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Glutamine discussion thread

The Creator

The Creator

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I know that KM has made a lot of good points lately about glutamine and how its mostly ineffective. He pm'd me a couple studies that proved this point for strength and repair in the short term. I have since done some research myself and the only real beneficial studies that I could find were when consumed intraveinously post surgery to stave of catabolism and atrophy.
I know that many people on this forum, if not all, have spent money on glutamine. So is it a waste of money? And if it is effective, what is it effective in doing. Here is an portion of an article off of bodybuilding.com that I found interesting,

"While studies have shown that the percentage of orally consumed glutamine is found to be small in the blood after consumption, it is only because the digestive cells of the stomach and intestine consume most of it.

I know what you're thinking, "Why then would I want to waste my money if my muscles aren't going to be getting it?" The reason is that the consumption by these intestinal cells will occur whether we supplement with glutamine or not! These cells need glutamine to fuel our immune system and support our health.

If we don't take in extra glutamine, the body will make sure to break down muscle to provide adequate amounts of glutamine for these cells. That's right, even those of us who don't workout still need glutamine, and the body makes sure it gets it, by breaking down muscle. It does so by pulling available glutamine stores out of the muscle tissue as well as breaking down muscle to produce more glutamine.

We all know how important protein is to muscle growth, so we need to make sure glutamine concentrations are adequate to prevent muscle loss. If we are constantly breaking down muscle, there is no way we will get stronger, stay healthy, or build more muscle.

Glutamine is also a protein synthesis regulator, meaning if it isn't found in adequate concentrations in the muscles, the body will have a hard time building more muscle.


So the bottom line is - supplement with glutamine! This will ensure that the stomach cells have what they require to support immunity, muscle concentrations are adequate to stimulate growth, and that muscle is not broken down to produce more glutamine. More and more studies continue to show that this amino acid is vital for any hard training athlete. In my opinion, it is a necessity."


I found this to be very intersting and it doesnt contradict anything that the members on this board have informed me with. So what do you think? Effective or not?
 
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Rageking

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Dont we get enough in a regular diet though?
 
tim290280

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I hate to cut and paste from unreliable sources but my references on this are on my home computer:
Nutrition
Occurrences in nature
Glutamine is the most abundant naturally occurring, non-essential amino acid in the human body and one of the only amino acids which directly crosses the blood-brain barrier. In the body it is found circulating in the blood as well as stored in the skeletal muscles. It becomes conditionally essential (requiring intake from food or supplements) in states of illness or injury.

Dietary sources
Dietary sources of L-glutamine include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, dairy products, wheat, cabbage, beets, beans, spinach, and parsley. Small amounts of free L-glutamine are also found in vegetable juices and fermented foods, such as miso.

Functions
Glutamine has a variety of biochemical functions including:

A substrate for DNA synthesis
Major role in protein synthesis
Primary source of fuel for enterocytes (cells lining the inside of the small intestine)
Precursor for rapidly dividing immune cells, thus aiding in immune function
Regulation of acid-base balance in the kidney by producing ammonium
Alternative source of fuel for the brain and helps to block cortisol-induced protein catabolism
As a form of fixed nitrogen by heterocysts, exchanged for photosynthate from undifferentiated cyanobacterial cells

Use
In catabolic states of injury and illness, GLN becomes conditionally-essential (requiring intake from food or supplements). Glutamine has been studied extensively over the past 10-15 years and has been shown to be useful in treatment of serious illnesses, injury, trauma, burns, cancer and its treatment related side-effects as well as in wound healing for postoperative patients. That is why it is now also classified as a nutraceutical. Glutamine is also marketed as a supplement used for muscle growth in weightlifting, bodybuilding, endurance and other sports.

Glutamine has also been taken to enhance brain function as it fuels two of the brain's most important neurotransmitters: glutamic acid and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It also assists in nitrogen transportation and reduces toxic build up of ammonia in the brain (though is contra-indicated for those with Reye's Syndrome). Hence, it has been used to aid memory, increase IQ in those with mental retardation, and to support people with schizophrenia and senility.

It has also been used in the treatment of ADHD, anxiety. and depression.

It has also been used in recovery programs to break sugar craving cycles in alcoholics (although is contra-indicated for those with cirrhosis of the liver or kidney disease)and assist people in the management of sugar craving in diabetes.

It is also used as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of autoimmune diseases and preserves Glutathione (important for detoxification and immune support) levels in the liver.

Glutamine is contraindicated for those with Reye's syndrome, cirrhosis of the liver and kidney disease.

Aiding gastrointestinal function
In recent studies, glutamine-enriched diets have been linked with intestinal effects including maintenance of gut barrier function, intestinal cell proliferation, and differentiation. It may be used in recovery after gut surgery or in the treatment of gut damage, the treatment of sepsis, and irritable bowel syndrome. This may relate to the fact that the intestinal extraction rate of glutamine is higher than that for other amino acids, and is therefore thought to be the most viable option when attempting to alleviate conditions relating to the gastrointestinal tract.

