Glutamine, or L-glutamine, is an amino acid. It is important to the health of the immune system, digestive tract, and muscle cells. After a heavy exercise session, glutamine levels in the body are reduced by as much as 50%. This amino acid isn’t just important to the muscle cells, though—-it’s highly in demand throughout the body. The gut and immune system will rob glutamine stored in the muscle cells if there is a shortage. This increases the risk of muscle loss because 60% of free-form amino acids floating in skeletal muscles are L-glutamine.
L-glutamine plays a very important role in protein metabolism. When taken as a supplement, it may help exercisers reduce the amount of muscle loss that can occur as a result of overtraining or dieting--and muscle loss makes metabolism drop like a rock.
A recent study showed up to a 400% increase in growth-hormone levels when as little as 2 grams of free-form L-glutamine supplement was consumed! Growth hormone helps with recovery from exercise and also helps weight-training adults develop more muscle and a higher metabolism from exercise.
People who exercise more than 6 hours per week and those who have been under a lot of stress or trauma (such as burn, surgery, and disease victims) can particularly gain from the intake of glutamine. All these individuals are more susceptible to illness, as the immune system relies heavily on this amino acid. Becoming ill or losing lean muscle mass are signs of deficiency. The amino acid L-Glutamine can be found in protein powders, beans, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, and L-Glutamine supplements in powder form.