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What Is Glutamine?

Amino acids, under various names, get a lot of attention. And for good reason. As you might remember from high school biology class, amino acids are widely – and correctly – known as the “building blocks of life.” Put simply, these small substances are used within your body to build every tissue that makes up your being. They even help control levels of certain hormones and impact a wide variety of biological systems.

Clearly, then, amino acids are important. Routinely, though, one amino acid – glutamine -tends to stand apart from the others. In fact, glutamine supplements are increasingly popular among athletes involved in any number of sports. But, why? What is glutamine?

The Basics

As mentioned, glutamine is an amino acid. As such, it is a compound that your body can tear down, restructure and repurpose to accomplish all sorts of things.

Glutamine is interesting, though, in that it’s “conditionally essential,” meaning that you only need to take in through your diet during certain situations. The rest of the time, your body has the building to make its own supply. We’ll talk more about when supplementation is necessary in a bit, though.

For now, it’s important to know that glutamine is packed away in your muscle tissue. Some is also stored – and made – in your lungs.

When You Need It

If your body is capable of making glutamine, though, why should you take a supplement?

As mentioned, glutamine is stored in your muscles. There, the amino acid plays a key role in transporting nitrogen and providing the fuel you need to stay moving. During prolonged exercise – especially of the cardiovascular variety – your amino acid levels drop.

At this point, it’s going to take your body a long time to replenish those dipping glutamine levels on its own. Supplementation, though, will give it you a boost.

Not only will that extra glutamine help restore your energy levels, but the improved movement of nitrogen is absolutely vital to proper workout recovery. So, a glutamine supplement after your workout will get your levels back to where they should be and make sure you’re ready for the next gym session.

What To Look For

Like most other supplements, glutamine is commonly bundled with lots of unnecessary – and potentially dangerous – additives. Avoid that.

Instead, opt for a glutamine powder like that offered by Naked Nutrition which contains only L-Glutamine. After all, why should your glutamine supplement have anything but glutamine?

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