If you are looking for glutamine supplementation to help reach your fitness goals you may notice that some are labeled glutamine and others are labeled l-glutamine.
In theory they are different.
However, when it comes to glutamine supplements, they are the same whether or not there is an L in front of glutamine.
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Glutamine is an important amino acid in the body and although additional supplementation of it is not necessary, many athletes and others concerned about their health will supplement their diet with additional sources of glutamine.
The following will discuss how glutamine and l-glutamine can benefit you.
What does the “L” in L-glutamine signify?
Many molecules exist in two different forms in the body. They are mirror images and not identical to each other, kind of like your right hand and your left hand. Most living things have these mirror image molecules and glutamine is one of these, as are 18 of the other 19 amino acids in the body.
The “l” in l-glutamine stands for levo, or left. For its mirror image, it is referred to d-glutamine, with the “d” standing for dextro, or right. Although glutamine exists in a particular ratio of each right and left in your body, l-glutamine is the one that is of most use in your body.
Although not every supplement or ingredient is listed as l-glutamine, you can be assured that it is always 100% l-glutamine.
Who should take glutamine?
Glutamine is a hugely popular supplement among body builders and athletes who train intensely. The reason for this is because intense exercise can rapidly deplete the amount of glutamine in the muscles. This leads to exhaustion and can start to break the muscles down.
Athletes will often supplement with glutamine because it will quickly replace the glutamine that has been depleted. This, in turn, will help to speed recovery after a workout as well as prevent you from losing muscle. For those athletes who are also concerned with losing weight, glutamine can help because along with preventing muscle loss it may also encourage fat loss.
Glutamine supplementation can also benefit you if you suffer from a weak immune system or fighting off an infection or an illness. Glutamine has been shown to improve the function of your immune system so it is good to take when you are going through a period of decreased health. Glutamine seems especially beneficial for those who have issues with their stomach or intestines, as well as for people with cancer.
Are there any side effects from taking glutamine?
Glutamine is a substance that is produced naturally by the body so there are very few side effects. If you take huge, massive doses, you may notice certain side effects such as an upset stomach. Long term effects of large doses of glutamine are not very well known.
If you are breast feeding or pregnant you should consult your health care professional before taking glutamine as not enough is known about the side effects during this time. If you have severe liver disease that is accompanied by confusion or difficulty thinking, do not take glutamine supplements as they could make this worse.
If you are sensitive to MSG, or monosodium glutamate, you may notice sensitivity to glutamine as well because once in the body, glutamine is converted to glutamate.
If you have certain mental disorders, such as mania, you should stay away from glutamine, as it could make it worse. There is also the possibility that people with seizures will notice an increase in seizure activity with the use of glutamine.
Certain medications can also interact negatively with glutamine. Medications such as anticonvulsants, chemotherapy treatments, and lactulose may all have a decreased effectiveness when taken with glutamine. Always check with your doctor if you are taking any medication, including herbal pills.
For more information about side effects and interactions, check out the WebMD website.
How much glutamine should I supplement with?
Because glutamine is considered a dietary supplement, there is no set standard amount that is recommended to take on a daily basis. Depending on your health condition and activity level, your dose level may vary from 4 grams to 40 grams daily.
Talk with your physician to decide how much you should supplement with, if any, and to monitor your results.