5 Incredible Benefits of L-Glutamine Powder
180 Nutrition: Amino acids are the building blocks of protein structures within the human body. 21 amino acids are needed to create the muscles and structures we use every day, and of those, 12 can be made in the body itself.
The other 9 are acids like tryptophan, histidine, and leucine that you must get from your diet to survive. However, even though your body can create the other 12 amino acids on its own, there are times when supplementing them can improve athletic performance, overall health, or mental well-being.
One of the most useful of these amino acids is l-glutamine, which is found naturally in beef, eggs, and soy products, among other foods. Because of its role in so many important functions, l-glutamine powder has been increasingly popular as a supplement, so let’s take a look at why.
Functions of l-glutamine
Glutamine, like all amino acids, can be found in the proteins of various foods we eat. While certain plant foods like soy or rice have small amounts, more dense sources – typically from animal products – are far more dense in this important protein.
Even with the increased glutamine density in animal products, the amount is still pretty small. Roughly only 5% of the total amount of protein in 100g of beef is gluatmine, so it makes supplementing it appealing to get the most out of this mighty amino.
Functionally, glutamine plays important roles in multiple aspects of human health. These are the five most important benefits of glutamine powder supplements.
1. Exercise performance, recovery and muscle growth
While there is little promising research on the effects of glutamine supplementation on muscle growth, there are some studies that suggest it has a positive effect on recovery from weight lifting.
In general, supplementing protein when you’re lifting weights is a great way to add muscle, and so in a broad sense, supplementing with glutamine powder will add to your accessible proteins. This will increase your body’s ability to repair existing muscle and create new tissue, but there is no research that suggest that glutamine is better at this than any other form of amino acid.
Still, the evidence that supplementation can improve recovery time is promising, allowing weight lifters a few more reps or one more workout session per week, and that will increase gains.
2. Gut health
The bacteria that live in your gut thrive on certain types of foods. Typically these are things like prebiotic fibres found in foods like kimchi or sauerkraut, but they also need proteins to live. Glutamine plays an important role in keeping these bacteria healthy, which in turn has a variety of positive effects on your health, including but not limited to:
- Heart health
- Improvement of mental health symptoms
- Improved hunger signalling
Glutamine plays a critical role in ensuring that the gut’s lining is healthy, preventing leaky gut syndrome which can cause inflammation throughout the body impacting your immune response.
The other added benefit is that with a thriving gut microbiome, your body is better prepared to keep bad bacteria from thriving. Because of glutamine’s role in keeping beneficial bacteria healthy, it can contribute to keeping these malicious microbes from overtaking your intestines and ruining your health.
3. Improved immune functioning
Even though the body can create glutamine from ingested proteins, we typically need more than we can produce. This can lead to protein being scavenged from our muscles, which nobody wants. The primary use of glutamine in the body goes to immune functioning, as our white blood cells are hungry for it.
When we’re sick, injured or following a major surgery, our stores of glutamine are severely depleted and so supplementation through increased protein intake is generally what doctors will advise. Of course these are scenarios where supplementing with l-gluatmine powder is likely more efficient and simply easier than trying to eat a dozen eggs a day.
Reducing injury recovery time and hospital stays, and lowering the number of impactful days of a virus are all potential upsides of glutamine supplements. In addition, generally boosting the immune system’s ability to fight and heal are all critical functions of glutamine and honestly the most important reason to make sure you’re getting enough.
4. Improving brain function
Your brain requires the neurotransmitter glutamate to function, and glutamine is a building block for it. If you don’t have enough glutamine to meet glutamate demands, there are a lot of potential bad outcomes, including a slew of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
A bad cycle of glutamine to glutamate, one cause of which is insufficient amounts of gluatmine, is implicated in accelerated brain ageing. In addition, insufficient glutamate is one cause of both epilepsy and Reye’s Syndrome, which makes getting enough glutamine as we get older even more important.
5. Can aid weight loss
L-glutamine may promote weight loss by altering the composition of the gut microbiome, decreasing inflammation, and improving insulin sensitivity. Although research is limited, several studies link glutamine supplements to increased weight loss. One particular 2-week study using L-glutamine observed decreased waist circumference, a marker for belly fat, in 39 people with overweight or obesity issues.
Side effects of l-glutamine powder supplements
There are so many benefits from increasing your glutamine intake and luckily there really aren’t any side effects. Since it’s basically just a protein, there might be some digestive distress if you start taking too much at first, but no worse than any other protein powder.
In addition, since you can increase your intake of glutamine-rich foods, you can cut down on the amount of powder you’d need to take in the event it does hurt your stomach. Some of these foods are:
- Cold -water, wild-caught fish like salmon
- Bone broth
- Cottage cheese
Should you supplement glutamine?
Because of the positive effects on exercise recovery, gut health, immune functioning, brain ageing and weight loss, glutamine is one of the easiest and most beneficial proteins to supplement. Because it’s in a wide range of foods, you can get it with relative ease from your diet.
If your diet isn’t so great or you’re simply not a fan of the glutamine-rich foods available in your area, supplementing with a powder is easy, relatively inexpensive, and still provides ample benefits. L-Glutamine is flavourless and mixes well in water so makes an easy addition to smoothies or breakfast bowls if you don’t want to drink it in water.