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Glutamine is one of the key products in the ViGO range. It is useful in maintaining immune and intestinal function during prolonged endurance exercise. However, it is not a reliable “muscle builder” or “recovery agent“, although most supplement companies make this claim about their Glutamine product. In this post we look a bit more into this topic. 

What is Glutamine NOT good for?

Glutamine is effective in critically ill populations to attenuate muscle tissue breakdown (catabolism). This has prompted researchers to study Glutamine under heavy exercise. However, the researchers didn’t find anything positive on the body composition of the study subjects (Ref). 

Research on exercise recovery and muscle soreness has been relatively scarce. Some studies report positive effects on these parameters when glutamine is administered (doses of 0.3g/ kg bodyweight).

In these studies, glutamine was compared to a placebo. It would have been interesting if glutamine was compared to a whole protein (e.g. whey or solid food protein). 

In spite of the lack of evidence, companies still market Glutamine as a muscle building, recovery and anti-soreness agent.

This kind of marketing isn’t based on good science because there are better options than Glutamine for recovery. 

Our protein recommendations for post-exercise recovery:

  • Emphasize whole protein intake (e.g. solid food proteins or a whey protein shake) as this provides the full spectrum of amino acids. 
  • Isolated amino acids like BCAAs and Glutamine aren’t the best option, although they are helpful in other situations. 

What is Glutamine GOOD for?

Glutamine is very good when it comes to gut and immune system health. That’s why our marketing of ViGO Elements Nutrition Glutamine is based on these two functions. 

Glutamine & Immune health.  

Glutamine known to be the main energy source of immune cells called leucocytes. Glutamine contributes to the proliferation of these cells.

During prolonged endurance exercise, lasting more than 2 hours, blood glutamine levels are decreased. This decline can do the following:

  • Negatively impact immune cell function.
  • Suppress the release of interleukin-6 (IL-6) from exercising muscle. IL-6 is a bio-molecule that coordinates immune function, among numerous other responses. Exercising muscles is an important source of IL-6.
  • Increase the risk of infection (Ref)

Glutamine & Gut health.  

Prolonged endurance exercise can cause something called a “leaky gut”. The latter is a condition that is caused by heat stress and reduced blood flow to the intestinal tract. This causes damage to the intestinal cells which can allow the absorption of substances that are not supposed to pass through this barrier. Glutamine intake is able to counter this. 

Glutamine Prescription

  • During prolonged endurance exercise lasting more than 2 hours: approx. 5g during training. Add to water or to a sports drink like ViGO SportLine Ultra. 
  • During intense endurance training phases: 5g/ daily in addition to an adequate macronutrient intake. 
  • As a daily gut health supplement: 3-5g/ daily

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