Glutamine is one of the best known amino acids, being responsible for several biochemical processes in our body.
Anyone who practices high intensity exercise or who has gone through a period of recovery from accidents, for example, may have heard of glutamine as a supplement.
To speed up treatments, healing processes or to help regain muscle strength, glutamine may be an option.
In the following article, we clarify when the use is necessary or not and how it should be taken. Check out:
- 1 What is glutamine?
- 2 Is there a difference between glutamine, glutamine peptide and L-glutamine?
- 3 What is it for?
- 4 What are the benefits?
- 5 How to take?
- 6 When to take: before or after training?
- 7 Glutamine or BCAA?
- 8 Can you use it with other supplements?
- 9 Glutamine is fattening?
- 10 Contraindications
- 11 What side effects of glutamine?
- 12 What foods have glutamine?
- 13 Supplements: prices and brands
- 14 Is it worth taking glutamine?
Glutamine, also known as l-glutamine or glutamine, is a conditionally essential or semi-essential amino acid .
This means that it can be synthesized by the body (from other amino acids – valine, isoleucine and glutamic acid), but in some cases there may be a reduction in this production.
Therefore, in some situations such as stress , supplementation may be necessary.
These stress situations refer to high intensity physical activities, accidents, burns, patients in the post-surgery period and some diseases.
The use of glutamine in these moments is greater because the amino acid is stored in abundance in the proteins that form the muscles. Thus, if there is a need to repair or recover some tissue, it is used as an energy source.
In our body, it is the most abundant amino acid in blood plasma (liquid part of the blood) and in muscle tissues, but it is also present in several other tissues.
The substance is responsible for performing several important functions, such as strengthening the immune system, reducing muscle catabolism and improving intestinal health.
Glutamine is also present in the formation of proteins, and for this and other reasons it is fundamental for athletes who often use the amino acid as a supplement.
In general, the use is safe in the short term, but it should not be done by those who do not need to replace the substance, because, under normal conditions, the organism is able to synthesize it in the necessary quantity.
Glutamine supplements should always be consumed with medical supervision and a nutritionist.
These products can be found in powder or capsule versions.
Some people are confused when choosing which supplement to take when they see the label L-glutamine, glutamine and glutamine peptide. So it is important to understand what the differences are.
In the case of glutamine and L-glutamine, there is no difference. These two nomenclatures refer to glutamine in its free form, that is, the pure amino acid.
The peptide glutamine is the junction of 2 or more amino acids, not being 100% glutamine. In general, it is present as a complement in other products, such as whey protein or BCAA.
Glutamine is an amino acid present in several processes in the body, one of its main functions being its contribution to the construction of proteins .
Among other actions in the body, the following stand out:
Glutamine is necessary to strengthen the immune system and muscle tissues, participating in the regulation of metabolism actions.
This is due to the fact that glutamine protects the intestinal cells. When in perfect order, they help the intestine to better absorb nutrients, while fighting harmful health agents.
In addition, glutamine increases the amount of lymphocytes in the body, which are important defense cells.
Glutamine helps to avoid processes such as catabolism (loss of lean mass ), improves recovery and muscle growth, being an alternative for high-performance athletes.
Cell phone repair
This amino acid also plays an important role in repairing the intestine, being the main source of energy for cells in the region.
Glutamine supplementation is important to repair the body’s tissues when they are injured or during some illness, as, under these conditions, the synthesis of the amino acid by the body itself may be insufficient.
Therefore, it can be used in clinics to treat patients, improving the response of the immune system and accelerating recovery.
Other functions of glutamine in the body involve the transport of nitrogen between the organs, its presence in the production of RNA and DNA and improvement of intestinal integrity and permeability.
It is also a source of energy for cells that produce collagen, increasing the production of this protein and helping to prevent premature tissue aging.
Just because it is the amino acid in greater quantity in our body and because it is synthesized by it, we can realize that glutamine is essential for our lives. It provides several benefits for strengthening the immune system, intestinal health and acting in the formation of proteins.
In addition, it is important in the treatment of injuries, in the recovery of hospitalized patients and in the performance of high-intensity physical activities.
Understand a little more about the main benefits:
Strengthens the immune system
Glutamine is essential to ensure the body’s immunity, as this is an amino acid that helps in the formation and correct action of antibodies.
Although the studies are still not conclusive, glutamine and other supplements also provide benefits in the prevention of diseases and in the treatment of patients who have a weaker immune system, such as those undergoing cancer treatment or those with the HIV virus .
