What Glutamine is and What Benefits You Should Expect to Receive From Using a Glutamine Supplement
May 17th, 2011
Glutamine is a supplement that is commonly used by bodybuilders today. Ten years ago, I didn’t even know what the glutamine benefits were for bodybuilders, but I was still using it because I had heard from so many people that it helped them to build muscle faster.
These days I am much more careful about what I put into my body and do not use any supplement that I have not thoroughly researched and found to be safe and proven to be effective.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is actually just an amino acid. In fact, it is the amino acid that is more abundant in the human body than any other amino acid.
Glutamine is naturally supplied to your body by food sources such as fish, beans, poultry and dairy foods, but bodybuilders have been using highly concentrated doses of glutamine for decades as a means to achieve greater muscle hypertrophy.
Let’s look at the benefits of using glutamine and see if it really does impact the bottom line in terms of the amount of muscle mass gained over time.
Claimed Glutamine Benefits
At the time of this writing there are numerous claimed glutamine benefits, but there are really only two reasons that most of today’s bodybuilders use
Glutamine’s anti-catabolic effect
Strengthened immune system response
It is important to note that when it comes to gaining muscle weight, these two benefits will not have a very noticeable short term impact, but could certainly lead to greater muscle gains over time.
The Anti-Catabolic Effect of Glutamine
Catabolic simply means to break down, or for our purposes, for muscle to be broken down and used by the body for any number of functions. The breakdown and loss of muscle tissue is perfectly natural, but is certainly something that every bodybuilder should try to avoid whenever possible.
Glutamine helps to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue. So, while glutamine does not directly promote the growth of new muscle tissue, it can lead to a net increase in muscle mass over time by minimizing the amount of muscle tissue that is lost to your body’s natural breaking down of muscle tissue.
Glutamine Benefits for the Immune System
Like preventing the slow loss of muscle tissue is not something that will provide immediately noticeable muscle building results, having a strengthened immune system is also a benefit that will not yield any immediate improvements in muscle growth. That being said, it could be argued that a stronger immune system will create larger muscle gains over time because you will be sick less and miss fewer workouts.
While this argument is kind of sketchy (in my opinion), I think that we would all agree that a stronger immune system is a good thing – even if it doesn’t directly stimulate muscle growth.
My Experience Using Glutamine
After everything I have written to this point, you are probably thinking that I am a proponent of using glutamine. The truth is that I am currently using glutamine, but that is only because I have a bottle of it that I purchased a few years ago that I am using up.
The truth is that I believe the impact glutamine has had on my own personal muscle gains (and immune system response) has been unnoticeable. As I stated above, glutamine benefits bodybuilders more in the long run than the short term, and I have honestly never used glutamine for longer than a month or two at a time.
While bodybuilding is a way of life for me, and is not something I ever plan to stop doing, I have not been able to convince myself that the long-term glutamine benefits are worth the current cost of approximately $20 for a one month supply.
On the other hand, if someone were to ask me if glutamine is a supplement worth using, I would say that there is nothing wrong with supplementing their bodybuilding program with glutamine as a way to help increase their long term muscle gains – as long as it is in their budget to do so.
If you are interested in purchasing glutamine,
bodybuilding.com will be the cheapest place for you to purchase most supplements on the market today. Here is a link, for your convenience, that will take you to bodybuilding.com’s glutamine supplements page: