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Supplement Superheroes: Glutamine

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body. It plays a crucial role in everything from immune health to workout recovery. Here's why you should add it to your supplement stack (if you haven't already):

IMPROVES IMMUNE FUNCTION

If you've ever hit the gym non-stop for several days (or weeks) in a row, you may have noticed you started to feel a bit off: sluggish, fatigued, and..is that a cold coming on?

Wait, what gives? Isn't working out supposed to boost your immune function?

Yes--but only if you don't overdo it. Excessive prolonged exercise can actually weaken your immune system, and significantly depletes your body's glutamine stores. (x)

Low glutamine levels don't just negatively impact your athletic performance (more on that later), but could also make it harder for your body to fight off infections. Glutamine helps your immune system function properly by improving the activity of neutrophils, white blood cells that activate the body's defense system. (x) Inadequate glutamine levels-- due to over-exercising or an existing health condition--could make you more susceptible to those nasty fall and winter colds.

The good news is that glutamine supplementation has been shown to improve immune activity and may even accelerate wound healing, especially when paired with a protein-rich diet (x). So add some glutamine powder to your morning smoothie; your health will thank you.

BOOSTS ENERGY AND ENDURANCE

Glutamine is a go-to workout supplement with good reason: research indicates that it gives you an energy boost so you can train longer and harder.

In a study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, subjects underwent a series of rigorous physical endurance tests. After each workout, they took either glutamine or a placebo. Those who supplemented with glutamine maintained their energy levels from the beginning of the trial to the end, while those who took a placebo noticed a significant decrease in their energy over the course of the study.

Glutamine may also help you fight that characteristic muscle burn you feel when you're on your last few reps. That burn is caused by lactic acid buildup in the muscles, and while it's good news--it means you're working your muscles to their max--it can also lead to fatigue. Taking glutamine, however, may build up the body's tolerance to lactic acid, allowing you to skirt muscle burn and bang out more reps for greater muscle growth. (x)

BENEFITS WORKOUT RECOVERY

Glutamine's benefits don't end when you leave the gym. Studies suggest it maintains protein synthesis, which grows and strengthens the muscles even after a workout. (x)

Muscles also need glycogen to recover from a tough physical activity. Glycogen is a molecule used to store glucose, an important source of energy. Research indicates that glutamine may promote glycogen synthesis, which speeds up the recovery process and reduces muscle soreness associated with weight lifting and strength training. (x)

CURBS CRAVINGS AND BURNS FAT

Cookies and chips constantly on the brain? Glutamine may be able to help. Studies indicate it stabilizes blood glucose levels, which could curb those nagging cravings for sugar and carbs. (x) And if you feel like you're losing the battle of the bulge, glutamine also increases the metabolic rate at rest, meaning your body will continue to torch fat hours after you step off the treadmill. (x)

PROMOTES A HEALTHY GUT

No, not a beer gut--we're talking about your small intestine, which uses glutamine as one of its main fuel sources to absorb nutrients from the food you eat. (x) Healthy nutrient absorption in the intestine equals fewer digestive issues and improved overall wellness.

ACETYL L-GLUTAMINE VS L-GLUTAMINE

There are two types of glutamine supplements: l-glutamine (its standard form), and n-acetyl l-glutamine, which has undergone acetylation, a process that makes it easier for the body to absorb and utilize organic compounds like glutamine. Acetyl l-glutamine is also more stable in water than l-glutamine. Both, however, are shown to be effective in improving health. Experiment to see which form works best for your body.

HOW TO TAKE GLUTAMINE

Our Powder: As a dietary supplement, take 500mg (scant 1/4 tsp) to 1000mg (just over 1/3 tsp) up to three times daily, preferable immediately after exercise, or as directed by a physician. Do not heat this powder.

Our glutamine powder dissolves easily in water and has no discernible taste. Mix it into your favorite workout shake, juice, or water.

Our Capsules: As a dietary supplement, take 1 to 2 capsules up to three times daily, preferably immediately after workout, or as directed by a physician.

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