The most abundant of amino acids found in the body, Glutamine (or L-Glutamine) makes up over 60 percent of the skeletal muscle tissue. It is a fuel the digestive tract and immune system craves, and 19 percent of a Glutamine molecule is made up of nitrogen, making it the primary conductor of nitrogen to the muscles. It is especially found in high concentrations in the brain, muscles, gut lining, lungs, heart, kidney, and liver where it has multiple and critical functions.
Glutamine is essential for several bodily functions. These include:
1. Primary source of energy for the immune system.
2. It is converted to Glutamic acid in the brain and promotes the synthesis of GABA, an important brain
neurotransmitter. Many believe that L-Glutamine enhances mental function.
3. Maintains the structural integrity of the intestinal lining.
4. Plays a major role in synthesizing muscle protein and cell-volumizing.
5. Assists with blood sugar control.
What Glutamine does is play a vital role in protein metabolism, cell volumizing, increased production and secretion of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and anti-catabolism i.e. the impairment and breakdown of muscle tissue, especially in bodybuilders.
Although, there has been no conclusive research into the effects of supplementation on adults in weight-training, a recent study showed that a dramatic 400 percent increase in HGH levels could occur by the consumption of just 2 grams of supplement.
Other consistent research findings show that after an intense workout lactic acid build up has occurred in the muscles, but at the same time Glutamine levels are reduced by as much as 50%. Studies have also shown that Glutamine supplementation effectively reduces muscle tissue breakdown and improves protein metabolism.
In recent years, branched chain amino acid supplements have come back into ‘vogue’ in the bodybuilding and fitness community, and with good reason. There’s more research that supports the use of BCAAs than most other supplements on the market!
While BCAA supplementation may be useful for gaining mass, BCAAs are especially helpful for maintaining muscle mass while on a calorie-deficit diet. They’re particularly useful for bodybuilding competitors who take their physiques to the lean extreme.
Although dieting down makes you look awesome onstage, on the beach, and to your friends of the opposite sex, it can also take a chunk out of your muscle mass.
It’s well established that branched chain amino acids (particularly leucine) stimulate protein synthesis, and might do so to a greater extent than a normal protein on its own. BCAAs also increase synthesis of the cellular machinery responsible for carrying out the process of protein synthesis. Thus, BCAAs not only increase the RATE of protein synthesis, but they also increase the cell’s CAPACITY for protein synthesis!
BCAAs also work in your favor by reducing the rate of protein breakdown. They do this (primarily) by decreasing the activity of the components of the protein breakdown pathway, and also by decreasing the expression of several complexes involved in protein breakdown.
BCAAs have even more positive benefits than reduced breakdown and increased protein synthesis. They might also help improve workout intensity! BCAAs compete with the amino acid Tryptophan for entry into the brain, where Tryptophan can be converted to the neurotransmitter serotonin.
During exercise, serotonin levels rise and can (amongst other things) increase the perception of fatigue — that means a less intense workout for you.
BCAA supplementation reduces the amount of Tryptophan that enters the brain, and therefore reduces the amount of serotonin produced. This might allow you to work harder, longer.