These conditions were discovered after comparing plasma concentration within the gut between glutamine-enriched and non glutamine-enriched diets. However, even though glutamine is thought to have "cleansing" properties and effects, it is unknown to what extent glutamine has clinical benefits, due to the varied concentrations of glutamine in varieties of food.

Aiding recovery after surgery
It is also known that glutamine has various effects in reducing healing time after operations. Hospital-stay times after abdominal surgery can be reduced by providing parenteral nutrition regimes containing high amounts of glutamine to patients. Clinical trials have revealed that patients on supplementation regimes containing glutamine have improved nitrogen balances, generation of cysteinyl-leukotrienes from polymorphonuclear neutrophil granulocytes and improved lymphocyte recovery and intestinal permeability (in postoperative patients) - in comparison to those who had no glutamine within their dietary regime; all without any side-effects.

Athletes
Athletes who train excessively may deplete their glutamine stores. This is because they are overusing their skeletal muscles, where much of the glutamine in the body is stored. Athletes who overstress their muscles (without adequate time for recovery between workouts) may be at increased risk for infection and often recover slowly from injuries. This is also true for people who participate in prolonged exercise, such as ultra-marathon runners. For this select group of athletes, glutamine supplementation may be useful. This is not true, however, for most exercisers who tend to work out at a much more moderate intensity.

References
Boza, J.J.; Dangin, M.; Moennoz, D.; Montigon, F.; Vuichoud, J.; Jarret, A.; Pouteau, E.; Gremaud, G.; Oguey-araymon, S.; Courtois, D.; Others, (2001). "Free and protein-bound glutamine have identical splanchnic extraction in healthy human volunteers". American Journal of Physiology- Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 281 (1): 267–274. doi:10.1097/00000658-199802000-00022. PMID 11408280, http://ajpgi.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/281/1/G267. Retrieved on 1 November 2007.

Morlion, B.J.; Stehle, P.; Wachtler, P.; Siedhoff, H.P.; Koller, M.; Konig, W.; Furst, P.; Puchstein, C. (1998). "Total parenteral nutrition with glutamine dipeptide after major abdominal surgery: a randomized, double-blind, controlled study". Ann Surg 227 (2): 302–8. doi:10.1097/00000658-199802000-00022, http://www.annalsofsurgery.com/pt/re/annos/fulltext.00000658-199802000-00022.htm. Retrieved on 1 November 2007.
Point being that Glutamine is always going to be going through the body because it is in the diet already and will "feed the intentines" just through food intake. If it is already abundant in the blood stream in normal people with normal intakes, how is supplementation going to help?

Next point all the studies show benefit only in IV administration because of the fact that you already get large amounts in the body and blood stream, so excess dietry sources will be processed and either stored of converted. So since most people don't use an IV regularly increased dietry sources are a waste. Also worth noting that most protein supplements have a reasonable proportion of L-glutamine in them (ON 100% Whey has 4g per 30g serve) so an individual supplement is kinda pointless.
 
The Creator

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^^ But how much is really needed in an intense exercising individual? It is easy to identify on supplements but not so much on a chicken breast, eggs, or other protein sources. Could supplementing be beneficial to ensure that the cells have enough so they dont need to pull from skeletal muscle tissue?
Thanks for the responses! I realize that this exact topic isnt exactly studied that in depth but if there is anything, I would love to read it!
 
allstar

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I'll see if I can dig up some of my studies about glutamine.
 
tim290280

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^^ But how much is really needed in an intense exercising individual? It is easy to identify on supplements but not so much on a chicken breast, eggs, or other protein sources. Could supplementing be beneficial to ensure that the cells have enough so they dont need to pull from skeletal muscle tissue?
Thanks for the responses! I realize that this exact topic isnt exactly studied that in depth but if there is anything, I would love to read it!
I don't have the numbers on this computer but I remember vaguely a few things:
Exercising individuals are roughly equal to a normal adult in terms of needs. We have slightly higher protein needs (which will cover glutamine) and some of the trace nutrients are higher too. Now take that to high level competitive athlete and the nutrition is different, but as was stated by my cut and paste (which was from a physiology site and Wiki has copied it), recreational people aren't in the same league. Some might like to think they are, but they just aren't.

As we know ratios of proteins vary between sources, but from memory glutamine is pretty well represented in food due to its high level of storage in muscles of animals. So any protein source is going to have at least a few grams per serve.

