Glutamine is one of the most abundant free amino acids found in the human body. Deficiencies of glutamine can have severely damaging effects, causing muscle catabolism, or muscle waste and energy loss. Many bodybuilders and general athletes invest in taking one of the best glutamine supplements as they are an excellent way to support healthy muscles and workout recover, improve the immune system, and enhance the storage of glycogen.
What is L-Glutamine?
L-Glutamine, commonly referred to as just glutamine, is classified as a nonessential amino acid because the body can produce this organic compound on its own. Some of the most important functions of glutamine involve the synthesis of proteins, lipids, nitrogen, and glucose (which serves as energy for the body’s cells).
Glutamine supplements have often been used for medical purposes. For example, patients who have advanced stages of cancer or HIV/AIDS often experience glutamine deficiencies that cause muscle catabolism (waste); taking the best glutamine supplements, in this case, to help replenish patients with this vital amino acid to protect their muscles. Glutamine is also commonly used in cases where patients have experienced traumatic injuries, or they are recovering from surgery, as this compound is a primary transporter and producer of nitrogen, which is essential to the healing of wounds in the body. (source)
Why Use a Glutamine Supplement?
Although humans synthesize this amino acid naturally, we are still required to supplement our body’s glutamine levels in our diets. Some common dietary sources for L-Glutamine, include beef, chicken, pork, eggs, fish, dairy products, wheat, spinach, parsley, cabbage, and beans, among some other sources. However, supplement powders are also a rich source that can help your body quickly absorb this important amino acid during times of heavy exercise when you may not be getting enough glutamine from your basic diet.
L-Glutamine supplements have also been widely encouraged in the fitness community, due to their ability to support muscle growth and recovery, as well as boost your immune system. For athletes and body builders, taking a good glutamine supplement may be especially important as the body’s natural glutamine levels can drop in response to various factors, including stress, injury, and intense exercise.
Glutamine and Fitness
One study conducted by the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University monitored the effects of glutamine supplements in a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, crossover study, relating to both muscle strength and soreness rating following eccentric exercise. The study found that those taking L-Glutamine supplements showed greater relative peak torque and lower soreness levels post exercise. The study also indicated that men benefited more from the glutamine supplements than women, but more research is needed to show the deviation.
The 5 Best Glutamine Supplements
When it comes to the best glutamine supplements, there are several different brands to choose from; but we have compiled our top five favorites.
#5 MusclePharm Glutamine
This supplement offers a blend of L-Glutamine, Alanyl-l-glutamine, and glutamine peptides. This company won brand of the year in 2012 because of their excellent formula.
#4 Transparent Labs CoreSeries BCAA Glutamine
Marketed as a “repair and recovery” supplement, this product attempts to do just that, by offering 8,000 mg of BCAA’s and 5000 mg of glutamine per serving. In a study conducted by the Department of Surgical Science at the Karolinska Institutet, researchers showed that BCAAs activate vital enzymes for protein synthesis after strenuous exercise. Therefore, this combination is highly effective for muscle recovery.
#3 Now Foods Glutamine
This product seeks to help users improve their immune functions and enhance the transportation of nitrogen in the body. It offers 5000 mg of L-Glutamine in its free form and is non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free.
#2 Optimum Nutrition Glutamine
This affordable and potent glutamine powder can easily and conveniently be added to your protein shake, as it is flavorless, to help you replenish your glutamine levels during times of strenuous exercise.
#1 Kaged Muscle Glutamine
We rate this product as the best glutamine supplement because of its pure formula and third party testing. Unlike some other glutamine supplement brands that source their glutamine from human hair, duck feathers, and shellfish, Kaged Muscle uses fermented L-Glutamine which is a much cleaner and purer source of the amino acid.
The important thing to keep in mind with glutamine is that even though your body can naturally produce this amino acid, certain factors like strenuous exercise can cause a decrease in glutamine production, which could lead to a deficit. To support stronger muscles and quicker recovery, consider supplementing your diet with some L-Glutamine from our list of suggestions!