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Glutamine Builds More than Muscle

In 1830 a Dutch chemist named Mulder published the first studies on nitrogen-containing compounds derived from egg white, silk, blood and gelatin. He named these substances "protein" and wrote "It is without doubt the most important component of living matter and without it, life would not be possible." Mulder was right, for without sufficient quantities of the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) our bodies and minds rapidly weaken & slowly deteriorate.

Glutamine is the most common free amino acid in the body. It is highly concentrated in the bloodstream and forms a vast intracellular pool in muscle cells. Glutamine plays a key role in muscle metabolism and immune function. During stress, muscle tissue produces large quantities of glutamine to support wound healing and fight infection. Immune cells require glutamine for their replication and depend on healthy, functional muscle as their primary source. Without sufficient glutamine, the immune system loses its strength and vitality.

Immediately after strenuous work or exercise, circulating lymphocytes (a special type of white blood cell) tend to rise by as much as fifty percent. This is typically followed by a 30-60% decrease below resting values over the next two hours. This temporary decrease, referred to as the open-window of immunosuppression, statistically correlates to a time frame recognized as high-risk for infection. Exposure to any opportunistic agents, including a vast array of microbes, bacteria, fungi and viral infectants, challenges the immune system when it is least able to respond with full power.

To offset this equation for disaster, consider the positive effects of consuming a post-workout blender shake, consisting of high-glycemic fresh fruit (papaya, kiwi or banana), The Sport Oil, whey protein, creatine monohydrate and L-glutamine. Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert your total mass to kilograms. Multiply this figure by .2g to calculate your daily dose of glutamine. Divide your daily dose by 4 to determine what amount of glutamine you should take per individual serving. Glutamine is best consumed throughout the day in fresh juice, filtered water, mixed in cottage cheese or yogurt or added to a protein shake

I’ll use myself and Tracy as examples. My present weight is 226 lb. 226 ÷ 2.2 = 102.7 kg x .2g (glutamine) = 20.5g (daily total) ÷ 4 (servings) = 5.125g (dosage per serving) or about four 5 gram servings daily. I normally consume four different shakes a day (upon rising, after training, mid-afternoon and prior to bedtime ) so adding 5 grams of pure L-glutamine to each shake is a snap. A good quality L-glutamine powder is tasteless and extremely soluble.

Tracy weighs 126 lb. 126 lb. ÷ 2.2 = 57.2 kg x .2g (glutamine) = 11.45g (daily total) ÷ 4 (servings) = 2.86g (dosage per serving) or about four 3 gram servings daily. Tracy adds her glutamine to fresh carrot juice, two protein shakes and a glass of filtered plain water in the evening. Why glutamine? Simple. It’s a great remedy for fatigue and exhaustion.

Glutamine is classified as a non-essential amino acid because it’s made inside the body. However, new research has established that when people are exposed to high levels of stress and intense exercise for prolonged periods, they are unable to synthesize enough glutamine to keep pace with its depletion. Due to these circumstances glutamine becomes "conditionally essential", which means to prevent glutamine deficiency and adrenal exhaustion, additional glutamine must be obtained from a supplement and/or by increasing dietary sources of glutamic acid (which converts into glutamine).

Food Sources of Glutamic Acid

Content (g)
1 cup (250ml)
Cottage cheese
1 cup (250ml)
1 cup (250ml)
1 (large)
1 (medium)
1 (medium)
Chicken breast
1 lb. (454g)
Turkey breast
1 lb. (454g)
Wild game
1 lb. (454g)

Glutamine also helps neutralize the build-up of acid waste formed in the body as a result of poor diet, metal stress or strenuous exercise. After a challenging workout, glutamine is released from muscle and travels to the kidneys where it counters acid and supports the clearance of ammonia. Ammonia is produced when protein is oxidized (burned) for energy and is potentially toxic to all cells. Its accumulation causes fatigue and reduces performance. Filtered water should also be liberally consumed.

Glutamine provides a major energy source for the intestines, where it helps control fluid loss and strengthens the mucosal lining of the gut. It may be used as a natural antibiotic when symptoms of infection arise. Try adding a scoop (2-5g) to applesauce or fresh juice and serve this to your children at the first sign of a cold or flu.

Many health practitioners recommend glutamine as a treatment for ulcers, Chrohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Glutamine also fuels the activity of colonocytes — special cells in the large intestine designed for the purpose of clearing body waste. I’ve seen it work intestinal healing wonders in hundreds of clients.

Supplemental glutamine enhances muscle cell volume and protects against muscle breakdown. As a derivative of protein, it functions as a building block for glucosamine synthesis which plays an important role in tissue remodeling and cartilage regeneration (glutamine + glucose = glucosamine).

Glutamine is required for numerous performance-dependent reactions in the body, including those which affect brain metabolism, cognitive function and neurotransmitter activity. It can pass through the blood-brain-barrier, where it’s converted into glutamic acid (GA) and gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GA can sharpen the mind and GABA is used to treat anxiety and hyperactivity. Glutamine also stimulates the release of human growth hormone (hGH) which functions to preserve muscle and enhance immune competence.

Heat and acid both destroy glutamine. It’s incredibly versatile and safe for young children and seniors, but it is contraindicated for individuals with severe liver disease, Reye’s Syndrome or renal failure.