001; Borsheim, Tipton et al. 2002; Fujita, Dreyer et al. 2009). In fact, studies have concluded that the essential amino acids are an absolute must for muscle growth to occur (Tipton, Gurkin et al. 1999; Volpi, Kobayashi et al. 2003).
Where can you get optimal amounts of these essential amino acids? High quality sources of protein is the answer. More specifically, isolate versions of the milk protein whey routinely have the highest amounts of the all-important essential amino acids when compared to other sources of protein (Phillips, Tang et al. 2009). The entire NytroWhey family of proteins including original NytroWhey and NytroWhey Ultra Elite incorporate whey protein isolate and as a result they have some of the highest concentrations of the essential amino acids. For this reason NytroWhey Elite and NytroWhey Elite Ultra are a "must-have" consideration for any bodybuilder.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is an amino acid found in our body that serves as a primary source of fuel for cells found inside our digestive and immune systems (Windmueller and Spaeth 1974). In addition, it is commonly reported that glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in our blood and skeletal muscle; comprising greater than 60% of the total intramuscular free amino acid pool (Rowbottom, Keast et al. 1996).
The potential impact of glutamine on our immune system is of critical importance particularly for athletes that are overly run down and train hard for prolonged periods of time (Curthoys and Watford 1995; Rowbottom, Keast et al. 1996). Considering this last point, cells found inside our digestive tract and immune system are very active and turn over very fast, multiple times each day in fact. If these cells don't have enough glutamine or other critical amino acids to rebuild damaged proteins or cells, they will likely utilize the abundant supply of amino acids found within your skeletal muscle; easily the largest available depot of body protein and amino acids.
Why Take Glutamine?
Much of the initial evidence to support glutamine comes from studies performed in patients who were recovering from surgery or were involved in other clinical conditions that put a significant burden on their body. Glutamine is considered a conditionally essential amino acid, which means that under certain conditions the body is not able to make enough of it and scientific papers have indicated that decreases in glutamine occur with heavy training (Phillips 2007). In short, without adequate supplies of glutamine your body will not be able to respond to stress as effectively as it could.
Overtraining is a situation that can develop if over the course of several months an athlete trains hard and does not adequately recover. For these reasons, glutamine is a popular choice for athletes who train very hard, stress their body and are at risk for developing overtraining. Another potential benefit of glutamine is its ability to serve as an energy recovery aid and boost the resynthesis of glycogen after exhaustive exercise if provided immediately after exercise at a dosage of 8 grams/day (Bowtell, Gelly et al. 1999; van Hall, Saris et al. 2000).
In summary, athletes have used glutamine for years for its known role to provide needed fuel to cells throughout the body. While studies are ongoing with respect to glutamine's beneficial effects in some areas, other studies have shown glutamine requirements increase with heavy training and as a result it can aid an athlete's recovery efforts by helping with the replenishment of muscle glycogen. Glutamine is commonly supplemented in 10 to 20 gram doses and its use should be increased as exercise training intensity and volume are at their highest points.
Choose a High-Quality Glutamine Product
As is the case with all amino products, ingredient sourcing is of paramount concern to athletes looking to get the most value for every dollar they spend on glutamine. Fortunately, ProSource Glutamine is a great value compared to other inadequately sourced offerings, as it provides only the purest, most potent grade of this anti-catabolic super nutrient. Most athletes will take glutamine after they are done training as that is when your body enters into recovery mode and this is when your body will be most stressed. Start with a 10 gram dose after each workout. Also, it should be noted that a high-quality whey protein isolate like that found in NytroWhey Ultra Elite is an excellent source of glutamine as well. Therefore by combining both of these products you get the benefit of essential amino acids that are required for muscle growth, while also getting the added benefit of making sure your glutamine levels are at their peak!
Do you take supplement forms of individual aminos such as glutamine, leucine, or beta alanine? Or do you take a single comprehensive, wide-spectrum amino product? Let us know in the comments field below!
Borsheim, E., K. D. Tipton, et al. (2002). "Essential amino acids and muscle protein recovery from resistance exercise." American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism 283(4): E648-657.
Bowtell, J. L., K. Gelly, et al. (1999). "Effect of oral glutamine on whole body carbohydrate storage during recovery from exhaustive exercise." J Appl Physiol 86(6): 1770-1777.
Curthoys, N. P. and M. Watford (1995). "Regulation of glutaminase activity and glutamine metabolism." Annu Rev Nutr 15: 133-159.
Fujita, S., H. C. Dreyer, et al. (2009). "Essential amino acid and carbohydrate ingestion before resistance exercise does not enhance postexercise muscle protein synthesis." J Appl Physiol 106(5): 1730-1739.
Phillips, G. C. (2007). "Glutamine: the nonessential amino acid for performance enhancement." Curr Sports Med Rep 6(4): 265-268.
Phillips, S. M., J. E. Tang, et al. (2009). "The role of milk- and soy-based protein in support of muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein accretion in young and elderly persons." J Am Coll Nutr 28(4): 343-354.
Rasmussen, B. B., K. D. Tipton, et al. (2000). "An oral essential amino acid-carbohydrate supplement enhances muscle protein anabolism after resistance exercise." J Appl Physiol 88(2): 386-392.
Rowbottom, D. G., D. Keast, et al. (1996). "The emerging role of glutamine as an indicator of exercise stress and overtraining." Sports Med 21(2): 80-97.
Tipton, K. D., B. E. Gurkin, et al. (1999). "Nonessential amino acids are not necessary to stimulate net muscle protein synthesis in healthy volunteers." J Nutr Biochem 10(2): 89-95.
Tipton, K. D., B. B. Rasmussen, et al. (2001). "Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise." American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism 281(2): E197-206.
van Hall, G., W. H. Saris, et al. (2000). "The effect of free glutamine and peptide ingestion on the rate of muscle glycogen resynthesis in man." Int J Sports Med 21(1): 25-30.
Volpi, E., H. Kobayashi, et al. (2003). "Essential amino acids are primarily responsible for the amino acid stimulation of muscle protein anabolism in healthy elderly adults." Am J Clin Nutr 78(2): 250-258.
Windmueller, H. G. and A. E. Spaeth (1974). "Uptake and metabolism of plasma glutamine by the small intestine." J Biol Chem 249(16): 5070-5079.