Improves the performance of athletes
For helping to build proteins, glutamine is essential to improve muscle mass gain and performance during physical activities.
When someone practices high intensity exercises it ends up causing greater wear and tear on the body. Therefore, there is an imbalance between the availability of glutamine and the synthesis made by our body. Therefore, athletes may need the supplement.
Catabolism is a natural process of metabolism in which there is a breakdown of nutrients and other substances to obtain energy, which ends up hindering the growth of new tissues, such as muscles.
If there is no replacement of substances to the tissue, it does not recover properly. That is, muscle mass is affected.
Glutamine is responsible for transporting most of the nitrogen present in the body to the cells of muscle tissues, which is one of the main factors for hypertrophy to occur through training.
Improves protein synthesis
Glutamine helps in protein synthesis, as it is responsible for transporting nitrogen to muscle cells.
Together, nitrogen and glutamine help in the formation of several fundamental amino acids that are incorporated into muscle tissues, which, stimulated with a strength training, cause muscle increase.
In addition, glutamine favors the entry of sodium into the tissues, which also increases cell volume and provides an anabolic effect.
Improves intestinal health
Much of the body’s defense takes place in our intestinal tract, where antibodies are produced, which protect the entire body.
Glutamine is one of the main sources of energy for these cells, helping to defend them and improving the absorption of other nutrients acquired through food.
May help treat cancer patients
Although the benefits of the supplement are still much discussed in the treatment of cancer patients, there are studies that show that the amino acid can have a positive effect on the immune system of these people.
It is common that, during chemotherapy, patients have inflammation of the mucous membranes (mucositis) and diarrhea as a side effect . In such cases, glutamine can help to mitigate these reactions.
It is up to the doctor to evaluate the benefits of using the supplement according to each patient, being preferable the use of glutamine when present in other dietary supplements or through foods that help in the synthesis.
The amount and time of use of glutamine as a supplement may vary according to the needs of each person.
Therefore, athletes may need a different amount and routine of use than someone who is recovering from an accident or illness, for example.
To start using, first of all, you need to check the need with a specialist.
Thus, he will be able to assess the exact amount and for how long supplementation should be maintained, taking into account training routine, lifestyle and other possible clinical conditions.
In a normal diet, it is estimated that the amount ingested should be 3 to 6 grams per day, varying according to the foods consumed.
Remembering that this would be an adequate amount when it comes to the intake of glutamine in the diet.
For supplementation, on average, the indication of specialists is around 5g to 25g per day.
Glutamine as a supplement can be consumed in capsules or in powder, and can be diluted in juices, water and milk.
It can also be consumed in combination with other supplements, but before starting to use together, it is important to consult a doctor or nutritionist.
Therefore, it can be ingested about 30 minutes before the beginning of physical activities.
However, it is after training that your body is in need of glutamine replacement. This is because, after the physical wear and tear caused by the activity, the stocks of this amino acid become scarcer.
In some cases, without the correct amount and for prolonged periods, the body begins to suffer from this lack of glutamine.
In such cases, athletes may end up undergoing overtraining processes (fatigue from excessive physical exercise) and muscle catabolism (burning of muscle tissue to generate energy), in addition to having a compromised immune system.
When the choice is to take after training, the consumption can be made within 50 minutes after the activities, and can be accompanied by the consumption of carbohydrates , to help replenish the energies.
In addition to before and after training, the glutamine supplement can be consumed upon waking up and at bedtime.
But there are still those who prefer to divide the doses throughout the day, for example:
- Upon waking up and after training;
- Upon waking up and before training;
- Upon waking up and before going to sleep;
- Upon waking up, in the middle of the afternoon and at night.
BCAA ( branched-chain amino acid or essential branched-chain amino acids) is a product composed of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Like glutamine, it is also important for the construction of new proteins, but it is also essential for energy production.
Both are commonly used by athletes, bodybuilders or practitioners of high-intensity physical activities, who seek muscle growth.
Both supplements provide health benefits, but should only be used when it is really necessary and according to a nutritionist’s recommendation.
Generally speaking, it is okay to take BCAA and glutamine at the same time, as BCAA can even improve the absorption of glutamine.
Yes, it is possible to use glutamine in combination with other dietary supplements, such as BCAA and whey protein, for example.
With BCAA, glutamine can be better absorbed and improve training results and recovery.
When consumed with whey protein, the benefits of both supplements can be enhanced, since both are important for muscle growth, immune system, tissue repair and cell renewal.
However, although it is possible to find benefits in these combinations, it is important to talk to a nutritionist first and check the need or possible contraindications for taking the supplements.
