Is Consuming Glutamine Before Bed a Good Idea?

Benefits of Glutamine

Glutamine (also sometimes called l-glutamine), is an important amino acid that functions as a building block for proteins. While it’s not one of the nine essential amino acids, it has plenty of its own benefits.

It is considered a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning the body is typically able to produce it on its own, but there are times when the glutamine needs are larger than what your body is able to produce. Glutamine needs increase during times of increased stress, illness, injury, or intense physical activity. During these times you need additional glutamine from a dietary source to support the increased needs.

Adding glutamine to your diet if you are sick, overly stressed, or training for an athletic event is highly recommended. It is one of the best ways to boost your immune system and optimize your intestinal health during this physically demanding period.

If you do decide to add this amino acid to your routine, when is the best time to take glutamine? Right before you go to sleep! Taking L-glutamine before bed is one of the best ways to obtain the MAXIMUM benefits from the supplement! Why is this?

When to Take Glutamine

According to one study, glutamine helps increase the synthesis of protein in your body, thereby providing your muscles with the nutrients they need to produce new muscle fibers.[1] This allows your muscles to grow and get stronger while you are sleeping and one of the major benefits of glutamine before bed.

Additionally, it can potentially slow the breakdown of muscle in your body and help to speed up your metabolism. This slight increase in metabolism and muscle mass that happens with the addition of glutamine, may help you increase lean body mass, tone up, and lose weight.

Another one of the benefits of glutamine before bed is that it is a good way to raise your body’s natural growth hormones. Those hormones don’t just cause you to grow taller, they also cause your body to send more nutrients to your muscles.

Raising your levels of growth hormones during the night will help increase your muscle mass naturally, all while helping you recover from injury or illness. Optimal levels of growth hormone are particularly important during weight loss, injury recovery and athletic training.

According to one study on glutamine research, a single 2-gram dose may increase short-term levels of human growth hormone up to 78%.[2] As you can see, regardless of your health status, the benefits of glutamine before bed can be vast and plentiful, especially if you are looking to build muscle and burn fat.

While we are big fans of taking L-glutamine before bed, that isn’t the only time that it can provide a benefit. The best time for you to take glutamine may still vary depending on your schedule and activity level.

Other beneficial times to take glutamine may include:

  • When first waking up. Your body has been without protein for 8 or more hours, so having an early morning glutamine supplement in addition to your breakfast can nourish your muscles at the beginning of the day.
  • Half an hour after working out. This gives your muscles the boost they need to repair themselves after a tough workout, which can speed up the recovery process.

As you can see the best time to take glutamine may vary on your goals, schedule, and preferences. So while we love it before bed, you should take it when it works best for you.

Who Should Take Glutamine?

There are many people who will benefit from taking this supplement, but athletes and bodybuilders are the ones who benefit from it the most. Here are a few reasons you should consider glutamine, regardless of your lifestyle or activity levels:

  • It prevents muscle cell catabolism (breakdown) after a workout. Pushing yourself hard during a strenuous workout can lead to muscle cell breakdown and dehydration. Glutamine helps prevent dehydration and reduces the instance of muscle cell breakdown, which is commonplace when your body is starved for water. Additionally, research has shown that glutamine supplements may decrease muscle soreness and improve recovery after intense exercise.[3]
  • It boosts your immune system. If you want to have a healthy immune system, taking glutamine is a great way to support it. Studies have shown that glutamine supplementation can boost the immune function of athletes.[4] Athletes are particularly prone to respiratory illnesses due to the intensity of their training schedule. You know getting sick can set you back a week or more! Imagine being able to train harder with fewer colds, viral infections or the flu allowing you to maintain your focus and your training regimen.
  • It enhances brain function. Using your brain at work all day to solve tough problems? Try glutamine, which can boost the levels of neurochemicals that send messages through your brain. This will allow you to relax and recover and can even help your brain work more efficiently.
  • Glutamine supplementation can play a role in supporting your intestinal health. Glutamine is an important energy source for intestinal and immune cells. Glutamine supplementation can benefit your overall immune health by supporting the intestinal cells which prevent harmful bacteria and toxins from entering your circulatory system to cause damage.

Branched Chain Amino Acids and Glutamine

As an athlete you may have heard that branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential for muscle growth. How do these work hand in hand with glutamine?

While glutamine is not considered an essential amino acid, the branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine are. These three important players comprise 35% of your muscle protein. They help to preserve muscle energy stores and reduce the amount of protein breakdown during exercise or illness. Taking BCAAs and glutamine together before bed can support your immune system and fitness goals even further, by optimizing the effect of the amino acids on your muscles.

The benefits of taking BCAA and glutamine before bed include a quicker muscle recovery time, the promotion of increased growth hormone, and can even lower stress hormones like cortisol.

How to Find Glutamine in Foods and Supplements

Taking glutamine in supplement form is a great way to boost your glutamine intake. Check out our tasty recipes for Veggie Stew and Cabbage Pastry that use Glut Immune, our glutamine supplement. (links)

Note that Glut Immune is made from red wheat berries, therefore is not gluten free. Those that are sensitive to gluten or have Celiac’s disease should avoid this product.

If you choose to take a glutamine supplement, you should take anywhere between 5 and 40 grams per day. About 5 to 10 grams per day is ideal for those who are taking the supplement for the first time, and you can slowly increase your intake as your body demands.

You’ll want to take it on an empty stomach, as the amino acid is sensitive to the acids in your stomach as well as to the heat released by digestion. Take 5 to 10-gram doses at a time, and you’ll give your body the amino acids it needs.

If you’re looking for a glutamine supplement that is:

  • absorbed FAR faster than most powders
  • enhances your digestion
  • all natural

Look no further than Well Wisdom’s Glut Immune! And remember the benefits of pairing glutamine and BCAAs in your night time routine.

Taking glutamine supplements is not the only way to get more of this important nutrient. Glutamine is naturally found in a variety of healthy, natural foods. Foods that contain glutamine include:

  • Skim milk
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Raw Spinach
  • White rice
  • Corn

Since glutamine is a necessary part of proteins, essentially any food containing protein will contain some glutamine. Focusing on getting adequate protein in your diet is a simple and easy way to increase your overall glutamine intake.

 

 

References:

[1] Smith RJ. Glutamine metabolism and its physiologic importance. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1990;14(4 Suppl):40S – 44S. https://aspenjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1177/014860719001400402

[2] Welbourne TC. Increased plasma bicarbonate and growth hormone after an oral glutamine load. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;61(5):1058-1061. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7733028/

[3] Legault Z, Bagnall N, Kimmerly DS. The Influence of Oral L-Glutamine Supplementation on Muscle Strength Recovery and Soreness Following Unilateral Knee Extension Eccentric Exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2015;25(5):417-426. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25811544/

[4] Song Q-H, Xu R-M, Zhang Q-H, et al. Glutamine supplementation and immune function during heavy load training. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2015;53(5):372-376. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25740264/

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Jaime Rangel, RD

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