FAQ about L-Glutamine

Published: 23rd June 2006
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1. What is L-Glutamine and where does L-Glutamine come from?

The extremely popular amino acid L-Glutamine can be found in protein powders, beans, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, and of course, L-Glutamine supplements from Bodybuilding.com.

2. What does L-Glutamine do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

Glutamine is highly in demand throughout the body. It is used in the gut and immune system extensively to maintain optimal performance. 60% of free-form amino acids floating in skeletal muscles is L-glutamine. L-glutamine plays a very important role in protein metabolism, and it appears to be a very important nutrient for body builders. When supplemented, it may help body builders reduce the amount of muscle deterioration that occurs because other tissues that need glutamine will not rob the glutamine stored in the muscle cells.

3. Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?
Bodybuilders can particularly gain from the intake of glutamine. Since bodybuilders use a lot of their glutamine when working out, they are more susceptible to health related problems, as the immune system relies heavily on this amino acid.

Catabolism or muscle break down can occur if the body robs muscles of glutamine for use elsewhere such as nitrogen transport or maintaining the immune system. Glutamine supplementation is certainly important in keeping muscles building--not deteriorating.
Glutamine has been shown to be beneficial when administered in the form of glutamine peptides via TPN in some patients with varying forms of catabolic stress, e.g., some cancer, transplantation, intensive-care, surgical and immune-suppressed patients. Benefits from enteral glutamine supplementation are generally less pronounced, but preliminary significant results have been reported with the use of oral glutamine in very-low-birth-weight infants and in some major trauma patients in whom glutamine seems to strengthen immunity, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. Glutamine may help protect against some of the side effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

There is little concurring evidence that glutamine is an effective ergogenic aid, but there is some suggestion that it might help protect against exercise-induced immune impairment. Some dated research suggesting that glutamine might help curb alcohol craving has not been followed up. Claims that it helps prevent neurodegenerative disorders or that it modulates mood have not been substantiated.
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