If you already have high levels in the blood normally, get plenty in the diet from protein sources then adding extra sounds to me like pissing money away. BBing.com sounded like it was trying to sell more supplements rather than state a reasoned argument. Their argument would be reasonably easy to prove if it were the case as saturation levels of the gut cells would occur and you would see increased blood levels or storage. As it doesn't you would expect that the cells are taking as much as is needed, mostly from its blood supply, and the body gets its glutamine from liver processes.
 
Eli80Cal

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Have to weigh in here.....Like Tim, I am having a hard time finding the source, but... most of the recent research I have seen on Glutamine is in reference to endurance athletes, and overtraining/post event infection-reduced white blood cell count. What I can locate now is showing a roughly 20% reduction in plasma glutamine one hour post marathon, and an increased rate of infection for those with lower levels.

My personal opinion is that Glutamine is effective as a over-training preventative, if there is such a thing. I feel better when taking it, and feel like I do not get sick as often.(Yes, the confounding factors are numerous...) I can tell by Creator's hopeful tone that we both like it,and do not want to relegate it to non-effective status. I will use up what I have. Will I purchase more? I am unsure. Think I would lean more towards BCAAs.
 
tim290280

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^^ I wouldn't write it off, as any aminos that are lacking in the diet will be beneficial. I just feel that we are likely to get enough glutamine from standard food or supplements.

I posted this review a while ago in the articles section. It should be still there, but here is an excerpt:
Dietary supplements
RON J. MAUGHAN, DOUG S. KING and TREVOR LEA
Journal of Sports Sciences, 2004, 22, 95–113

In the case of some amino acids, there are data from
clinical studies involving severely stressed individuals
(by trauma, burn injury or surgery) showing that
supplementation may reduce the extent of muscle
wasting that occurs, but this catabolic state is hardly
relevant to the healthy athlete trying to increase muscle
mass. Individual amino acids claimed to promote
muscle growth include glutamine, branched-chain
amino acids, leucine, lysine, arginine and ornithine.
There is little evidence to support the benefit of
supplementation of any of these amino acids for athletes
eating a normal diet. Although high doses of arginine,
ornithine and lysine may result in increased circulating
growth hormone and insulin concentrations, these have
not been shown to result in changes in lean body mass
or in muscle function (Merimee et al., 1969). The
changes in growth hormone that result are transient and
small relative to the normal fluctuations that occur and
are also small relative to the increases that result from
even a short period of very high-intensity effort.
Note that this was not talking about protein and EAA supplementation but rather amino supplements like glutamine.

Another section talks about immune system enhancement:
In view of the role of glutamine as a fuel for the cells
of the immune system, the fall in circulating glutamine
that occurs in response to prolonged exercise has been
proposed as a mechanism that compromises the ability
to respond to infection (Newsholme, 1994). Other
studies have shown that athletes suffering from chronic
fatigue symptoms attributed to overtraining also have
low circulating glutamine concentrations (Rowbottom
et al., 1995). At present, the limited information on
glutamine supplementation provides no clear pattern
of results. Studies by Newsholme and colleagues
suggest a beneficial effect of glutamine supplementation
on resistance to infection after endurance exercise
(Castell et al., 1996; Castell and Newsholme, 1997),
although a positive effect was not always seen (Castell
et al., 1997). In the rat, prolonged treadmill running
has been shown to reduce the plasma glutamine
concentration after exercise and to reduce the proliferative
response of leucocytes to a mitogen challenge (Moriguchi et al., 1995); in contrast, animals fed a
glutamine-supplemented diet for 3 weeks before
exercise maintained their plasma glutamine concentration
and showed a higher response to mitogens than
the control group. A similar study carried out with
humans found no beneficial effect of acute glutamine
supplementation on these same parameters (Rohde et
al., 1998). Although this hypothesis is undoubtedly
attractive, a clear link between hard exercise, compromised
immune function and susceptibility to infection
has not been established. Nonetheless, glutamine
supplementation for athletes is being promoted and
supplements are widely available in sports nutrition
outlets.
So it may have benefits there, but only if you are a marathon runner or triathlete or one of those "Race the Planet" guys.
 
The Creator

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Yes I do believe that it does have high potential to keep the immune system strong in highly physically stressed athletes. I was arguing with a VP of the gym that I work for about glutamine and he claimed that the line that we sell is backed by 5 studies. So I asked to see the studies. He pulled them out and every study was in relation to patients recovering from a surgery or severe injury. I brought this up and he said that this was the same scenario as a person recovering from a workout. Needless to say, I told him that he was wrong in this aspect and his studies were not relevant enough for oral consumption of glutamine by exercising individuals.
 
tim290280

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^^ Sorry what is a VP?

And yes I agree. Severe trauma and extreme endurance events are not exactly the realm of even the most hard training gym lifter.
 

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The Creator

The Creator

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^^ Sorry about that, Vice President of all the clubs in the valley.
 
youngmusclejock

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I'm a fan but that's just me!
 

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