Un-dramatic Glutamine Benefits
By Marc Davidwww.nobullbodybuilding.com
Glutamine Benefits: The Basics
Glutamine is ONE of the 11 non-essential amino acids. Non-essential doesn't mean that it's not necessary. Sixty percent of all free-form amino acids come in the form of glutamine. When your put your body through stress (such as a heavy weightlifting workout or some other physically demanding activity), your glutamine reserves are depleted.
Let us take a look at Glutamine benefits:
- Boosts the functioning of the immune system
- Maintains your muscle mass (preservation)
- Prevents muscle tissue breakdown (know as "catabolism")
- Enhances glycogen storage within the body
- Aids in recovery from exercise
- Promotes faster healing
- Increases your growth hormone levels
Many glutamine benefits studies have already proven that despite all the hype about how glutamine supplementation might help us increase muscle mass, strength and prevent the unwanted "overtraining" syndrome, - research articles today (that examine glutamine supplementation benefits on performance, body composition and protein degradation) have shown that glutamine offers NO noticeable, scientifically-proven benefits to weight lifters.
So, there goes the ever-so-popular theory that glutamine helps preserve your hard-earned muscle after workouts.
Let's face it... nobody makes money trying to prove that a supplement that doesn't work.
A while ago when I received the original article about glutamine's muscle building benefits, I was very curious. After finding research done by David Barr, I was excited and couldn't wait to tell you.
Thank you, David Barr, for doing all the hard leg work so I can pass along your research to readers.
Therefore, allow me to summarize some of the key points that David Barr found in his research:
- A high protein diet or that of a well-fed bodybuilder will adequately supply the said bodybuilder with all the dietary glutamine they need. About 10% of total dietary protein intake is comprised of glutamine (3-10% comes from milk proteins; 15% comes from meat sources). In my case, given my stats and dietary intake, I get about 29g of glutamine per day from my diet. This is more than most supplement companies would ever recommend I supplement with.
- A lot of glutamine benefits theories hold onto the belief that because of the fact that glutamine helps with clinical stress (injuries or trauma), it will also help with exercise-induced stress. However, keep in mind that exercise is nothing compared to clinical stress. Nitrogen loss in real clinical stress is far greater than a workout you may have just done.
- In a 2001 glutamine benefits study by Candow et. al, they concluded that 0.9g of glutamine per kg/day during training had no significant effect on muscle performance, body composition or muscle protein degradation. At my current weight for instance, that is 75g of glutamine a day! Read this ne more time - Candow et. al (2001) just blows away the presumption that glutamine is somehow an anti-catabolic agent for the bodybuilder.
- Most of the glutamine benefits studies done on endurance athletes have shown LITTLE to NO significant benefits in terms of immune system enhancements. Wow! There goes the other popular belief that glutamine is going to somehow enhance your immune system and keep you healthy or make you recover faster from your stressful workouts.
"More importantly, there are several studies which shows that glutamine supplementation doesn't change exercise-induced suppression of the immune system! Bottom line is that blood glutamine levels, whether they drop or not after your exercise, don’t seem to affect immunity to any significant extent, which precludes the use of glutamine for this reason." - Hiscock N, Pedersen BK.
- With respect to glutamine benefits and its ability to increase the hydration state of cells, Dr. John M Berardi, Ph.D. did some preliminary testing and discovered that glutamine supplementation has no effect on the total amount of body water, intracellular fluid volumes or extracellular fluid volumes. - Dr. John M Berardi, Ph.D., Appetite For Construction, JohnBerardi.com 2002 Nov. 8.
- The jury is still out on glutamine benefits in terms of its ability to enhance glycogen stores after exercise. Most bodybuilders take high glycemic carbs post-workout anyway which replaces any glycogen lost, making additional glutamine supplementation unnecessary.
