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Why is glutamine supplementation important?

  • amino acids
  • glutamine
  • Health nutrition

What is glutamine? Why is glutamine supplementation important? We answer all your questions on the subject in detail.

What is glutamine?

Glutamine is an amino acid belonging to the family of "conditionally essential" amino acids.

Glutamine can be find in meat, fish, eggs, seafood, legumes (lentils, chickpeas, flageolet beans, etc.), spinach, oilseeds (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts). Food provides an average of 5 to 10 g of glutamine.

Deficiency in glutamine

Our body is capable to create it, however, somefactors can cause deficiencies, in particular physiological stress (accident, burns, surgery, serious pathology), but also intense physical activity.

Indeed, for bodybuilders or for athletes who train regularly, glutamine becomes an essential amino acid, because the body's ability to synthesize it is much lower than the destruction caused by exertion (there is a decrease in plasma glutamine levels, directly related to the drop in performance) (1-2-3).

Glutamine's role

The role of glutamine Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the blood and muscles. It plays many roles in our body, including the immune system, protein synthesis, maintaining the integrity of the intestinal wall and acid-base balance. It indirectly participates in the repair of cartilages and tendons by helping to manufacture glucosamine.

Effects in athletes

  • Chronic glutamine supplementation reduces exercise-induced gut permeability, and acute supplementation prevents increased permeability during exercise (4).
  • Glutamine fights against catabolism and speed up muscular anabolism
  • Chronic oral administration of l-glutamine may reduce muscle damage and inflammation induced by intense physical exertion (5).
  • Acute supplementation of glutamine combined with maltodextrin, 2 hours before exercise, appears to be more effective in preventing decreased anaerobic potency than consumption of pure carbohydrate or pure carbohydrate, according to a study. glutamine in repeated episodes of the RAST protocol. Thus, supplementation with carbohydrates and peptide glutamine improved the physical performance of athletes during repeated competitions (6).
  • After exercise, a reduced availability of glutamine can be considered a marker of overtraining. Increased availability of glutamine may contribute to decreased inflammation and health benefits associated with optimal training. Thus, glutamine supplementation may improve immunocompetence after strenuous exercise (7).
  • A study of glutamine supplementation during a mock forest fire showed that men and women who ingested glutamine had a slower recovery time than participants who ingested a placebo. In fact, their fatigue, cellular stress and perceived exertion were less important. Glutamine supplementation therefore improves recovery after exercise (8)

Glutamine benefic effects

In older people

  • According to a recent study, the administration of L-glutamine may represent an important therapeutic strategy for reducing muscle loss, (sarcopenia) in catabolic diseases and aging (9).
  • Glutamine is believed to have antidepressant effects through increased blood levels of glutamate and glutamine and glutamatergic activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (10).
  • It plays a role in the immune system, which is essential for lymphocyte proliferation (11).

In people with intolerances

  • Glutamine may improve intestinal mucous blood flow and reduce intestinal damage especially after a burn, thereby reducing the permeability of the intestinal mucosa. (12).
  • Dietary glutamine supplementation may lower blood sugar in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D), who do not have residual insulin secretion. (13).
  • It also improves the intestinal and hepatic lesions induced by alcohol in particular. (14).
  • A study in patients with sickle cell anemia showed that in children and adults with sickle cell anemia, the median number of painful attacks over 48 weeks was lower in patients taking oral l-glutamine. (15).

In people wishing to lose weight

A study found that administration of glutamine reduced waist circumference and serum lipopolysaccharide levels in overweight volunteers. In the group of individuals with obesity, supplementation with glutamine helped decrease waist circumference and serum insulin levels. In rats fed a high fat diet, glutamine reduced adiposity and improved insulin action. (16).

Scientific references

(1) Phillips GC. Glutamine: the nonessential amino acid for performance enhancement. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2007 Jul;6(4):265-8.

(2) Yan B. Metabolomic investigation into variation of endogenous metabolites in professional athletes subject to strength-endurance training. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Feb;106(2):531-8.

