Glutamine is increasing in popularity amongst fitness enthusiasts especially those who hit the gym regularly.
Though it has become an integral part of the fitness vocabulary, many people are still not quite sure how to use it to obtain maximum benefits.
Read more to know about when to take glutamine and how to take glutamine supplements.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine, an amino acid primarily, serves as building units for proteins.
It is essential for the promotion and maintenance of cell function, strengthening of the immune system and preservation of intestinal health, and exists in two forms namely, L-glutamine and D-glutamine (1).
L-glutamine is the form that is available through foods such as beef or skimmed milk or L-glutamine pills whereas D-glutamine holds no specific relevance for living beings.
Although L-glutamine can be formed naturally within our body and has been called the “most abundant amino acid” in our body, there may be situations like stress or illness when the glutamine requirements overrule its production (2, 3).
Summary: Glutamine is an amino acid that helps in building proteins and has two types called L-glutamine and D-glutamine.
Why Should I Take Glutamine Supplements?
Glutamine plays an essential role in protein synthesis and aids in maintaining the muscle mass thereby, improving exercise performance (4).
Those who perform an intense or frequent workout can experience a reduction in the glutamine levels in the body.
One can enter a stage of glutamine depletion, the state when the quantity of glutamine needed for the body is far more than the amount being produced.
To maintain the adequate level of glutamine so that the immune system remains unaffected, the body starts metabolizing glutamine stores in the muscles.
Under such circumstances of low glutamine intake and intense training ( that is meant to build up muscle mass), the body may simply turn into a catabolic state, a state when the tissues of the muscles undergo breakdown to produce energy.
To replenish the lost glutamine quantity naturally, it takes a lot of time as the body needs to depend on dietary intake solely. This is when glutamine supplementation is required.
Summary: Glutamine supplements are ideal for those who go for prolonged sessions of an intense workout as they help the body to recover and reduce muscle ache.
The Best Time To Take Glutamine Supplements
The best time to take glutamine supplements depends upon your activity level and schedule. Adding glutamine in a protein shake or having it in the form of L-glutamine pills is not as significant as the time when you are having them.
Before or After Workout
Glutamine levels are found to be the lowest after a workout. Hence, the intake of glutamine post-workout is the most recommended time that will help achieve maximum benefits.
Additionally, glutamine inhibits the body from metabolizing muscle tissue thereby preserving and maintaining lean muscle mass (7). Hence, glutamine pre-workout may not be as effective as glutamine supplements during or after a workout.
L-glutamine has a very significant role in repairing the protective lining of our gut (8). High levels of stress, unhealthy foods, and several digestive ailments can destroy the gut lining and make us prone to pathogen attack.
Hence, glutamine supplements should be taken at least half an hour to 45 minutes before a meal, if you aim to maintain your gut in optimum health.
After Waking Up
Glutamine can also be consumed as the first thing after you wake up on an empty stomach.
While asleep your body was deprived of proteins for over 8 hours or so. Hence, an early morning L-glutamine supplement can prepare your muscles for the workout routine right at the beginning of the day.
When glutamine supplements are taken before going to bed, they help in increasing the levels of growth hormone (9).
This can particularly benefit those who are undergoing athletic training or high-intensity workouts intending to increase muscle mass. Growth hormones help in nourishing your muscles with essential nutrients even while you sleep.
Summary: The best time to take glutamine supplements is half an hour after a workout, in between two workout sessions, soon after you wake up in the morning or half an hour before a meal.
How Much Glutamine Should I Take?
One needs to bear in mind that glutamine can be derived from the diet as well. Hence, the dose of glutamine supplements should be regulated accordingly.
Studies point out that a person receives around 3 to 6 grams of glutamine through diet itself typically (10).
Glutamine supplements when taken in the range of 5gms to 15 gms per day are found to be safe when taken for a short time-span like 6 weeks and offer the desired results with minimal to no side effects (11). Though high doses till 45gms/day have been used for supplementation, studies do not show any ill-effects as the excess is excreted from the body (12).
For those who are wondering how to take L-glutamine powder, can add around 2 to 6 grams to their favorite post-workout shake and consume within 20 minutes after their workout.
Summary: Glutamine has shown to be safe when taken within the range of 5 to 15 grams. Even if you exceed the dose, it is safely excreted out without any adverse effects.
The Final Note
Glutamine is an amino acid and occurs in the form of L-glutamine and D-glutamine.
Though L-glutamine is formed by our body in adequate amounts and can be obtained through several foods, conditions like injury or any severe ailment can cause a fall in the levels of L-glutamine.
Glutamine is popular as a sports supplement as it aids in maintaining muscle size, promoting recovery after intense physical exertion, and lower muscle pain after a workout.
The best time to be consumed is soon after a workout or during a workout.
Research suggests that it is safe for consumption when the dose falls within 15 grams per day and supplementation extends for a short time duration.
Hope the information provided above will help you decide whether the supplements are meant for you and what is the best time to consume it.