While searching through the vitamin and supplement aisle, you may have seen a bottle marked L – glutamine, and have wondered what it is. You are not alone. The curiosity surrounding this workout and recovery substance is higher than ever. In light of this, we are going to take a hard look at what L-glutamine is, what it does, and how it can help you.
What Is L – Glutamine?
Glutamine is an amino acid. In fact, it is the most common amino acid found in muscle tissue, and is an essential building block for protein. Over 60% of skeletal muscle is made up of glutamine.
There are 20 amino acids present in the human body. 12 of these are considered “nonessential” because they can be synthesized in the body. The other eight are considered “essential” because they must be taken in through your diet. These cannot be synthesized by your body.
Glutamine is special, because it bridges the gap between nonessential and essential amino acids. It can be synthesized in the body, but it is used up in tremendous amounts during a workout. This is why many athletes choose to supplement by taking L-glutamine.
Glutamine is responsible for helping to rebuild and repair muscle tissue after workout. Even though your body can and will recharge your glutamine levels, it can take up to six days for the amino acid to reach its original level after a single workout.
Needless to say, this is inefficient. Especially for athletes who are working out much more frequently than once every six days.
A lack of glutamine can mean that your muscles are slower to repair, that workout recovery can take significantly longer, and that you are much more likely to experience fatigue or feelings of weakness. Overtraining without glutamine supplementation can leave you more susceptible to sports injuries, or more likely to get sick, since your body will be putting so much energy towards muscle repair.
Taking an L-glutamine supplement can keep your body fueled with this important amino acid, allowing your muscles to repair themselves more rapidly, and leaving you feeling more energized.
How Should I Supplement?
L-glutamine is usually available in powder form, such as the supplement available from Bauer Nutrition here. Take 5 g (or 1 teaspoon) and dissolve it into 250 mL of water or juice. As with all powdered supplements, you should drink it immediately, so that the powder does not have a chance to settle.
For best results, take the supplement within 30 minutes of a workout. It is up to you whether you would like to take it before or after your workout, as the benefits will be the same.
Alternatively, you could also choose to take it between meals. In this case, just make sure that you will take your L-glutamine supplement several hours after you have eaten, and several hours before you will eat again. It is more effective without food.