The supplement industry contains loads of high cost, low return-on-investment products that are difficult to avoid. However, some products are undeniably useful.
Glutamine and Branch Chain Amino-Acids (BCAAs) are two of the simplest and most effective supplements you can purchase, and they are two of the most reliable as well.
As an amino acid which is the building block for all proteins in your entire body, glutamine is found naturally occurring in your body, and you can use it to increase your overall energy as well as counter several side effects of intense medical treatment amongst other benefits.
Glutamine is essentially fuel for nearly every type of cell in the body, and it is necessary to promote the making of other chemicals in your body such as glucose and amino acids.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) are the three most easily-absorbed amino acids in your body. The three BCAA’s are valine, leucine, and isoleucine, and they are the most anabolic (muscle building) amino acids that you can use to supply your body.
BCAA’s are considered an essential amino acid because your body does not synthesize or create them naturally, yet they are necessary for your body to function correctly.
BCAA’s make up about 35% of all the amino acids in your muscle tissue, and they are the most vital and prevalent of amino acids.
Furthermore, BCAA’s are absorbed directly into your muscles since they bypass the processes of digestion which most other amino-acids go through; making them invaluable and irreplaceable for morning training, pre-workout nutrition, and post-workout nutrition!
BCAAs and Glutamine – Benefits and Uses
Together, this glutamine and BCAAs are an invaluable tag-team which should be in every athlete’s supplement closet.
Whether you use them pre-workout, post-workout, or intra-workout, there is nearly no wrong time to get your daily doses of glutamine and Branch Chain Amino Acids!
Keep reading below to find out more!
What is Glutamine?
Before you invest your money and purchase a bottle of glutamine, you should understand more about why it is worth buying.
Unlike many other supplements, the science behind glutamine is quite simple.
Known as the most abundant amino acid in your body, glutamine is produced in your muscles and distributed throughout to your organs and other places in your body which are in need of it by your bloodstream.
Glutamine is well-known to boost your immune system, digestive system, and many other essential processes of the body due to its ability to negate physical and mental stresses.
Glutamine supplies your body with the ability to fight back against many various threats, thus making your body stronger overall.
Since nitrogen is essential in the process of repairing wounds and keeping vital organs functioning, glutamine plays an immediate and substantial role in regulating nitrogen supplies so they can successfully work to help your body.
In situations where the body needs to use more glutamine than it is capable, muscle wasting may occur as the body will preferentially use glutamine for the most substantial stress in your body.
People who have HIV/Aids or any other auto-immune disease, glutamine supplementation becomes incredibly important, as your body starts wasting away your muscles quicker than ever.
Certain types of chemotherapy can lower the level of glutamine in the body drastically. However, supplementation of glutamine can restore these levels relatively well. For those who are in need of chemotherapy, glutamine can be beneficial for helping with:
- Joint and Muscle Pain
- Swelling and pain in the mouth
Reasons Why You Should Use a Glutamine Supplement
There are several reasons why the use of glutamine is undeniably beneficial to the body, including:
- Evidence exists that indicates that glutamine can prevent bacteria from moving and leaving the intestines and traveling to other parts of the body. Thus reducing the chance for diseases to spread.
- Intravenously administering glutamine has been shown to reduce or shorten the number of days a patient stay’s in the hospital, reducing infections, and improving the healing of wounds of people who sustained burns.
- There is evidence to suggest that glutamine can reduce swelling inside the mouth which is caused by chemotherapy treatments. Glutamine does not have this effect on all patients that undergo chemotherapy and presently there is insufficient evidence to confirm why some patients are unable to enjoy this benefit.
- Administering glutamine intravenously and along with intravenous nutrition helps to reduce complications associated with surgery by improving the immune function substantially. The same applies to any bone marrow transplant, as it lowers the risks of infection and helps to improve recovery better than when only intravenous nutrition is given to the patient.
Along with these benefits, there are specific benefits of using glutamine to help you exercise longer and more intensely.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, when combined with the amino acid alanine,
“Taken together, the results suggest that chronically supplemented Gln protects against exercise-induced hyperammonemia depending on exercise intensity and supplementation duration.”
Furthermore, as stated by a study published in Cell Biochemistry and Function,
“We concluded that supplementation with free L-glutamine and the dipeptide LL-alanyl-LL-glutamine represents an effective source of glutamine, which may attenuate inflammation biomarkers after periods of training and plasma levels of CK and the inflammatory response induced by prolonged exercise.”
Possible Side Effects of Taking Glutamine Supplements
There is presently no known severe side effects from taking glutamine, and it is potentially safe being taken in oral doses up to 40g daily (approximately 600 milligrams per kilogram of body weight) daily.
It is also generally safe for children as well, but you should consult a doctor before taking.
A doctor should supervise the use of glutamine during pregnancy since medical evidence is not clear about the safety of this currently, and it may be advisable to refrain from taking glutamine during this period.
In general, if you are not sure about a specific condition you have and whether or not you can use glutamine, it is best to ask a medical doctor.
One factor which you ALWAYS should consider when taking glutamine, though, is that you do not want to leave it sitting in water for too long at all. You will not see this written many places, but glutamine +can break down into an ammonia-like substance when in water for too long.
Take your glutamine like a “shot,” and I am sure you will see better results!
