July 1, 2015
Dear Dr. Bell,
I was just at GNC and the guy was trying to tell me Glutamine is a useless supplement that companies mix in for fluff to make you think the products have additional benefits when they don’t. Do you have any opinions on Glutamine? Is it worth keeping in my routine?
Glutamine can be a highly effective supplement for numerous reasons including: improving memory, focus and concentration, improved athletic performance, combating stress, recovery and adaption from very heavy exercise, improved metabolism, fat burning, cellular detoxification, injury prevention and repair, muscle building (recent research stated that 61% of the bodies muscles cells are comprised of glutamine) curbing cravings for sugar and alcohol, strengthen your immune system, decrease illness & infections and has been shown to increase endurance in athletes who train for endurance events.
Glutamine has also been used effectively to treat various medical conditions: wound-healing, burns, infections, injuries, surgical procedures, trauma, muscle wasting, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, HIV/AIDS, Cancer, leaky gut and GI health.
Glutamine has also been shown to remove excess ammonia (a common waste product that can reach toxic levels through a combination of excessive exercise and high protein diets.)
It is required that you seek medical guidance from your primary care physician before taking glutamine if you do have any medical conditions.
Some people believe you don’t need supplemental glutamine due to your body’s ability to produce it. Glutamine is prevalent in diets high in plant and animal proteins: grass fed beef, grass fed pork, grass fed chicken, milk, yogurt, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, cabbage, parsley, spinach, asparagus, broccoli-rabe, wild caught fish, venison and turkey.
Glutamine should be taken with cold or room temperature drinks or foods since heat can destroy glutamine. Never exceed 15 grams of glutamine/day. Since many elderly people have decreased kidney function, they may need to reduce their glutamine to 5 grams of glutamine/day.
Will glutamine work for you?
It depends on how much glutamine you get in your diet, how efficient your body is at absorbing glutamine and how effective your body is at manufacturing your own.
You should also be aware that while glutamine has been shown to be highly effective for some, it may not be for you.
Also keep in mind that some supplement manufactures do not have the quality of others. You might have selected a company who does not produce a good quality glutamine. You should experiment with a few different companies to determine which product works best for you.
If you do find a good quality glutamine, stay with it for all the benefits listed above. Cellular glutamine levels can drop by 50% and plasma levels by 70% following intense workouts. Therefore, any hard training athlete will need glutamine to recover and adapt in preparation for their next workout.