What is Glutamine
A naturally occurring amino acid that’s found in dietary protein. It’s considered an essential amino acid and makes up 2/3’s of the amino acids found in our body.. Glutamine can be found in abundance in dairy; whey and casein protein also contain high amounts of glutamine as part of the protein powder composition.
The Glutamine Claim: Glutamine helps build muscle and prevents DOMS/muscle soreness after training.
The Key Research
There is a wide body of research about Glutamine supplementation. The research uniformly refutes the general claims surrounding Glutamine as a muscle building enhancement
- Does not enhance weight lifting performance: Study finds oral infestation of glutamine has not been found to increase weight lifting performance([1. Antonio J, et al. The effects of high-dose glutamine ingestion on weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. (2002)])
- Does not increase strength when combined with weightlifting routine: Another study finds glutamine did not have any effect on increasing strength([2. Candow DG, et al. Effect of glutamine supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults. Eur J Appl Physiol. (2001)])
- May help preserve performance for endurance type exercise([3. Carvalho-Peixoto J, Alves RC, Cameron LC. Glutamine and carbohydrate supplements reduce ammonia increase during endurance field exercise. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. (2007)])
- Prevents muscle catabolism for people with muscle wasting diseases (AIDs for example), intestinal issues, or physical trauma.
Does not provide tangible benefits to strength or lean muscle when taken as a supplement for weight lifting. Thus the Glutamine claim is false — in all but a few special cases.
There has been a ton of research on the subject of Glutamine and pretty much every study on it has failed to show any more benefit glutamine has over a placebo. If you suffer from muscle trauma or a wasting disease like AIDS, Glutamine can be very effective at preventing muscle loss. But for healthy athletes, Glutamine provides no additional benefit.
There is a very good summary of the studies done in this older article that concludes Glutamine is pretty much worthless outside of a very narrow group:
- Trauma patients
- Endurance Athletes engaged in multi-day training sessions
- Bodybuilders coming off of steroids with low testosterone OR people engaged in low carb diets
This older article is pretty much supported by all the newer studies given in the Research section above.
SHOULD YOU SUPPLEMENT WITH GLUTAMINE?
Unless you are an athlete training multiple times a day, on a low carb, low calorie diet, or a burn victim or suffer from a muscle-wasting disease, skip on Glutamine as it’s a waste of your money.
SHOULD YOU SUPPLEMENT WITH GLUTAMINE FOR MUAY THAI?
if you’re a healthy individual with a regular diet, glutamine will do nill.
if you have AIDs, intestinal problems, have nearly been burned to death and are currently in a recovery ward, or have loads of money to blow.
There are anecdotal evidence that the supplement may help with muscle soreness, but there are no real studies that support this outside of bioscience and word of mouth. Some studies do suggest it could help endurance athletes who engage in multiple training sessions per day, but the research in this direction is generally thin. Glutamine is a lot of cost for what amounts to very little if any, benefits.