Everyone wants better digestion, a higher metabolism and energy packed workouts right? Well this amino acid is touted as the big daddy of supplements in the fitness industry, but what exactly are the benefits and can you get enough from food? Let’s talk about it: L-glutamine
L-glutamine is an amino acid that is found in quite large quantities in our bloodstream and our body uses it in large amounts for different purposes. Many body builders and fitness fanatics use it as a powder form in order to have a quick recovery and healthy muscle growth, but some wonder why use it as a supplement when it’s already found in our system?
Well according to this source, doing one hour of physical activity can reduce your glutamine levels by up to 40 percent. When we work out, we are putting stresses on our body and muscles. By including this amino acid in our diet (or even in supplement form, depending on your level of exercise), you can recover and reduce stress from working out.
Why do people take L-glutamine?
Many L-glutamine supplement brands claim that taking this amino acid in powder form will help you burn fat at a faster rate, build more muscle, and lose weight quickly. Besides that, there are additional benefits that aren’t just about getting puffier biceps.
The Nitty Gritty Of L-Glutamine Benefits:
- Promotes brain health: Glutamine is also found in large quantities in the central nervous system. It is a precursor for specific neurotransmitter amino acids that keep our brain in tip top shape. This includes memory, and according to WebMD, even our mood and anxiety levels.
- Promotes muscle health and recovery: One source I found stated that this amino acid helps keep your muscles hydrated which helps you recover and heal at a faster rate.
- Increases athletic performance: Glutamine is said to help boost our immunity which may help when we are training harder than usual (aka marathon trainers, or body builders). If you’re working out only moderately, you don’t have to worry about this. It also provides fuel in the form of nitrogen and carbon to the cells in our body.
- Helps with digestion and gut health: When we eat junk or we get backed up, a lot of times it’s because food starts to ferment in our intestines which causes bloating and gas. Our intestines are always working to get food moving through our system, and studies show that L-glutamine helps our intestines repair. Another study showed that L-glutamine helped balance mucus levels in our gut which helps alleviate irritations.
Of course though – you MUST be careful when adding specific nutrients into your diet. There can always be too much of a good thing, and I want to direct you to this article on Dr. Mercola’s site that discusses all of the potential side effects of glutamine. So whenever you’re thinking of taking a new supplement or vitamin, always ALWAYS consult your physician first.
L-Glutamine Food Sources:
This amino acid is found in both plant-based and animal proteins – so if you’re a chick, you may not need to go to GNC and buy a big powder tin with Arnold Shwarzenager on it. L-glutamine can be found in: beans, spinach, red cabbage, spirulina, soybeans, beets, brussels sprouts, wheat germ, oats, brown rice, broccoli raab, asparagus and nuts like walnuts, pistachios and almonds. It’s also important to note that you do not need to include large amounts in your diet – between 2-5 grams a day is enough.
A quick and easy recipe with ingredients that contain L-Glutamine – Vegan Cream of Asparagus Soup
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 shallot diced
- 3 cups of vegetable stock
- 3 cloves of garlic diced
- 1/3 head of cauliflower chopped
- 1 can of light coconut milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp 21 seasoning salute or other seasoning blend of choice
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup of nutritional yeast
- pinch of salt and pepper
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Chop and rinse the asparagus
- In a big pot, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook the garlic and shallot for about 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and asparagus and bring to a simmer.
- Chop the cauliflower and add it to the pot along with the can of coconut milk, bay leaves, and remaining seasonings.
- Let simmer for about 20 minutes, then transfer about 1/2 of the contents in the pot to a food processor. Blend the ingredients until creamy, then add 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast and a few squeezes of the lemon. Transfer the contents in the food processor to a tin or bowl.
- Repeat with the remaining soup ingredients, and serve!
Remember, this article is for entertainment and educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any ailments. All new supplementation or dietary changes should be monitored by your physician.