If not, you are running the risk of having a lactic-acid building supplement in your body!
Best Glutamine Supplement
There are a lot of glutamine supplements, but none are a better deal than the Bulk Supplements L-Glutamine Powder.
I have used this product for years and always liked the results.
- Pure L-Glutamine
- Lab tested for verification & guaranteed purity
- Promotes muscle growth & prevents muscle loss
Examining the Three BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids)
Although BCAA products contain all three of these amino acids, it is still essential to understand each of them individually.
Leucine is considered the most important of the three essential amino acids when it comes to muscle building because it directly works to induce muscle protein synthesis. Leucine always has the highest dose among the amino acids in BCAA supplement because of its usefulness.
However, it cannot work at all without the other two.
Isoleucine also works to boost muscle protein synthesis, though not as strongly as leucine. One of the advantages of isoleucine is its ability to increase your glucose uptake and usage during workouts.
Isoleucine gives your body similar energy as carbohydrates, although it does not change or spike your insulin or blood sugar levels at all.
Isoleucine supplementation leads to substantially increased energy levels in your body.
Although valine is the least useful when comes to muscle building, it produces a noticeable improvement in muscle protein synthesis when combined with the other two BCAAs.
The most substantial additional benefit of is that it also plays a significant role in limiting tryptophan uptake in the brain, which results in delayed fatigue. Valine intake helps mask the fatigue that your brain understands, helping you push through physical barriers easily.
Optimal Ratio of BCAAs for Supplements
Based on studies, the ratio that yields the highest effect on muscle protein synthesis is the 2:1:1 ratio. In other words, the most effective BCAA ratio is two leucine for every one valine and one isoleucine.
Although there are products that boast of having superior formulations, most of them are strategic marketing strategies.
Some products market higher levels of leucine, stating that since it is the most anabolic, it will provide you with better results. However, scientific research currently only supports the 2:1:1 ratio.
My favorite BCAA supplement is Scivation Xtend, which of course uses a 2:1:1 ratio.
Reason Why You Should Use BCAA Supplements
During your workouts, the amount of stored energy in your body is depleted, and your muscles begin to search in other places for fuel to continue training.
By replenishing your body with new BCAA’s, you will provide a foundation for muscle protein synthesis, and your body will then make use of the complete protein as a fuel for the creation and growth of muscle.
BCAAs help your body avoid wasting muscle while you are training, so you can build more lean muscle mass overall!
As stated in a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition,
“Ingestion of a supplement containing BCAAs while following an 8-week resistance training program resulted in a greater decrease in percent body fat, an increase in lean mass, and 10-RM strength gains on the bench press and squat vs. ingestion of a whey supplement or a sports drink.”
Furthermore, neurotransmitters during workouts signal to the brain that muscles are experiencing fatigue; and BCAA’s slow down the cause of fatigue by slowing the uptake of tryptophan in your brain.
This reaction gives you numerous benefits including energy to do extra workouts and perform better in various physical activities.
According to a research study published in the journal Amino Acids,
“The results indicate that ingestion of BCAA reduces the perceived exertion and mental fatigue during exercise and improves cognitive performance after the exercise. In addition, in some situations ingestion of BCAA might also improve physical performance; during exercise in the heat or in a competitive race when the central component of fatigue is assumed to be more pronounced than in a laboratory experiment.”
Taking a BCAA supplement will provide you with a full range of potential benefits, especially since there are many outstanding products on the market currently.
The Best BCAA Supplement
As I said before, Scivation Xtend is my favorite BCAA product I have taken. Scivation has also recently released new products, with options for the addition of caffeine, or opting for 100% naturally made products.
- The World's #1 BCAA Brand with 7G of BCAAs Per Serving
- 0 Stimulants, Sugar, Calories, or Carbs
- 2.5g Added Glutamine + Electrolytes
- NSF & Informed Choice Certified
When to Take BCAAs and Glutamine
In my opinion, there are three main times when you should take BCAAs and glutamine. The most important times of the day to take glutamine and BCAAs are before your training (about 30-minutes before), and after your training (within 30-minutes). However, I also like to take BCAAs and glutamine immediately after waking up.
As I have written about previously, I have always been a massive fan of fasted training. I have enormously benefited from Intermittent Fasting. My intermittent fasting routine would not be possible if I did not add my own twist on traditional Intermittent Fasting, ensuring that my muscles are safe during the process.
To ensure proper fasted training, I intake a minimum of 10 grams of BCAAs and 2-5gs of Glutamine every morning.
Speaking about BCAAs and Glutamine specifically, these two products make fasted training possible and highly effective because they protect your muscles with a form of a protective-bubble.
I think of it as having this effect because it is essentially what happens. Glutamine and BCAAs form a buffer which feeds your muscles consistently during your training so that your muscles cannot attempt to eat themselves for fuel.
Therefore, this leaves your body-fat as an exposed fuel source and one which your body will preferentially use!
Concluding Thoughts – Glutamine and BCAA Supplement Stack
No matter how you incorporate these two products into your diet, there is entirely no doubt that they are two of the best supplements for weight loss and muscle gain.
As an athlete, your body is continuously at a need for both of these compounds. Supplementing with them will raise your energy levels, increase your work capacity, fight fatigue, and help enable you to build a healthier and more capable body!
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