T Nation

L-Glutamine and BCAA


Quick question guys, I don't know how to supplement with L-Glutamine or BCAA's. When should I take them and how much of each. What's worked best for you?


Take 20-40 grams of bcaa (depending on bodyweight) during the workout. If this is too expensive, then fuck it. This is what Poliquin says on BCAA supplementation.

From what I hear, I think L glutamine is a waist of money.


Agree on the BCAA usage. I also take 10g pre and post workout.

If I'm on a low carb diet and not consuming carbs postworkout. I will have 30g glutamine post workout. Start at 15g and work you way up, some people have stomach issues starting out with high does of glutamine.


Actually...I think the Glutamine question about usefulness is changing. Some are saying it is a good thing...I believe laroyal wrote about it in one of his supplement posts'.


I've never heard anything bad about it myself.


BCAAs are awesome, but low doses wont work nothing. A "large" amout of peer-reviewed studies showing glutamine having no effect in muscle building nor muscle maintainence. Still, you cant conclude its all out useless because of that...???


It isnt "bad", but there are studies that show it has neglijable (spellin right?) effects in hypertrophy. The thing about glutamine is that it was helpful to maintain mass in burn victims... if you are far from a budget use it and see what you feel. If you are on a budget then stick with the protein powders and maybe Carbolin 19 and beta.

After all, hard work and nutrition overwork any supplement out there.


Absolutely no doubt about that.


Thib is always banging on about Peri workout aminos making a huge difference to work capacity and recovery.

20g of bcaa near the end of my workout has cut my soreness in half after heavy days.


For BCAAs I normally take 5g 5-6 times a day. Spacing it out over the course of the day makes more sense to me.
Personally, I think 10g pre, 40 g during, and 10 gs post is a bit excessive. But I may give it a try and see how I like it

As far as Glutamine, I think it is a waste during bulking. I like it during the cut thou, when you are trying to maintian muscle. Glutamine is very good for digestive system, specifically stomach. If you have a stomach ulcer, it will help get rid of it. I have also heard that glutamine has a very low absorbance % (down as low as only 30% absorbed). So I dont use it often, but I supplement with it when dieting to help keep on mass. Every little bit helps


Just started on the BCAA's myslef althoug I am not taking nearly as much as most people here but I do see a difference in recovery. I have been thinking about increasing.

The glutamine stuff I have read says it hasn't shown any improvements in mass gains or proetin synthesis, but there were a few studies that showed significant decrease in illness. I think it was a study done with marines that showed less visits to the infirmary and overall illness with a group supplementing with glutamine.
I don't think the proof is there yet for mass gains, but it does have other good points.


I was looking at adding some l-glutamine to my supplementation regime, but David J. Barr successfully convinced me otherwise.


and pt II.


I hope this is helpful!


Very good reads, thanks for the links, but what I gathered from that is when on the AD it's still a useful supplement?

edit ahh I missed ACTrain's reply the first time through the post.


On BCAA's I'd agree with everyone else in saying have a large amount during and or just after your workout. With L-glutamine a little known trick which works wonders for me is mix some into your before bed shake. it really helps in nighttime protein absorbtion. I've found it makes a huge difference to how sore I feel the next morning.


I feel that BCAA's and Glutamine are a waste, but not because they dont work.

From personal experience I can say they do work, but if your taking 50 grams of whey before you workout, and 50 grams after....

Your getting all the BCAA's and glutamine you can handle by a factor of 3.

Hell its safe to say alot of it is wasted.

Some guys like to sip on BCAA's during the workout, but all thats ever done for me is make my stomach full of liquid and make it harder to workout without getting queasy feeling, and make it harder to pound my PWO right when I finish.

Eventually I dropped BCAA's all together, I just use whey and creatine.


I recently added about 10-15 grams of glutamine post workout, and it did cut DOMS


Thanks for the references! That provides some perspectives and surely suggests at the least that supplying glutamine the way they did is not helpful.

I haven't had the opportunity to read the articles themselves though. And so I don't know how they supplied the glutamine.

Myself, if working out for 2 hours, along with 10 grams glutamine I take 46 g glucose and about 15 g BCAA's (and Power Drive and Spike Shooter and other things; preworkout 3 scoops of Surge with another 46 g glucose and about 7.5 g BCAA's, and other things; ditto at the 1 hour point; and post-workout 40 g protein with about 90 g complex carbs, about 15 g BCAA's, 10 g glutamine, and other things.

Now it's true that the cells of the GI tract love to use glutamine as a fuel themselves, rather than transport it to the bloodstream.

And that may be what happened in those studies.

My thought is that after just already recently having had 10 g of glutamine and about 228 g carbs most of which was glucose, by the time of the post-workout shake the cells of the GI tract may be pretty well sated, really unable to utilize any more energy substrates and thus perhaps passing the glutamine on.

If the protocol in the studies did not "overfeed" the GI tract to the extent that this protocol does, the failure they experienced may not apply to protocols that do provide massive energy intake along with the glutamine as well as an earlier recent glutamine priming.


Bill, very interesting post. I am a professional athlete and go to an endocrinologist about once every 6 months. He monitors all the supplements I take. In his opinion massive dosing of glutamine ( compared to the average person) will prove to be anti-performance enhancing because of an adverse effect on reaction times.

He also has stopped me from taking whey protein because he says the ingredient soy lecithin taken in high amounts (i.e. shake 4-5 shakes a day) can lead to decreased testosterone and DHT levels.

Do you believe this information is accurate?


I don't know what his reasoning is on the glutamine. Maybe he does have a basis; it's impossible for me to say for a fact he doesn't.

On the lecithin, I'd never heard that one either (other than as an ignorant statement) -- it sounds as if it could be an erroneous extrapolation of thinking this effect of soy applies to soy lecithin, or it could be that he has a basis. Again, impossible to tell. I certainly wouldn't know what his basis is, if there is an valid one.

It's also impossible to for me to tell if he's one of those doctors that thinks he knows about nutrition and gives advice as if he knows what he's talking about when clueless as a dead possum, or if he's one of those doctors who really has learned his stuff in that area.

So whether to give him the benefit of the doubt when totally lacking any explanation of why he says these things, or to give it no more credibility than if a teenage dropout at the gym said it, which is about what the usual doctor's advice on nutrition is worth: I just can't tell.


Alot of negative feedback and opinions on supplemental glutamine intake use this fact as rationale why it's a waste of time to consume it. Thankyou Bill for reminding many of that fact.

My simple question is why? How could "feeding" our GI tract cells what they want be bad? Our GI does alot of things for all of us; it works pretty hard for those eating like they should to make positive gains in size and strength. Just like how we try to consume more supplemental protein for lean muscle tissue growth, we really should also be taking in extra supplemental glutamine for the health and optimal performance of our GI tract. And for me, that includes probiotic substances to aid digestion.