Glutamine | What is it & What are the Benefits for Athletes?
If you’re an athlete or fitness enthusiast, you’re probably no stranger to the importance a high-protein diet. Protein helps muscles grow and recover from tissue damage that occurs during intense exercise. What you may not know is that glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in protein, which is why it can be a beneficial supplement for many athletes or fitness enthusiasts. Supplementing with glutamine after intense exercise can help speed up muscle recovery and growth, especially if you find it difficult to obtain enough protein through your diet.
What is Glutamine?
Amino acids are the “building blocks” for proteins in the body. These proteins are involved in digestion, immunity, tissue repair, hormone regulation, and most other vital processes that take place in the body. Glutamine is one of 11 nonessential amino acids, meaning that our bodies produce it naturally. It does not need to be obtained through our diet, however, many people take glutamine as a supplement for its various health benefits.
Benefits of Glutamine
Glutamine is extremely versatile— it plays a role in gut health, muscle growth, the immune system, and much more. Because it is so abundant, most proteins and their functions involve glutamine. After prolonged periods of intense exercise, circulating levels of glutamine drop, which has significant effects on the body. Low glutamine levels can weaken the immune system and cause infections and inflammation. Taking glutamine after a workout may help strengthen the immune system and return glutamine levels to normal.
Research studies have shown that athletes who took glutamine after their training sessions had a lower risk of upper respiratory tract infections. Unlike most other nonessential amino acids, glutamine is considered conditionally essential because the body cannot produce enough of it in certain circumstances. Prolonged and strenuous exercising causes stress on the body, which depletes glutamine levels to a point where the body requires glutamine intake through diet. In these instances, glutamine supplements can prevent symptoms of overtraining.
Glutamine is one of the most bioavailable glycogenic amino acids, meaning that the body can convert it into glycogen for energy storage. This glycogen can be converted into glucose when the body needs energy. This is relevant for athletes that burn tremendous amounts of energy during their training. When glucose supplies run low during exercise, the body will start using glutamine, which allows you to train for longer without hitting the wall.
Many athletes take glutamine supplements, but it is also found in most protein-rich foods, such as beef, tofu, chicken, or eggs. The average person who eats a protein-rich diet is probably getting enough glutamine through food, but athletes or fitness enthusiasts who do intense training might require more. Also, most protein sources that contain high levels of glutamine are animal products, such as meat and eggs. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it might be worthwhile for you to take glutamine supplements. There is no harm in supplementing with glutamine, and it is a good pre-emptive measure if you train intensely.
Other Workout Recovery Tips
Nutrition is an important part of the recovery process. However, your post-workout recovery routine shouldn’t end there. There’s more to the equation that can drastically help you recover quicker, prevent overuse injuries, and get the most benefit from your hard work. Active recovery is one of the most meaningful methods you can engage with for better recovery.
Muscle movement is the facilitator for the body’s natural recovery process, which is why active recovery is such an effective means to achieve better and quicker recovery results. While it may feel nice to take a break, simply resting after a workout won’t improve your recovery. Instead, try going for a light walk or swim.
For an even easier and more effective recovery, many pro and recreational athletes choose to use Marc Pro. Unlike any other active recovery tool or method, Marc Pro will not place additional stress on your muscles or break them down. Marc Pro’s exclusive technology allows you to use it for as long as needed to reach a more complete and fast recovery.