One of the most popular products in the supplement and fitness industry for at least the last 10 years has been Glutamine. Athletes have been taking this product/ingredient specifically for recovery, as supplement manufacturers have been pushing the benefits of it year after year...

But do you really need to take extra Glutamine as a bodybuilder and athlete?

John Brooks dives into this supplement and looks at the research and what it really says.

Do You Really Need to Take Glutamine (Video)

Video Transcription

Hello again, everybody. This is John with bestpricenutrition.com. Today I'm going to go over a question we get a lot of, and it's about glutamine, whether or not you need to supplement with it. The thing about glutamine is it's the most abundant amino acid in the body. So in other words, it occurs in a lot of tissue in your body. And a lot of people think if they take it, they're going to get a lot of the purported effects from taking it. The purported of glutamine are that, one, it'll increase cell volume. So it's like a cell volumizer, a hyperhydrate, something more along the lines of creatinine [SP] in that sense. They think it could stimulate glycogen. It can also stimulate protein synthesis. Also, it's thought anti-catabolic effect; in other words, keep you from breaking down muscle.

The problem is that there's not really much support from any well-controlled peer-reviewed studies to show that supplementing with extra glutamine will do these things. Now, it is true that glutamine does do these things in your body. It does play a role in those functions. The question is if I supplement extra glutamine, will these things happen? And the overwhelming evidence is no when we're talking about otherwise healthy adults. In elderly, sick people in the hospital, there is some evidence that it can help with the immune system. Oftentimes, it's been found that it helps when it's combined with TPN, which is a form of nutrition that's given via an IV when somebody's in the hospital. Oftentimes, they're getting that because they have some kind of NG tube in or something like that because they're critically ill. So patients that are ill seem to have some benefit from it, especially the dipeptide alanyl glutamine, which you're seeing more and more of, and you're starting to see that pop up in supplements, too. Again, there's not really a lot of research showing it helps athletes or otherwise healthy. Now, that one may, but at this point, we haven't seen any of that research, and it seems to be a pretty expensive ingredient, too.

Now, other things to consider with glutamine are there's the freeform, which L-glutamine that you're going to commonly see, and also glutamine peptide, which is usually from hydrolyzed wheat gluten. If you have Celiac or even if you don't, I would recommend avoided that. We know gluten has some pretty nasty effects, whether you've been diagnosed with Celiac or not. So taking glutamine peptides would be detrimental, actually, to your GI tract in that sense, because you could end up with leaky gut syndrome and other things along those lines. And sometimes those glutamine peptides are added to your protein. So, sometimes people say, "Hey, I took this whey protein, and I had some digestive discomfort." Well, it may be because there's glutamine peptides added to it. Now, that doesn't mean the glutamine that already exists in whey protein is the problem. It's not.

This is the added from hydrolyzed wheat gluten. Bottom line is that if you're taking in high-quality proteins via whole food and/or supplements, whey, casein, egg, any of those. Even now a lot of the vegan proteins have improved their amino acid profile. You're going to get plenty of glutamine. It's a conditionally essential one, that's what they call it, but our body seems to be able to make plenty of it. So there's really no evidence showing that you really need it.

Other questions that we get are pretty much, yeah, should I take extra glutamine? No, unless you are somebody who is competing in long endurance events. You run a lot of marathons. You do triathlons. Now, there is some evidence that it can help you, and that kind of goes to show how debilitating those can be on your body because we said otherwise healthy adults don't need it. Well, when you run a marathon or you do a triathlon that really beats your body up. So during that period when you're really beat up or when you're training up to it, you may benefit from taking some extra glutamine. But otherwise, if you're taking it just because hey, you're going to train hard for an hour or anything like that, you're taking in high-quality proteins, you don't need it. You could save yourself a lot of money.

We went through all the research for the most part, looked at all the well-controlled studies to kind of answer this question for you guys, because it's commonly debated. It's in a lot of supplements, and a lot of people say, "Well, then why is in supplements?" Well, because it is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It occurs a lot. And they point to one particular study, which was absolutely flawed, showing that it did help increase recovery. Recovery's the big buzzword when it comes to that. You're better off just getting it in its peptide bonded form with your regular protein. So I think I answered all your questions on this one. If you guys have any others, please post them in the comment section of the video or the blog. We're happy to answer them. Also, please check us out at Facebook.com/bestpricenutrition. Thanks for watching.

