Glutamine is considered one of the most important sports supplements for enhanced recovery after exercise. Glutamine supplementation provides a variety of benefits that include enhancing muscle growth and immune function and by promoting post-workout recovery. Glutamine supplementation also provides a host of metabolic benefits including supporting immune, intestinal health and digestion. Glutamine serves as the building block for muscle and is used as a fuel. Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid – this means the body is capable of producing glutamine by itself and supplementation only becomes necessary when undertaking intense physical activity.
Research has demonstrated that glutamine supplementation improves recovery after bouts of intense training. The overall dose required can be tailored to the individual and will vary dependent upon other factors including diet and stress levels. However, a good base guide to achieve maximal benefits would be to take between 10 – 30 grams of glutamine per day split between 2-3 doses. These can be taken upon waking, pre and post workouts and / or before bed. Nighttime and post-workout are particularly good time to take glutamine, as these are key recovery periods.
Glutamine supplementation has significant healing properties and has been proven to increase protein synthesis (muscle building) in those under clinical stress (such as burn victims); however, there have been no studies yet conducted to indicate that glutamine has the same impact with regard to post exercise protein synthesis. That said, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence to suggest that glutamine plays a role in reducing post-exercise soreness (DOMS). Glutamine helps prevent the negative effects of cortisol on the body (muscle breakdown). There has even been some research that demonstrated that glutamine supplementation (taken in conjunction with carbohydrates) increased endurance and decreased fatigue.
High intensity workouts place significant stress on the body and adequate post-workout nutrition is vital to maximise the results of this effort. In the post-training nutrient window, the bodies’ glycogen levels are depleted and need to be replenished. The speed of this replenishment is particularly important if time between workouts (or other strenuous activities) is relatively short. Research has indicated that adding glutamine to a post-workout shake that includes both protein and carbohydrate speeds up the recovery process.