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If you are training for an athletic competition or embarking on a fitness program to lose weight and improve your health, supplement your diet with a tasteless amino acid called glutamine.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and it is critical for many body functions. It regulates cellular metabolism and the balance between the body's acid and base levels, which helps neutralize lactic acid. Glutamine is also the key building block of protein and muscles.
Glutamine levels fall after exhaustive exercise or periods of stress so supplementation is ideal for bodybuilders and athletes engaged in strenuous exercise. It's also beneficial for overall health as it aids in keeping immune and digestive systems healthy.
Perhaps the most exciting news for bodybuilders and those fighting the aging process is glutamine's effect on growth hormone. Growth hormone is one of the body's most anabolic (muscle building) hormones. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported a 430% increase in growth hormone after taking glutamine. In turn, growth hormone may promote greater muscle growth and the preferential use of the body-fat stores for energy.
A study at Louisiana State University Medical College gave 2 grams of glutamine to nine healthy athletes in the morning 45 minutes after a light breakfast. Blood levels of growth hormone rose 430% above initial levels 90 minutes after glutamine supplementation.
Glutamine is available in powder or capsule form. Other natural sources of glutamine include whey protein and meal replacement protein powders.