Posted on: April 18th, 2023

Glutamine supplementation has recently become a sports nutrition trend. Adding glutamine supplements to a sports nutrition routine is thought to help with high-intensity athletic activities.

Glutamine is predominantly used as an anti-fatiguing agent in sports nutrition. Several recent trends have shown glutamine supplementation being used to enhance overall physical performance. Is there merit in studying glutamine supplementation for multiple applications? The answer is yes, but let’s take a look at some details.

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is an amino acid that is found in high concentrations in the muscles and blood. It is considered a non-essential amino acid, which means that the body can produce it on its own, although it can also be obtained from dietary sources such as meat, fish, and dairy products.

Glutamine plays a variety of roles in the body, including supporting immune function, maintaining gut health, and aiding in the production of energy during exercise. It is also needed for protein synthesis and is a building block for other important molecules in the body, such as glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant.

During periods of intense physical activity or stress, the body’s demand for glutamine may increase, and it may become a conditionally essential amino acid. Some athletes and bodybuilders may choose to supplement with glutamine to help support their training and recovery. 

Evidence supporting the use of glutamine supplements in this context, however, is mixed and more research is needed to fully understand its effects.

Glutamine & Fatigue

The ‘energy’ that may be granted from glutamine supplementation has been linked to helping with fatigue. Many sports nutrition practitioners recommend glutamine as an anti-fatiguing agent.

During intense physical activity, the body’s demand for glutamine may increase, and it may become a conditionally essential amino acid. Glutamine is also involved in the production of energy. Some recent studies have linked glutamine to reduced fatigue and improved endurance in athletes.

Additionally, glutamine has been suggested to play a role in reducing fatigue associated with various medical conditions, such as cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of glutamine supplementation on fatigue in these populations.

Glutamine may have potential benefits for fighting fatigue, but more research is needed to fully understand its effects. Determining the optimal dosages and timing of supplementation is an area of study that desperately needs more research.

Future Applications of Glutamine

There are many potential applications of glutamine supplementation currently being researched. A recent joint study funded by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation listed 6 important findings:

  1. Glutamine supplementation seems to increase muscle glycogen synthesis and reduce ammonia accumulation induced by exercise, especially when administered for long-term periods. A demonstration of the greater effect of glutamine in comparison to supplements containing carbohydrates or creatine monohydrates is needed.
  2. Glutamine supplements may help indicate markers of muscle damage, such as blood CK and LDH levels.
  3. While research has shown enhancement in regards to being an anti-fatiguing agent, glutamine supplementation seems to have limited effects on overall physical performance.
  4. Supplements containing glutamine may present ergogenic effects, but many studies have been done on supplements with other nutrients combined with glutamine.  More studies assessing glutamine alone are needed. .
  5. Glutamine supplementation may help increase overall glutamine availability. Due to its high stability, it may be a suitable option to be included in commercial products. 

Glutamine supplementation has shown many potential benefits but more research needs to be conducted. While its use as an anti-fatiguing agent shows merit, using glutamine to enhance general physical performance needs more research. 

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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