Glutamine is without a doubt one of the most provocative supplements to hit the market in years. Bodybuilders should accept the fact that theres no turning back in this glutamine-is-an-absolute-must equation; the evidence to support the use of glutamine as part of the nutritional bodybuilding matrix is compelling and overwhelming.
Lets break it down as simply as possible: Glutamine is the most prevalent amino acid in skeletal muscle; vast quantities are secreted during catabolic and stressful activities such as bodybuilding. The body responds to the release of glutamine bu muscle tissue in several positive ways: enhancing immune-system responsiveness, improving the efficiency of the gastrointestinal tract, upgrading the production of glycogen in the liver and stimulating ammonia excretion in the kidney.
Although glutamine is currently categorized as a non-essential amino acid, the vast body of evidence that supports its efficacy as an anabolic agent is creating a movement to label it as a "conditionally essential" amino acid in severe catabolic states. This perspective has received support from recent studies that have displayed trophic effects of glutamine-supplemented diets on the growth of specific tissues and on total body nitrogen balance. Besides acting as a catalyst for anabolism, a recent study has determined that glutamine is also capable of promoting glycogen synthesis. This fact takes on importance when you consider that glycogen is the primary fuel for weight training; glycogen is also a necessity for complete muscle recovery, as it functions as a source of energy for muscle protein repair.
Now, its time to examine this recent study, which compared a glutamine infusion taken following a 90-minute exercise session to infusions of glycine, saline (salt) and alanine. For reasons that were not quite clear, the glycine/alanine infusion reduced muscle glycogen by 18 percent, while the glutamine infusion increased muscle glycogen by 16 percent. During the two-hour post-exercise interval, the infusion of glutamine increased muscle glycogen more that the other two infusions. Researchers postulate that glutamine may lead directly to muscle glycogen replenishment after weight training or other strenuous exercise. Its a no-brainer that amino acids are essential for encouraging muscle protein synthesis. But the latest research indicates that particular aminow acids actually draw water into the cell; this triggers an anabolic response. Of all amino acids that have been analyzed for cellular hydration effects, glutamine comes through as top dog. Its little wonder, then, that glutamine is a principal amino acid stored in muscle.
Not surprisingly, as glutamine leaves the muscle, the catabolic process rears its ugly head. Why? Its basic--as glutamine exits the cells, the cells expel water and become dehydrated; hence, the catabolic state kicks into gear. The potential of glutamine to swell cells is best seen in liver cells, which distend up to 12 percent in two minutes under the influence of physiological concentrations of glutamine. As long as the concentrations of glutamine are maintained at a high level in the cell, anabolic processes and cell hydration also remain elevated.
In addition to all of the important anabolic and anti-catabolic benefits we've already mentioned, recent research has revealed yet another important contribution glutamine can make in enhancing our bodybuilding efforts--Increased growth hormone levels. One recent study revealed that just a 2 gram oral dose of L-glutamine caused an increase in growth hormone levels by over 430%. This extremely significant elevation in natural growth hormone levels may help to promote increased anabolism, decreased catabolism, increased energy levels and greatly decreased bodyfat. Many researchers now consider this potent nutrient to be the bodybuilders single most important amino acid. Can you as a bodybuilder affort to ignore the benefits of glutamie? Why risk losing your competitive edge--in or out of the gym.
Some experts believe that in order to get an effective dose of Glutamine, you must ingest at least 6-8 grams in one sitting. Most of your protein powders, drinks will be fortified with glutamine. But the usual serving is about 2 grams. Some companies such as Twinlab sell products like "Glutamine Fuel" which is again 750mg per 2 capsules. Twinlab is a quality company, but in order to get the most effective dose you would have to swallow 16 -20 capsules in one sitting. There are 120 capsules in a bottle. So in six days you would have ingested all 120 capsules. And at a retail price of $24.95--well, you do the math. Not very economical.
So, I would recommend that you find a wholesaler that sells glutamine in powder form. But some of the nutrition companies are jumping on the glutamine bandwagon and are putting effective doses of glutamine in with their protein powder shakes and meal replacement drinks.
I recommend the following:
Muscle Tribe "L-Glutamine Powder" it comes in a cannister with 600 grams. That is 60 doses and it sells for about $40.00. Muscle Tribe is a wholesaler. You have probably seen their ads in some of the muscle mags. Bodybuilder Eddie Robinson is their spokesperson. Every batch of glutamine sent to you comes with a lab analysis. It is real Glutamine at a very fair price.
MuscleTech's "Meso-Tech" Meal Replacement Formula. I find this to be one of the best. I use this religeously. The great things about this product is that it also contains 57 grams of pure whey protein, (one of the highest amounts in MRP shakes) only 24 carbs, 2 grams of fat, and it has a whopping 11.4 grams of L-Glutamine. It is also a very pleasant tasting vanilla shake. The downside is that a box contains only 14 packets, while other MRP shakes have 20. The price is high. But if you use a wholesaler, it is worth it. In a store like GNC, you can pay $66.99. But from a discounter like ProSource, Meso-Tech costs $46.50 everday!
MuscleMag International plugs this product like crazy.
American Bodybuilding Products "G-Force" Supplement Sports drink. This is a drink that you have to add water to and shake up. Usually the American Bodybuilding Sports drinks are very pleasant tasting and refreshing. It comes in Grape and Fruit Punch. It supplies you with 10grams of Glutamine. It touts a "delivery system" which shuttles the glutamine to your muscles faster. Save money and buy this stuff by the case.