L-Glutamine is non-essential and conditionally essential in humans, meaning the body can usually synthesize sufficient amounts of it, but in some instances of stress (such as intense exercise), the bodys demand for glutamine increases and glutamine must be obtained from the diet. In fact, glutamine is so important to the body, it is the most abundant amino acid found in the blood.
A study examined the effects that L-glutamine supplementation has on quadriceps muscle strength and soreness ratings following resistance exercise. It was thought that glutamine ingestion would quicken the recovery rate of peak force production and decrease muscle soreness ratings over a 72-hr recovery period. Sixteen healthy participants volunteered in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study. Muscle soreness was measured before, immediately following, 24, 48, and 72 hr post-resistance exercise. L-glutamine resulted in greater relative peak power during the exercise. In all the individuals, L-glutamine resulted in lower soreness ratings at 24, 48 and 72 hour post-exercise. The bottom line is that L-glutamine supplementation resulted in faster recovery of peak power and diminished muscle soreness following exercise.
The impressive resume of L-Glutamine
A variety of investigations have provided evidence that glutamine has become an important and, possibly essential, amino acid during stressors such as intense exercise. This switch to becoming an essential amino acid appears when the demand of the body for glutamine increases markedly. The plasma glutamine use exceeds the glutamine synthesis of the skeletal muscle and the liver in catabolic conditions. Circulating glutamine is an important substrate for the enterocyte, hepatocyte and immune cells as an oxidative fuel as well as a substrate for nucleotide synthesis.
Clinical trials provide important confirmation that dietary glutamine supplementation is indeed associated with amelioration of metabolic response to stress and injury. Moreover, in selected critically ill patients, glutamine seems to improve their outcome. The mechanisms of these effects remain elusive and are the subject of ongoing investigations. Supplemental glutamine improves nitrogen balance and preserves the concentration of glutamine in skeletal muscle.
In selected patients, glutamine preserves normal distribution of body water by preventing expansion of extracellular water and reducing fluid retention. This is vital for competition prep if you are a body builder or, if you simply want to look better.
In the critically ill patient with breakdown of the intestinal barrier, exogenous glutamine may protect the host from gut-derived endotoxemic complications. A possible mechanism for the helpful effects of glutamine on the stressed gut is the increased production of arginine, which serves as a precursor for nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator.
Intestinal permeability and systemic inflammation are associated with gastrointestinal (GI) distress, in which paracellular endotoxin leakage triggers an immune response, causing disruption to intestinal epithelial cell absorption mechanisms. Exercise-induced hyperthermia in humans is associated with an increase in intestinal permeability, commonly called leaky gut, which provokes an inflammatory cascade. This pathway may be responsible for exercise-induced GI distress in which tight junction (TJ) breakdown and increased permeability is the initial phase of the pathway. The good news is that 7 days of oral glutamine supplementation protected the gut during high-intensity endurance exercise by reducing intestinal permeability. Keep in mind, this study induced gut leakage by exercising for a mere 60 minutes. That is an average workout length!
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