Hello again, everybody. This is John with bestpricenutrition.com. Today I'm going to go over a question we get a lot of, and it's about glutamine, whether or not you need to supplement with it. The thing about glutamine is it's the most abundant amino acid in the body. So in other words, it occurs in a lot of tissue in your body. And a lot of people think if they take it, they're going to get a lot of the purported effects from taking it. The purported of glutamine are that, one, it'll increase cell volume. So it's like a cell volumizer, a hyperhydrate, something more along the lines of creatinine [SP] in that sense. They think it could stimulate glycogen. It can also stimulate protein synthesis. Also, it's thought anti-catabolic effect; in other words, keep you from breaking down muscle.

The problem is that there's not really much support from any well-controlled peer-reviewed studies to show that supplementing with extra glutamine will do these things. Now, it is true that glutamine does do these things in your body. It does play a role in those functions. The question is if I supplement extra glutamine, will these things happen? And the overwhelming evidence is no when we're talking about otherwise healthy adults. In elderly, sick people in the hospital, there is some evidence that it can help with the immune system. Oftentimes, it's been found that it helps when it's combined with TPN, which is a form of nutrition that's given via an IV when somebody's in the hospital. Oftentimes, they're getting that because they have some kind of NG tube in or something like that because they're critically ill. So patients that are ill seem to have some benefit from it, especially the dipeptide alanyl glutamine, which you're seeing more and more of, and you're starting to see that pop up in supplements, too. Again, there's not really a lot of research showing it helps athletes or otherwise healthy. Now, that one may, but at this point, we haven't seen any of that research, and it seems to be a pretty expensive ingredient, too.

Now, other things to consider with glutamine are there's the freeform, which L-glutamine that you're going to commonly see, and also glutamine peptide, which is usually from hydrolyzed wheat gluten. If you have Celiac or even if you don't, I would recommend avoided that. We know gluten has some pretty nasty effects, whether you've been diagnosed with Celiac or not. So taking glutamine peptides would be detrimental, actually, to your GI tract in that sense, because you could end up with leaky gut syndrome and other things along those lines. And sometimes those glutamine peptides are added to your protein. So, sometimes people say, "Hey, I took this whey protein, and I had some digestive discomfort." Well, it may be because there's glutamine peptides added to it. Now, that doesn't mean the glutamine that already exists in whey protein is the problem. It's not.

This is the added from hydrolyzed wheat gluten. Bottom line is that if you're taking in high-quality proteins via whole food and/or supplements, whey, casein, egg, any of those. Even now a lot of the vegan proteins have improved their amino acid profile. You're going to get plenty of glutamine. It's a conditionally essential one, that's what they call it, but our body seems to be able to make plenty of it. So there's really no evidence showing that you really need it.

Other questions that we get are pretty much, yeah, should I take extra glutamine? No, unless you are somebody who is competing in long endurance events. You run a lot of marathons. You do triathlons. Now, there is some evidence that it can help you, and that kind of goes to show how debilitating those can be on your body because we said otherwise healthy adults don't need it. Well, when you run a marathon or you do a triathlon that really beats your body up. So during that period when you're really beat up or when you're training up to it, you may benefit from taking some extra glutamine. But otherwise, if you're taking it just because hey, you're going to train hard for an hour or anything like that, you're taking in high-quality proteins, you don't need it. You could save yourself a lot of money.

We went through all the research for the most part, looked at all the well-controlled studies to kind of answer this question for you guys, because it's commonly debated. It's in a lot of supplements, and a lot of people say, "Well, then why is in supplements?" Well, because it is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It occurs a lot. And they point to one particular study, which was absolutely flawed, showing that it did help increase recovery. Recovery's the big buzzword when it comes to that. You're better off just getting it in its peptide bonded form with your regular protein. So I think I answered all your questions on this one. If you guys have any others, please post them in the comment section of the video or the blog. We're happy to answer them. Also, please check us out at Facebook.com/bestpricenutrition. Thanks for watching.