The benefits of glutamine are interesting but I want to touch on a few other things related to glutamine first. There are several names glutamine is also known as: Glutamate, glutamic acid, glutamic acid HCL, glutamic acid hydrochloride, glutamine, glutaminate, glutamine ethyl ester, glutamine ethyl ester HCL, glutamine methyl ester, glutamine peptides, levoglutamide, levoglutamine, L-glutamic acid, L-glutamic acid HCL, L-glutamic acid hydrochloride and N-acetyl l-glutamine amongst others.
There are several uses for glutamine besides its use in improving exercise performance. A few other uses for glutamine but not a complete list of all uses of glutamine are depression, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, short bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, HIV wasting and chemotherapy-induced mucositis.
When glutamine is used orally and appropriately it appears to be safe in doses up to 40 grams per day. In children, aged 3 to 18 years, glutamine appears to be safe in doses of glutamine that do not exceed 0.65 grams per kg of bodyweight per day. Doses above this amount in children are not reliable. Do not use glutamine if you are pregnant or lactating.
An interesting study involved 12 men age 19 to 30 years old
in a cycling exercise test. The first group of study participants (6 total
people) performed an exhaustive exercise test and Wingate test and then took
glutamine plus a carbohydrate drink (0.3 grams/kg of bodyweight) for 6 days.
The other group did the Wingate test and exhaustive exercise test and took a
placebo carbohydrate drink for 6 days.
At the end of the six days, the Wingate test and exhaustive exercise test were performed a second time. Time to exhaustion and peak power were assessed last time and this time. It was found that the group that took the glutamine drink, time to exhaustion had increased by about 3 minutes; however, the placebo group’s time to exhaustion remained at baseline. Peak power in the glutamine group was similar to the prior exhaustive bout of exercise. Peak power in the placebo group was significantly lower after the six days.
This means the placebo group hadn’t fully recovered from their previous bout of exercise power wise. It also means the glutamine group performed with the same level of power as previously. It took longer for the glutamine group to become exhausted. This means glutamine is allowing you to work out at a higher intensity (similar peak power) and for a longer duration of time. This translates into more calories burned and work performed at a higher level. This definitely translates into more lean body mass gained via glutamate supplementation.
It is known that prolonged exercise bouts or training frequently and with intensity leads to a decrease in plasma glutamine levels. This is what happens when people become over-trained or when they experience Over-Training Syndrome (OTC). During over-training syndrome you are susceptible to recurrent infections, fatigue, impaired immune function, depression and reduced exercise performance.
It is possible that the symptoms that accompany over-training syndrome come from a depletion of glutamine in the body. Prolonged exercise leads to an increased demand for glutamine in the body by tissues that demand it (muscle, adipose tissue, liver, kidney and immune cells).
Without glutamine supplementation, low levels of glutamine may persist for several weeks. By correcting the glutamine deficiency the consequently impaired immune system may be corrected. We know that one symptom of over-training syndrome (reduced exercise performance) is corrected with glutamine supplementation because peak power recovers quicker in those using glutamine so it is possible that another over-training symptom, an impaired immune system, may also improve since immune cells depend on it.
Another benefit of glutamine is its ability to maintain skeletal muscle size. It was discovered that depletion of intramuscular glutamine resulted in increased muscular breakdown. By boosting glutamine levels, muscular breakdown is prevented. We want to prevent all muscular catabolism as possible while creating an ideal physique. Athletes should also be interested in preserving as much of their muscle as possible for top performance.
Glutamine has been used for quite a few medical conditions in addition to boosting exercise performance. It was shown that glutamine can keep you at top performance after significant workouts. It also prolongs your time to exhaustion during athletics and exercise.
Glutamine also prevents muscular breakdown during periods when glutamine is in high demand. It is also believed that immunological impairment following over-training and prolonged exercise is corrected by glutamine supplementation.
For these reasons I don’t think it would hurt to use glutamine. The dose used in one of the studies on exercise performance was 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight. 1 kilogram of bodyweight is equal to 2.2 pounds. Take your weight, divided it by 2.2 and then multiple by 0.3 grams to get your total daily dose. I’d take the glutamine 30 minutes before exercise with a carbohydrate solution everyday.