Wednesday, August 15, 2012

L-Glutamine

A few months back I decided to try supplementing with L-glutamine as recommended by the extremely knowledgeable (and my idol) Jill Coleman. I told her that I was aiming to improve my endurance and recovery time from running workouts. Jill recommended 5 grams of L-glutamine pre and post workout. Because Jill is kind-of qualified (and I do everything Jill says) I headed to the store right away.

Truthfully, I wasn't expecting to see that much improvement. There are so many supplements out there that it makes it hard to really know which ones are beneficial vs. a waste of time. Call me a negative nancy if you want but I just wasn't fully on the supplementation bandwagon yet.

What is L-glutamine?
L-glutamine is an amino acid; amino acids are building blocks of protein. L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle and is associated with immune health, protein synthesis and anti-catabolism. Preventing protein catabolism (break down) is hugely important for athletes. You don't want to start pulling from your hard earned muscle!

According to an article on bodybuilding.com, "during intense training, glutamine levels are greatly depleted in your body, which decreases strength, stamina and recovery. Glutamine levels can take up to 6 days to replenish." Hence why Jill recommended I supplement with it as my workout intensity increased. Jill had me take glutamine before and after the workout so that my glutamine levels wouldn't have a dramatic drop.

Other benefits of supplementing with L-glutamine:

  • Glutamine has been linked to protein synthesis. It prevents your muscle from being catabolized (eaten up) in order to provide Glutamine for other cells in the body.
  • Glutamine helps maintain cell volume and hydration, speeding up wound and burn healing and recovery.
  • Glutamine benefits you by replenishing declining Glutamine levels during intense workouts.
  • Research has shown Glutamine can help you produce growth hormone levels. A study has shown 2 grams of L-Glutamine increased growth hormones by over 400%.
  • Glutamine may serve to boost your immune system. For bodybuilders, this is important since heavy workouts tend to greatly deplete Glutamine levels. (Glutamine is a primary energy source for your immune system.)
  • Glutamine is one of the most important nutrients for your intestines. It has the ability to 'repair a leaky gut' by maintaining the structural integrity of the bowels.
Did it work?
I have to admit, I had my doubts but was pleasantly surprised. I felt "better" during my runs. By "better" I mean more energetic, alert, focused, fatigued less quickly and overall just felt good. I could definitely tell the difference during runs where I didn't take the glutamine. I understand there are other factors to take into account (hydration level, mindset, diet, etc.) but I truly think it worked for me.

I purchased the pills from my local Lassens and they were about $20, I think. Not the cheapest things but I chose the (more expensive) pill form over powder for my own convenience. I knew I'd be much more likely to pop a few pills than to add powder to a protein shake.

Do you guys supplement your workouts or runs?


3 comments:

  1. Hmm, interesting! I may have to look into that. I recently switched to Melaleuca multivitamins and Cellwise, and I really have noticed a difference, which surprised me, because like you I was a skeptic! I'm glad you found something that works!

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  2. Thanks for posting about this. I've seen this around but didn't know what it was. I use several supplements daily (or when I remember!), and I really feel like they help.

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  3. I need to start supplementing more and looking into protein shakes for post runs and strenuous workouts. I'm still shopping around and trying to find something that I fall in love with because I'm also a skeptic and hate the chalky taste so maybe these pills are a good way to go!

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