T Nation


Does anyone have any experience using glutamine as a supplement? I’ve read all sorts of contradictory advice in the magazines; some people advocate taking just a couple of grams on an empty stomach at night as a GH releaser while others seem to think that taking anything less than 30 grams a day is just a waste of time. I’ve also heard different things about different forms of this amino. Is one particular type of glutamine better than another? I find it interesting (although not surprising) that there is so much contradictory information despite the fact that this supplement is one of the most popular (judging by the variety of brands and shelf space). Any “real world” experience would be helpful.

The two main forms of glutamine are free form amino of
L-glutamine and glutamine peptides. The research makes it
look like pepetides a far superior to free form glutamine,
but my real world experience contradicts this. I consider
glutamine an essential supplement for me. I definitely
notice a difference if I don’t take it. But I don’t
notice a difference between the two forms. However, peptide
are far more expensive and they taste horrible. A lot
of people criticize the free form as being useless, but
I think it works just as well. As far as dosage I take 5
grams first thing in the morning, 5-10 grams before
training, 5 grams after training, and 5grams before bed.
Works for me.

Also, I forgot to mention that I don’t think oral glutamine
is very useful for GH release. And even to the degree it
does, I don’t think GH does a whole lot. Glutamine is good
for both health and bodybuilding for a number of other
reasons though.

I just submitted a glutamine review for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In my opinion, glutamine has greater use in endurance athletes than in bodybuilders. That is not to say that it has no use in bodybuilders. But no one is going to make dramatic gains on glutamine. It can be used, however, as a “specialty supplement” when you have a specific interest. 1) Glutamine does create a gh release (almost about 300%), but the research shows that it has to be taken in 2 gram doses and alone (not mixed in with meals). Also this was in older individuals with lower than normal gh. 2) Glutamine may increase glycogen synthesis without carbs if on a ketogenic diet, a large dose of glutamine (8grams+) may minimuze insulin release and increase skeletal muscle glycogen without having to take carbs. 3) Glutamine may help prevent immune assault in high volume training situations. Bottom line…glutamine may be a good supplement, but it is not a great one. With all the protein discussions out there, I think that with a high protein diet, glutamine may be sufficient from your foods.

Thanks for the info (again), John. I *do* take glutamine *between* meals and *not* *with* meals because I do think I absorb it better that way. I didn't say you would make great gains from glutamine ... I said I consider it important for *me*. Large quantities of most dairy protein powders typically tend to make me sick to my stomach so...

I notice that glutamine allows me to recover from training better, and therefore allows me to train with higher volume or greater frequency than I would without it - w/o overtraining. The greater volume or frequency (not both) allows me to grow more. I would not be able to train as frequently if I did not use glutamine. I also notice it makes my (sensitive) gut feel better, which helps me consume more calories.

Thanks a lot for the info. Do you guys know if glutamine has a cell volumizing effect like creatine does? A friend of mine claims to get a much more pronounced effect using glutamine than with creatine. I’m very interested in this supplement because I teach a martial arts class and I’m thinking of recommending it to my class. I already have them using an MRP, both fish and flax oil, a multi, and extra zinc. I’ll only recommend natural, nonhormonal supplements because I teach a wide variety of people with different fitness levels. I was selling creatine (and still use it myself) but some people complained of cramping, etc. Is glutamine a good replacement for creatine in terms of muscle cell volumizing (which I understand leads to increased protein synthesis)?

It may just be in my head but I find that when I take 5-7 g of Glutamine before bed I recover faster from my workouts. If you are consistant with it I’m sure that you’ll find it to be a worthwhile supplement.

Doug: I don’t think glutamine will work as effectively as
creatine in the same way as creatine. But I do think it
will do this to some extent, and will have many other
benefits aside from that. I think it would be especially
good for those people who can’t or won’t take creatine.
I personally don’t do all that well on creatine, but
glutamine works well for me.