(3) Gleeson M.Dosing and efficacy of glutamine supplementation in human exercise and sport training. J Nutr. 2008 Oct;138(10):2045S-2049S.

(4) Zuhl, M., Dokladny, K., Mermier, C., Schneider, S., Salgado, R., & Moseley, P. (2014). The effects of acute oral glutamine supplementation on exercise-induced gastrointestinal permeability and heat shock protein expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Cell Stress And Chaperones, 20(1), 85-93. doi: 10.1007/s12192-014-0528-1

(5) Raizel, R., & Tirapegui, J. (2018). Role of glutamine, as free or dipeptide form, on muscle recovery from resistance training: a review study. Nutrire, 43(1). doi: 10.1186/s41110-018-0087-9

(6) Khorshidi-Hosseini, M., & Nakhostin-Roohi, B. (2013). Effect of Glutamine and Maltodextrin Acute Supplementation on Anaerobic Power. Asian Journal Of Sports Medicine, 4(2). doi: 10.5812/asjsm.34495

(7) Agostini, F., & Biolo, G. (2010). Effect of physical activity on glutamine metabolism. Current Opinion In Clinical Nutrition And Metabolic Care, 13(1), 58-64. doi: 10.1097/mco.0b013e328332f946

(8) Nava, R., Zuhl, M., Moriarty, T., Amorim, F., Bourbeau, K., & Welch, A. et al. (2019). The Effect of Acute Glutamine Supplementation on Markers of Inflammation and Fatigue During Consecutive Days of Simulated Wildland Firefighting. Journal Of Occupational And Environmental Medicine, 61(2), e33-e42. doi: 10.1097/jom.0000000000001507

(9) Girven, M., Dugdale, H., Owens, D., Hughes, D., Stewart, C., & Sharples, A. (2016). l-glutamine Improves Skeletal Muscle Cell Differentiation and Prevents Myotube Atrophy After Cytokine (TNF-α) Stress Via Reduced p38 MAPK Signal Transduction. Journal Of Cellular Physiology, 231(12), 2720-2732. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25380

(10) Son, H., Baek, J., Go, B., Jung, D., Sontakke, S., & Chung, H. et al. (2018). Glutamine has antidepressive effects through increments of glutamate and glutamine levels and glutamatergic activity in the medial prefrontal cortex. Neuropharmacology, 143, 143-152. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.09.040

(11) Cruzat, V., Macedo Rogero, M., Noel Keane, K., Curi, R., & Newsholme, P. (2018). Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation. Nutrients, 10(11), 1564. doi: 10.3390/nu10111564

(12) Wang, Z. (2018). Effects of glutamine on intestinal mucus barrier after burn injury. American Journal Of Translational Research, 10(11), 3833-3846.

(13) Darmaun, D., Torres-Santiago, L., & Mauras, N. (2019). Glutamine and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Current Opinion In Clinical Nutrition And Metabolic Care, 1. doi: 10.1097/mco.0000000000000530

(14) Chaudhry, K., Shukla, P., Mir, H., Manda, B., Gangwar, R., & Yadav, N. et al. (2016). Glutamine supplementation attenuates ethanol-induced disruption of apical junctional complexes in colonic epithelium and ameliorates gut barrier dysfunction and fatty liver in mice. The Journal Of Nutritional Biochemistry, 27, 16-26. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.08.012

(15) Niihara, Y., Miller, S., Kanter, J., Lanzkron, S., Smith, W., & Hsu, L. et al. (2018). A Phase 3 Trial of l-Glutamine in Sickle Cell Disease. New England Journal Of Medicine, 379(3), 226-235. doi: 10.1056/nejmoa1715971.

(16) Abboud, K., Reis, S., Martelli, M., Zordão, O., Tannihão, F., & de Souza, A. et al. (2019). Oral Glutamine Supplementation Reduces Obesity, Pro-Inflammatory Markers, and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in DIO Wistar Rats and Reduces Waist Circumference in Overweight and Obese Humans. Nutrients, 11(3), 536. doi: 10.3390/nu11030536

Written on 12/21/2021 by Nutrimuscle Conseil
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