What is glutamine?

by Ashley Ellefsen July 15, 2016

Glutamine is one of the twenty amino acids that make up what's called our standard 'genetic code’

It’s the non-essential amino acid that occurs most frequently in the body and the only amino acid that will cross the blood-brain barrier.  Glutamine is involved in the protein synthesis process, so after each workout when you've broken down muscle tissue, it helps to rebuild the muscle back, growing it stronger in the process.  Glutamine also helps to promote a healthy immune system. 

Foods that commonly contain glutamine include beef, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, hemp seeds, and dairy products. Most people, even vegetarians will be able to achieve a positive glutamine status through normal food intake.  People who are exercising regularly, or who are currently sick or have an injury, will have higher glutamine requirements.  For those who need or want to supplement glutamine, it can be found as it’s own supplement in any health food, nutrition store or pro-shop.

The most common glutamine supplement is found as a powder.  You can find glutamine in On Point Supplements, BCAA drink After Action Recovery. You can also find purely as it’s own product.  However, I find that it does have kind of funny taste to it so I would recommend mixing it into your post workout drink.

Once you ingest the glutamine, it’s absorbed into the lumen (tubular arteries) of your small intestine and from there makes it into your circulatory system through the blood.   When your body has reached it’s maximum glutamine intake (for most people, up to about 20 grams a day) it kicks the excess over to the liver to be metabolized.  The one group of people who should not be taking glutamine however, or who need to discuss its use before hand with their doctor, are those who are suffering from liver failure or kidney disease.

Glutamine intake should ideally be divided into five to ten gram servings, taken two to three times a day.

Other ways to promote recovery with glutamine include: 

1. Take in carbohydrates during the post-workout period when the body is most likely to put them directly into the muscle tissues as stored muscle glycogen.

2. Stay hydrated

3. Rest muscle groups for 48 hours

4. Take one full rest day per week

5. Take measures to reduce your overall stress levels during the rest of the day, as stress has a direct relation to cortisol release, which will work against your glutamine supplementation.



Stay Safe, Stay on Point!


Check out my segment on The BOLO Podcast, where I talk about glutamine!  

Ashley Ellefsen
Ashley Ellefsen