Don’t wait till you push your body to it’s limits before you start to learn about the benefits of amino acids and what they can do to aid overall health and wellness. You don’t have to be a pro athlete to need to replenish and supplement with amino acids – especially with the way we work, train and play these days.
The first one I want to chat about in my series Amino 101 is L-Glutamine!
The fancy facts: Glutamine (abbreviated as Gln or Q) is one of the 20 amino acids encoded by the standard genetic code. It is not recognized as an essential amino acid: the body can produce it itself, but may be conditionally essential in situations such as intensive athletic training or certain gastrointestinal disorders.
L-Glutamine makes up to about 60% of your skeletal tissue.
It is found in protein powders, beans, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, and naturally what we are discussing here L-Glutamine supplements.
Sixty percent of our glutamine is found in our skeletal muscle, with the rest being in the lung, liver, brain and stomach tissue.
The plain talk: L-Glutamine is an amino acid produced in your body and is the most common of the amino acids in your muscles. It can be depleted due to heavy training, athletic performance and high levels of stress, illness or gastrointestinal problems. i.e if you are pushing your body, suffering from an illness and just not recovering from anything properly.
With the amino acid group there are essentials – we must have these to function and non-essential which can be supplemented if needed.
<—– You do not need to look like this to use L-Glutamine. Seriously. Read on:
How is it made:
L-Glutamine is normally in a flavorless powder form. This powder can easily be mixed into juices or water, or protein shakes. It’s also found in a tablet/pill form.
There are two ways L-Glutamine finds its way in packaging to you:
a) a natural form of L-Glutamine made from fermentation of vegetables. This is more expensive and more limited to find in every day stores.
b) Synthetic lab produced L-Glutamine – the more common variety, usually less expensive and more readily available. Just as effective but more about your personal choice in terms of supplement origin.
What are the benefits:
1. IMMUNE SYSTEM: One of my favourite elements of this amino acid is that it aids the immune system – especially since it is related to digestive health and the stomach is the biggest organ in our body. A healthy gut usually reflects a healthy body and good strong immune system. If you are having digestive issues then taking L-Glutamine can drastically increase your chances of regulating your stomach acids and assist with a healthy intestinal system…
2. DIGESTIVE SYSTEM: I’m putting this gastrointestinal point right at the top as I believe we often forget about the importance of having a healthy digestive system. If you body is not able to assimilate, process and disperse nutrients, proteins vitamins and minerals effectively, then you are flushing $$$ down the drain. Taking supplements and eating the right food requires an environment that those elements can be utilised. So pay attention to ensuring this part of your body is firing on all cylinders. L-Glutamine has been known to help rebalance digestive complaints very quickly
3.MUSCLE HEALTH: Aids muscle recovery – the fact your muscles are made up of so much L-Glutamine means when you replenish the levels it helps your muscles bounce back, perform better and ultimately this can lead to a better ability to build muscle and recover from hard training.
It’s great at supporting muscle hydration at a cellular level – essential for healthy muscle structure, building muscle and repair. I have also found that it reduces a common ‘restless legs’ syndrome in the evenings as well – especially combined with a magnesium powder before bed.
4. METABOLISM: Don’t get freaked out by this next bit but L-Glutamine has the ability to increase the level of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in the body. This can help a lot with ensuring your metabolism is ticking over, your ability to process foods and energy stores more efficiently and metabolise fats.
5. BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION: Due to all the above this also aids the regulation of blood sugar levels, can reduce cravings and maintain a balanced appetite.
6. MENTAL CLARITY: Glutamine also aids mental clarity too and brain health – it has been known to improve your mood and support memory.
When should you take it: It’s important to think about taking something like L-Glutamine if you are doing heavy amounts of exercise as well and even under stress: as stress that affects the bodies immune and digestive system. If you are having any kind of digestive system issue then taking L-Glutamine might be worth a try). Mornings and pre workouts are great – but it’s essentially up to you. Twice a day in 5mg dosages is the basic recommendation.
How do you take it: Best taken in powder form dissolved in water, a shake or juice. In the pill format with water is best.
Risks: L-Glutamine is a pretty low risk supplement. As with anything you read it’s vital to ask your practitioner and get the right advice before stocking up on supplements. Most commonly if you get over excited and take one kind of supplement too much (what ever it is) it will cause some kind of stomach upset or even allergic reaction -> so as always go slow, get the right dosage from your health food store or a registered practitioner and build up from there.
If you are diabetic, pregnant or have a diagnosed illness PLEASE get advice before you take ANY supplements.
My personal use and top tips:
Even though I’m not heavily training at the moment I take 1 teaspoon of L-Glutamine 2 x per to help with digestive system and also lessen muscle fatigue. I like to combine L-Glutamine sometimes with L-Carnitine and then use magnesium powder in the evening before bed.
Morning upon waking: L-Glutamine 5mg and post workout I put another teaspoon of L-Glutamine in my protein shaker with water…
Overall it pays to listen to your body and look at supplements as a way to support a busy lifestyle, better health and your training goals. Take a simple approach without overloading your system on too much at once and you’ll be surprised at the results.
Next up on Aminos 101: L-Carnitine 🙂
Health & Happiness
SOME USEFUL LINKS
Chatting supplements with Selasi Berdie at BodyScience
Buy Glutamine online with Bodyscience
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