Glutamine (L-glutamine) is one of my must-use supplements, and I do not say that lightly. I am a believer in a few supplements for various reasons. If you are serious about growing, you need to take glutamine. If your primary source of protein in your diet is from foods rather than supplements, glutamine becomes even more important.
Do not mistake glutamine for glutamic acid or glutamate, because these are completely different substances and will not produce the same results. Do not think that glutamine and creatine are interchangeable as they are not. Some people believe that you can take one or the other. I use them both for different reasons.
As far as cost-effectiveness goes, glutamine is dirt cheap. A serving of a quality glutamine should cost about $1.00 at the most.
Reasons For Taking Glutamine
Your Body Cannot Produce Enough Glutamine
Glutamine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein. It is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid meaning that your body can produce it, but not in a quantity that your body needs. During times of stress, glutamine is released from muscles and makes its way over to other tissues of the body that cannot produce it. When glutamine leaves muscles, they begins to dehydrate, which leads to muscle protein catabolism. Raising glutamine levels in the body leads to increased cell hydration and greater protein synthesis, both of which drive muscle growth. While you can get glutamine from your diet, you cannot get what your body needs.
Glutamine Makes You Train Harder
Glutamine not only aids in recovery, but it also is great for a maintaining a healthy immune system. If your body avoids colds and viruses, you can train harder and miss fewer workouts.
Glutamine Enhances Brain Functions
This could be news to you, but there is a relationship between brain chemistry and muscle growth. Glutamine can boost the level of neurotransmitters such as gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), which supports relaxation and recovery, among other things, and can even increase growth hormone secretion.
How to Take Glutamine
I prefer the free-form amino acid (L-glutamine), but there is also a peptide-bonded form found in some protein supplements and meal replacement powders.
How Much Glutamine Should You Take
Suggested amounts range from 5 to 40g per day with 8-10g per day being the minimum suggested dose. When using the free-form amino, start with 4 or 5g (1 rounded teaspoon) two or three times a day. For serious training, some will up the dose after a week or two.
When to Take Glutamine
Take glutamine every day preferably on an empty stomach since glutamine is sensitive to stomach acids. There is no need to cycle with glutamine. The minimum daily dosages should be before and after training. You should also think about taking it between meals.