- In the study by Welbourne (1995) they demonstrated that small 2g oral dosages of glutamine are capable of significantly elevating alkaline reserves as well as growth hormone levels. However, this doesn't affect the bodybuilder in any measurable way. According to Cadow et al (2001) they didn't find any lean body mass gains. Glutamine supplementation might raise your growth hormone significantly but it begs another question... "does it actually DO anything when trying to gain muscle?" More research is needed in this regard.
- Finally, in regards to protein synthesis (muscle preservation and building) the most up-to-date research shows no direct correlation that glutamine increases the rate of protein synthesis. Even in some of the most extreme and worst cases, it has little measurable effect. So, there goes the muscle building theory!
One study even went as far to test Glutamine on people via adding glutamine to an amino acid mixture. They came to the conclusion that the original amino acid mixture DID increase protein synthesis by 48%, BUT, adding glutamine to the mixture had NO additional protein synthesis effects.
Hence, at this point you're probably thinking that glutamine is a utterly worthless supplement. Right?
Well, this isn't completely true and it's not quite so cut-and-dry as you may think by now. Glutamine isn't a worthless supplement and my intention is to show you the other side of the coin, after which you can decide for yourself. Even David Barr points out that there are instances when glutamine supplementation might be beneficial to bodybuilders. For example, certain trauma instances, for post-operative patients or for total parenteral nutrition (TPN) during severe illness.
- Also, for steroid users who improperly come off a cycle. At this time, their testosterone can be very low. There's a risk of increased catabolism regardless of their diet. In this type of situation, glutamine benefits and supplementation may prove to be beneficial.
- When on a "cutting" diet and trying to get very lean, some bodybuilders will further increase their calorie deficit AND increase their exercise volume. This can lead to an increased in the exercise-induced stress and catabolism beyond that of a normal bodybuilder on a fat loss regime. Thus, Glutamine may help reduce the stress and exercise related catabolism because it's beyond normal exercise-induced stress.
- In elite endurance athletes or people who train under extreme conditions multiple times each day. Such cases are instances where extreme stress (not clinical, but much more intense then regular exercise) comes into play and glutamine may be beneficial.
- In certain situation where catabolic waste is extreme (for example: due to Alcoholism, Post-exercise colds and flu, Chemotherapy side effects, Food allergies, HIV/AIDS, Irritable bowel syndrome, Candida yeast overgrowth). These are all situations where glutamine benefits are present.
David Barr makes a one final comment after all his research that glutamine isn't really a worthwhile supplement for trainers who are on proper bodybuilding diets with good post-workout nutrition. However, he does show some instances where glutamine might be beneficial in legitimate wasting conditions. So, there you go! It's not exactly a simple black and white answer.
David concluded by saying: "Since then I've had a while to let the results sink-in. I understand that most believers in Glutamine will have a hard time accepting the reality of the situation. This is precisely why I didn't only try to convincingly show that glutamine wasn't as great as everyone thinks - I tried to "prove it overwhelmingly".
So, what's the bottom line?
Glutamine supplements most likely won't do anything for you if you are a bodybuilder on a proper diet plan. So, you can spend your money on more food or other proven supplements if you are looking to build muscle.
Therefore, I encourage you to do your own research on glutamine benefits. Granted, David has done a tremendous job! I also believed in glutamine for bodybuilding until I looked at real evidence and not a flashy magazine ad or a myth from some big guy at the gym.
"When someone wants to believe something you can’t convince them otherwise." - David Barr
Thus, if you don't believe any of this... that's okay. However, until future research can show that glutamine has dramatic muscle building effects, the current literature and research available doesn't support "glutamine benefits" theories.
About the Author
Marc David is an innovative fitness enthusiast and the creator of the "NOBull Bodybuilding System".
Marc is a 200 pound bodybuilder who teaches thousands of people to gain weight, build muscle and reduce body fat with a workout and nutrition system so simple that even a complete beginner can understand it!
Marc dispels many "bodybuilding myths", tells you what most people never realize about nutrition, and what the drug companies DON'T WANT YOU to know. visit www.nobullbodybuilding.com
From "Glutamine Benefits" to main page about "Articles"