Glutamine plays a very important role in the synthesis of muscle mass and is one of the most wanted amino acids for those who practice sports such as cycling, athletics, triathlons or swimming.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscles and blood plasma. It is a "non-essential" amino acid since it can be synthesized by the body from other amino acids such as Glutamic acid, Valine and Isoleucine. But Glutamine is also considered to be a "semi-essential" amino acid because it is synthesized only in the amounts necessary to physiological needs, but not when there are increased needs, for example, in physical exercise or increased immune needs.
It has a very important role in anabolism, that is, in the synthesis of muscle mass and is one of the amino acids most wanted by those who practice sports such as cycling, athletics, triathlons or swimming, due to its biochemical constitution - it has two nitrogen atoms, which promotes metabolic activities of the body and potentiates endurance training.
Glutamine has an added importance when it comes to minimizing catabolism. In sports such as Bodybuilding and Crossfit whose muscular work with weights is intense, or any other anaerobic exercise, a large amount of Glutamine in the blood is released. This causes a loss of muscular reserves that can be prolonged, even during a few days after the practice of physical exercise. Some studies show that Glutamine levels in the body can drop by up to 50% after intense training.
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Glutamine is present in virtually all animal products we eat. Among the main dietary sources of Glutamine are milk and dairy products, meats, dry fruits such as almonds and peanuts, soybeans and eggs.
However, we should consider Glutamine supplementation for the reduction of muscle fatigue and faster recovery between workouts or competitions.
The recommended daily dose ranges from 500mg to 15g, distributed throughout the day. The ideal is to take advantage of the windows of opportunity to take advantage of Glutamine, namely: the time before and after training, along with simple carbohydrates to maximize and accelerate the entry of Glutamine into muscle cells. This contributes to a faster recovery process. And even before bed and / or wake up, to minimize catabolism.
To conclude, Glutamine has been the target of several studies and, in addition to its activity at muscular level, it is also highlighted:
- recovery of lesions and wound healing;
- as antioxidant - is essential to metabolize glutathione, an enzymatic complex with antioxidant action and that protects the cells from the action of free radicals;
- in boosting the immune system - is the main fuel for lymphocytes and macrophages;
- in the fight against metabolic acidosis;
- at the intestinal level - Glutamine protects the intestinal mucosa and helps in the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the intestine.
By Joana Correia, Nutritionist