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Glutamine
(Glutapure: Ultimate Nutrition)

Supplements Descriptions

by Gary F. Zeolla

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle cells. It is considered a semi-essential amino acid. What this means is, the human body can manufacture glutamine from other amino acids. However, during times of intense physical stress, like during periods of heavy training or due to various medical conditions like widespread burns or surgery, the body cannot keep up with sufficient production, so an outside source is needed.

Many powerlifters, bodybuilders, and other athletes have found benefit from supplementing with glutamine. Some of the reported benefits included improved recovery, a reduction of  post-workout soreness, an increase of human growth hormone (HGH) levels, a decrease in cortisol levels, and a decrease in exercise-induced colds and flu.

There are many brands of glutamine available, but I prefer Ultimate Nutrition's Glutapure for two main reasons. First, it is micronized. This means the particles are smaller than most brands of glutamine, so it mixes up in even cold water easily, with no clumping whatsoever. I would assume it is also absorbed more easily in the body. Second, UN Glutapure's is guaranteed 100% glutamine. This is important as some glutamine brands contain fillers or are contaminated with unwanted elements.

The label states:

Glutapure is produced exclusively for Ultimate Nutrition, Inc. utilizing patented state-of-the art Fermapure Technology. This innovative fermentation process produces the highest quality, micronized L-Glutamine available in the world today. Only Glutapure exceeds FCC, USP and Pharmaceutical Quality Standards. Ultimate Nutrition's Glutapure is pure white in color and bland in taste and smell. This is the purist of all L-glutamines.

Having experimented with glutamine on and off for several years, I can say that without a doubt it has a positive effect. When using glutamine, the most immediate effect I notice is less post-workout soreness, more specifically, a reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). More long-term, by comparing my workout logs with my supplement logs, it is apparent I make better progress in my powerlifting training while I am using glutamine. Therefore, it is a supplement I intend on using indefinitely in some fashion or another.

There are two ways to use glutamine. One way is to mix it in when one mixes up a protein drink or pre- or post-workout drink. However, some feel it is best to take glutamine on an empty stomach. In this case, mix the glutamine in a glass of water. The solution should be drunk at least two hours after a meal and half an hour before a meal.

I've tried it both ways, and I have found that by taking it on an empty stomach, I get a greater effect. The book Sports Nutrition by Anita Bean recommends taking post-workout 100 mg of glutamine per kilogram of bodyweight. I weigh about 54 kg, so that would be 5.4 grams. For those used to pounds, a simpler way of calculating the dosage would be one gram of glutamine per 20 pounds of bodyweight. I weigh about 120 pounds, so for me, it comes to six grams, just slightly higher than the above method.

Specifically, I will consume a snack about an hour pre-workout, with creatine. Then after my workout, I will take the 6 grams of glutamine with a glass of water, shower, then eat dinner. In this way, I am taking the glutamine on an empty stomach, but I am still consuming nutrients within an hour of finishing lifting. That pattern seems to be working well.

June 22, 2014 Update

The above was written several years ago. After that time, due to health problems, I was no longer able to work out at a high intensity, so post-workout soreness was no longer a problem. As such, I stopped taking glutamine as I felt I no longer needed it. My health and lifting continued to decline, but I have no idea if not taking glutamine contributed to the decline or not.

But then at the end of 2013 things began to turn around, and I was able to gradually increase the intensity of my workouts. With doing so, I thought glutamine might be of benefit again, as post-workout soreness was becoming a problem, so I tried it. But strangely, it made me very drowsy. This hadn't happened before with glutamine, but now it was very pronounced. I work out in the late afternoons, and I was falling asleep watching TV in the evenings. I slept very well, but would still be drowsy the next morning. After a couple of weeks, I was drowsy all day long, so I stopped the glutamine, and the drowsiness cleared up.

With this problem, I stopped taking the glutamine. But no great loss, as my training is still going well, although I'm still having a problem with soreness. But still, in a way, this is a relief, as glutamine is somewhat expensive. Moreover, it never made sense to me to supplement with it. I get plenty of glutamine in my diet, as I consume plenty of protein, over a gram per pound of bodyweight. Glutamine is contained in just about any protein food, but especially in whey protein, which I use one to two servings of per day.

It is for these reasons that I downgraded the rating from 5 to 4 stars. But I left it at 4 given my past positive experiences and those of other lifters.

July 12, 2014 Update

After the above update was written, the post-workout soreness became more pronounced as I continued to train harder and heavier. DOMS was especially becoming problematic the morning after a hard deadlift workout, so I figured it would be worth trying the glutamine again. I was thinking the reason for the drowsiness I mention above was due to the glutamine I tried at that time being very old. It was the same container I had been using when I stopped lifting heavy a couple of years before. Also, I took the full indicated dose, rather than gradually adjusting to it.

Consequently, I purchased a new kilo of glutamine and only took half of the above dose. I was a little drowsy the first couple of times I took it, but that was it. I haven’t experienced the drowsiness since then. But what I have noticed is a significant reduction in DOMS, including the morning after a heavy deadlift workout. As such, I will probably continue to take glutamine indefinitely, and I might even gradually increase the dosage if the DOMS becomes problematic again.

For this reason I raised the rating up to four and half stars. I’m reluctant to give it a full five stars, as it still does not make sense to me that I need to supplement with glutamine, as I get plenty of the amino acid in my diet. But maybe taking it by itself on an empty stomach immediately post-workout is the reason for the benefit.

November 11, 2014 Update

I have continued to take the glutamine, and my workouts have continued to go very well. I gradually increased the dosage to the full 6 grams, or 1g/ 20 pounds bodyweight. I have not experienced any drowsiness, so maybe that was due to the glutamine I initially tried being so old or due to taking the full dosage initially rather than working up to it. But whatever the case, DOMS has not been a problem, except for when I did an "An Experiment on Protein Intake" as discussed at Natural Whey and Natural Casein. Given that, it is probably a combination of supplementing with glutamine in the manner described and my high protein intake, including whey protein, that provides the benefits. But that does mean the glutamine is beneficial even with a high protein and whey protein intake. Therefore, I am giving it five stars once again as being a very worthwhile supplement.

June 15, 2017 Update

I have been supplementing with glutamine for three more years, and my training has been going very well. I have been making slow but steady progress in all of my lifts, and that without significant post-workout soreness. That is significant, as I am now in my mid-50s. Most men my age are struggling to just maintain muscular strength, while I am increasing it. Whether this has anything to do with the glutamine, I cannot say. But given that it is not causing me any negative side effects and that it is not that expensive, I see no reason to stop it. "If it's not broken, don't fix it."


Ultimate Nutrition's Glutapure is available at Amazon.

Glutamine - Supplement Descriptions. Copyright 2004-2017 by Gary F. Zeolla.


The above article was posted on this site May 7, 2004.
The Updates were added as indicated.

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