No, that amino acid is not fattening ! If it is ingested in the right amounts and always combined with healthy habits, what happens is just the opposite, as it helps in gaining muscle mass, training disposition and, as a consequence, burning fat.
The association of the use of glutamine with weight gain may be because the supplement favors the increase in muscle mass, which also interferes with the balance. However, this does not mean an increase in the percentage of fat.
Within a healthy diet and intense physical exercises, it helps in muscle definition and hypertrophy and, in these cases, the chances of glutamine gaining weight are minimal.
However, since it is a routine in which the person does not practice intense exercise or maintain an unruly diet, the use of glutamine is not necessary.
Under these conditions, the supplement is irrelevant to weight gain, as it has no calories.
Glutamine is an amino acid produced by the body, so it is essential for our health. But that does not mean that everyone has to take it, as the supplement is different.
It should be ingested only with medical recommendation, when the body needs this nutrient in greater quantity. For patients who have kidney or liver problems, for example, the supplement may be a risk, as it can aggravate the condition.
A healthy person, who eats properly and exercises regularly, without too much intensity, does not need to replenish with glutamine supplement.
Although more studies are needed to understand how much glutamine in excess can pose health risks, it is known that the use of supplementation in high and prolonged dosages can have some side effects. Above 40g per day, glutamine can cause:
- Alteration of other amino acids in the body, such as leucine, valine and isoleucine;
- Kidney overload.
- Alteration in the absorption of amino acids by the intestine;
- Reduction in the body’s natural synthesis of glutamine, which can adapt to the supplement and reduce production.
Our body is able to synthesize glutamine, but we can also help in this process through diet.
This is done when we consume foods that have the amino acids that the body uses for this synthesis, which are glutamic acid, valine and isoleucine, since there are no foods with free glutamine.
Therefore, it is recommended to consume amino acids in more complex and larger chains, such as proteins. Therefore, it is important to include animal and vegetable foods in the diet.
Some options are:
- White rice;
Glutamine in supplement is a product widely used by athletes to prevent catabolism. It can be consumed in capsules and in powder, dissolved in water, juices or in milk.
The price is quite varied, depending on the brand and the amount of glutamine in the product. Check out some options and prices:
Glutamine Recovery Performance Nutrition
This supplement is made from L-glutamine, the free form of the amino acid. It is marketed to athletes and people who are on a special diet to recover from injuries and to preserve the proper functioning of the immune system.
Average price : R $ 189.
L-Glutamine Giants Nutrition
The L-glutamine supplement Giants Nutrition is recommended for people who practice intense physical exercises, who seek to reduce catabolism, increase lean mass and improve the tissue restoration process.
It is a powdered and gluten-free supplement .
Average price : R $ 85.
Glutamax Vitafor is a supplement for adults and children, without the addition of sweeteners, lactose and gluten. Among the main actions that the product promises, is its potential anabolic function, to promote muscle growth.
Average price : R $ 51.
Glutamine Isolates Integralmédica
This product contains glutamine in its free form and is indicated for people who need the amino acid to preserve muscle tissues, preventing catabolism processes from occurring. It has no preservatives, sugar and gluten.
Average price : R $ 48.
L-G Glutamina Max Titanium
The supplement LG Glutamine Max Titanium is a product designed to combat fatigue and low performance in training, to prevent catabolism and can help in strengthening the immune system.
Average price : R $ 48.
* The average prices quoted were obtained through research in Consulta Remédios, made on 02/19/2019. Values may change.
It depends a lot on the purpose. In some cases, the consumption of glutamine as a supplement is not worth it, as the results that the amino acid can provide become irrelevant when compared to other alternatives.
For example, for those looking for just muscle growth or fighting catabolism, other supplements and diets may help more than glutamine alone. However, combining supplements can bring good results.
For those who practice physical exercises on a regular basis but without too much intensity, or sedentary people, glutamine may not be advantageous.
The supplement, therefore, is really worthwhile in cases where the person needs a boost to the immune system to be able to recover tissues, heal injuries or accelerate treatments of certain pathologies.
It can also be a beneficial supplement for high-performance athletes, but always with the recommendation of a nutritionist or doctor.
Anyway, before investing in supplements, the ideal is to talk to a specialized professional to understand if it is really necessary.
As one of the amino acids most present in the body, glutamine is certainly essential for our health.
As a source of energy for several cells, it participates in several processes, the most important of which are its participation in the construction of proteins and in the strengthening of the immune system.
If you use the supplement, tell us what you think of the results and benefits. Thanks for reading!