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Effect Of Glutamine Supplement On Muscle Recovery

Madhura Mohan

Posted on April 16 2021

M

uscle soreness is an inevitable factor that comes with your workout. Today you go to the gym with a full-on motivation to complete reps, but tomorrow, you tend not to have the same motivation as the previous day.

You feel like taking a break but then you remember the inspiring quotes on the gym wall and try to push yourself but give up soon. This is the effect of muscle soreness. To keep you be informed, chronic muscle soreness can lead to fatigue, muscle loss, a decline in athletic performance and a loss of motivation. You don’t want to let this happen on a daily basis, you must take measures to optimize your post-workout muscle recovery, so you can continue training full-fledged the next day?

Muscle soreness and muscle fatigue are definitely inevitable, but there is a way/strategy to deal with it. Let’s learn in this article about how glutamine can be used as a nutritional strategy to delay the onset of fatigue and improve athletic performance.

 

What Is Muscle Fatigue?

Muscle fatigue is defined as the inability to maintain power output, muscle strength and impaired physical performance. The reasons for fatigue are many, mainly being the accumulation of protons in the muscle cell, depletion of energy sources (muscle glycogen, phosphocreatine), accumulation of ammonia in the tissues, oxidative stress, muscle damage and increases in serotonin.

Before heading to learn how glutamine helps speed up the muscle recovery process, let’s get some information on glutamine and the reason for its supplementation….let’s go…

 

Glutamine

Not needed to say it’s an amino acid, but it’s required for you to know that glutamine (C5H10N2O3) is the most abundant and conditionally essential amino acid in the human body. Glutamine is said to be the highest concentration of free-floating amino acid (50-60%) in the body. Glutamine is synthesized in the body from glutamate and ammonia by the enzyme glutamine synthetase and is stored predominantly in the skeletal muscle.

You just read glutamine is made in the body, then why should you supplement with it?

 

Why Should You Supplement With Glutamine?  

Your body stores glutamine for when it’s needed, but during intense training periods, your body will deplete all of its glutamine, which inhibits its function, decrease strength, stamina, lengthens the recovery period. Supplementing with glutamine ensures your body has an adequate supply of glycogen stores.

 

Also read, glutamine+ whey 

 

Mechanism By Which Glutamine Aids In Muscle Recovery

 

1. Helps Maintain Positive Nitrogen Balance   

The main role of glutamine in muscle recovery is to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. Having a unique structure with two nitrogen side chains, glutamine can be a primary nitrogen donor in muscle cells. After a heavy workout, rushing nitrogen to the damaged muscles stimulates muscle protein synthesis. Glutamine also performs as a nitrogen donor in the biosynthesis of other amino acids, it improves nicotinamide dinucleotide (NAD) potential. Glutamine increases positive nitrogen balance which is required for positive protein balance which can result in attenuation of exercise-induced muscle damage, muscle soreness and loss of muscle strength.

 

2. Prevents Ammonia Accumulation

During your intense workouts, your muscles rapidly-produce ammonia because of adenosine monophosphate deamination.  This may increase ammonia levels in the brain which has been linked to peripheral and central fatigue. Glutamine supplementation is associated with the prevention of ammonia accumulation due to its effects on energy metabolism. Glutamine plays a role in ammonia buffering because it is the main transporter of nitrogen in the body, it prevents muscle accumulation of this metabolite and aid in the formation of urea and favours its renal excretion. During glutamic acid conversion to glutamine, the ammonia group is added to glutamic acid, which helps in regulating toxic levels of ammonia.

 

3. Preserves Glycogen Stores & Fuels Your Muscles

Yet another way how glutamine can hasten recovery is through stimulation of glycogen synthase, an enzyme necessary for the storage of glycogen in the muscles and liver. Glycogen serves as the primary source of energy during high-intensity exercise. During workouts lasting for more than 20-30 minutes, the process of gluconeogenesis ensures that there is a supply of glucose to fuel the brain and muscles. Gluconeogenesis is a process whereby glucose is produced from non-carbohydrate sources, typically being glycerol and amino acids. If you are one aiming for fat burning, then taking carb source may not be desirable. Supplementing with glutamine post-workout may accelerate muscle glycogen stores and restore energy levels following training.

 

4. Maintains Immune Health

There is a consistent body of evidence that prolonged exercise causes an elevation in plasma cortisol concentration. This stimulates not only protein breakdown and but also increase gluconeogenesis. Intense physical exercise might decrease the rate of glutamine release from skeletal muscle or increase  e rate of glutamine uptake by other organs that utilize glutamine.    The overall effect is that strenuous exercise may compromise the total glutamine pool, resulting in impaired immune function.

A decrease in plasma glutamine concentrations limits the availability of glutamine for immune cells that require glutamine for energy and nucleotide biosynthesis. Supplementing with glutamine helps reverse this condition. Glutamine functions as a substrate for the production of neurotransmitters, glutamate and GABA, thereby helps manage the negative effects of stress on immune health.

 

5. Promotes Optimal Hydration

Hydration is an overlooked aspect of muscle soreness and muscle recovery. If you are dehydrated following a workout, the process of protein synthesis will be hindered and will delay the process of recovery. Water movement is determined by osmotic gradients and the cotransport of sodium and glucose into gut epithelial cells. The great benefit of glutamine is its ability to help sodium uptake for an increased rate of fluid absorption during training, which makes it the faster muscle recovery supplement.

 

6. Reduces Oxidative Stress

Your intense workout demands enhanced oxygen consumption and subsequently generates reactive oxygen species. Oxidative stress causes muscle damage, alters metabolic process, including energy and gut metabolism. Studies have shown that glutamine supplementation reduces the plasma concentration of creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase, which are the marker of muscle damage. Glutamine plays an indirect antioxidant effect by acting as an important donator of glutamate for glutathione synthesis. Glutathione is the most important non-enzymatic antioxidant in the cell. Glutamine also helps counteract the metabolic effects of oxidative stress.

 

Faster post-workout recovery means more training, better workouts and improved results…

Intense training followed by faster recovery makes the athlete’s training routine more productive…

 

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6520936/
                    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504368

 

Also read: 5 Effective Ways To Maximize Post-Workout Muscle Recovery

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