Glutamine, Creatine's Sexy Sister? Part II
If you have not read Glutamine, Creatine's Sexy Sister? - Part I, please do so before you read this article! Glutamine, Creatine's Sexy Sister? - Part I
Growth hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland, is a very complex hormone consisting of 191 amino acids. Increasing lean body mass, reducing bodyfat, improving sexual performance, mood, memory, and alertness are all benefits linked to growth hormone. Unfortunately, at the age of about 30 the body begins to produce less growth hormone, and as we age that amount continues to decrease. With a growth hormone decrease we can expect a reverse effect of its benefits. If we can prevent and turn around this decrease in growth hormone we may be able to put a little more wiggle in our walk, more lead in the pencil, and a little more ya in our yahoo. Dare I say, growth hormone could be the fountain of youth.
There are two ways to increase growth hormone: By using Recombinant Growth Hormone (synthetically produced in a lab, and administered by injections), or by stimulating our pituitary gland to naturally release more hormone. Recombinant growth hormone therapy can cost in excess of $10.00,000 per year, and in most cases is not covered under insurance. For most people Recombinant Growth Hormone is not economically feasible. On the other hand, using products that stimulate the pituitary gland can provide a much thriftier way to increase growth hormone.
Glutamine has been proven an effective supplement in substantially raising plasma growth hormone levels. Forty-five minutes after eating a light breakfast, nine people were given a two-gram serving of glutamine. After only 30 minutes plasma growth hormone increased up to 430%, and returned to normal within 90 minutes. 3 With the ream of benefits that elevated growth hormone has, this research is certainly exciting. If you are interested in an inexpensive way to maintain increased growth hormone you could consume two to five gram servings five to six times per day between meals. Growth hormone is naturally released shortly after you fall asleep; ensure that your last serving of glutamine is consumed shortly before bed.
How to use glutamine
Answering the question of how much glutamine to consume is somewhat difficult. There is not one blanket answer to cover every variable. Things to consider when determining the amount of glutamine to consume include body weight, activity level, lifestyle stress, overall health, and diet. Another variable to consider is what you are using glutamine for. Is it to prevent OTS, stimulate growth hormone secretion, help boost your immune system, or replace sugar in your post-workout drink?
To assist in preventing OTS I recommend consuming glutamine both before and after training, and before bed. Again, there are too many variables to give you an exact amount to consume. Generally five to ten grams pre and post workout, and before bed is a good place to start. If you are on a very low carbohydrate diet, you may want to consider upping this amount, especially in your post-workout drink. Glutamine can increase glycogen storage by as much as 16 percent if consumed post-workout. 4
I have seen recommendations as high as .44 grams per lean pound of body weight. Consuming high levels of glutamine about a half an hour before a workout will leave you with a memorable experience. Upon experimenting with 30 grams of glutamine pre-workout, I experienced increased muscle volume to the point that I could no longer contract the muscle. No other supplement, including creatine, has ever given that intensity of “pump” before. I must warn you, however, I have had some people tell me they experience nausea when consuming large amounts of glutamine per serving (even with large servings I have personally never experienced any side effects). But, at the same time, they also said their workouts were some of the best they’ve ever had. Interestingly, while I was experimenting with larger servings (30 grams pre/during workout and 15 grams post-workout) I found it nearly impossible to get sore muscles. Normally I’m hobbling around in shear pain for four or five days following a hard leg workout; I was obviously ecstatic to be able to walk around pain-free. This experiment is hardly scientific, however, if you suffer from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS - the intense muscle pain that occurs and peaks about 48 hours after a workout) I suggest you consider adding glutamine to your supplement routine.
Unfortunately, like so many other topics relating to our bodies, the amount of glutamine one should take offers no black and white blanket answer. Use the above recommendations as a guide and look to your body for feedback. If you gobble down 30 grams of glutamine, then feel like you’re going to blow chunks, reduce your next serving size. If you have any nausea, or stomach discomfort start with small serving sizes and gradually introduce larger amounts.
Rarely in the sports supplement industry does one come across a product as diverse as glutamine. However, with flashy supplements hitting today's market, unfortunately glutamine has to play second fiddle. But, a solid body can never be built with these flashy supplements unless a solid foundation is first laid. If you are looking for a product that prevents sickness, speeds recovery, prevents sore muscles, and stimulates growth hormone production look no further than glutamine.
As I said earlier, glutamine is sexy. I’m glad I took some time to get better aquainted.