Let’s talk glutamine.
Jimmy told you to add it to your protein shakes because it helps build muscle and helps with muscle soreness – as long you take it within the “anabolic window”, because science.
Or maybe you’ve seen it, but wrote it off as non-essential.
It’s also possible you have no idea what the hell glutamine is, which is fine too.
That’s what I’m here for.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is an amino acid that is effective in regulating gut health, getting rid of muscle soreness and keeping your body in an anabolic state.
Here is the definition from the peeps at Examine.com if you’re into technicalities:
“Glutamine is one of the 20 naturally occurring amino acids in dietary protein, specifically it is a conditionally essential amino acid (being elevated to essential during periods of disease and muscle wasting typical of physical trauma). It is sold as an isolated amino acid as well as being found in high levels in dietary meats and eggs. It is also found in very high levels in whey protein.
Glutamine is a very effective intestinal and immune system health compound, as these cells use glutamine as the preferred fuel source rather than glucose.”
Glutamine For Gut Health
We could debate the effectiveness of glutamine on your workout recovery and muscle building, but we won’t because we’re adults here.
The reason you should look at glutamine supplementation doesn’t have much to do with working out anyway, but more to do with helping your body repair and maintain a healthy gut.
Glutamine is the body’s preferred fuel source to repair and strengthen the lining of our gut. It helps with cell reproduction and protein synthesis. It’s also a great tool to decrease the permeability of the lining in your gut, otherwise known as Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Basically, stuff that needs to stay in your gut is escaping into your bloodstream and when the bad stuff gets out, it can wreak havoc on your body in many ways such as bloating, cramping, gas, autoimmune disorders, anxiety, depression and many others.
Your gut cells turn over every 1-2 weeks, depending on your bodies timeline, so it makes sense that keeping glutamine intake steady, whether through whole foods or supplementation, will help a ton by keeping those new cells strong. A healthy, happy gut is something we should all want and be working towards. Research is young as far as our gut is concerned, but, it’s safe to say that the “happier” our gut is, the better.
The gut has been coined as our “second brain” because of the many correlations it has with our brain. For more info on this I recommend checking out “Happy Gut” by Dr. Vincent Pedre. The connections between our gut and our brain were fascinating to me, but at the same time made so much sense.
How To Take Glutamine
It’s possible to get all the glutamine you need from a whole food based diet. But, I know I can’t always depend on getting everything I need from foods alone. My intentions and reality have trouble seeing eye to eye.
My favorite protocol when supplementing with glutamine is to simply take 5g of glutamine powder with my big meals each day.
It’s easy for me to remember, but if you wanted to simplify it further you could take the whole dose in the morning or evening so you’re not having to carry a supplement bottle around.
Other Potential Benefits of Glutamine
1. Improved Brain Health
(Albrecht, J., Sidoryk-Węgrzynowicz, M., Zielińska, M., & Aschner, M. (2010). Roles of glutamine in neurotransmission. Neuron Glia Biology,6(4), 263-276. doi:10.1017/S1740925X11000093)
2. Decreased Exercise Recovery Time & Increased Protein Synthesis
(MacLennan PA, et al. Inhibition of protein breakdown by glutamine in perfused rat skeletal muscle. FEBS Lett. (1988)
3. Reduction in Inflammation
(Ardawi MS, Newsholme EA. Glutamine metabolism in lymphocytes of the rat. Biochem J. (1983))
Upping your glutamine game is a simple way to help protect and repair your gut that’s easy to implement and be consistent with. It’s cost effective and painless as far as taste is concerned. With the simple protocol I use of 15-30g/day, you *shouldn’t* experience any adverse side effects (mainly GI distress). But, as always, consult your doctor before using any dietary supplement.
Glutamine gives you a real chance to improve your gut health and when that happens you have a chance to see benefits in many areas of your life, not just how your belly looks and feels.