Your body needs glutamic acid in order to manufacture glutamine. Glutamine is a non-essential fatty acid, which means that the body can make fresh supplies of glutamine when it does not have enough.
However, in order to synthesize glutamine, glutamic acid is needed, which is then combined with ammonia to make glutamine.
Glutamic acid and glutamine are of particular interest to athletes, and especially bodybuilders, because glutamine is involved in the regeneration of damaged cells and the recovery of the body following periods of intensive exertion, such as following a workout.
There is also evidence that glutamine has a cell volumizing effect, making muscle cells bigger and therefore stronger, since muscle strength is greatly dependent on muscle size.
To give you an idea about how crucial glutamine is to the proper functioning of the muscles, around two-thirds of the amino acids found in skeletal muscle are of a type called L-glutamine.
L-glutamine is involved in supporting protein metabolism, which is a key area for athletes and bodybuilders.
During a workout, the muscles are worked hard and put under stress, damaging them slightly and creating what is known as microtrauma.
The body responds to this microtrauma by repairing the damaged muscle, but this time making it bigger and stronger than before (because obviously if it was damaged this time, it was not big enough!).
However, the body cannot build new lean muscle tissue without protein. And it cannot create new protein without glutamine.
Glutamic acid and its effectiveness
Glutamic acid and glutamine supplements have been shown to improve both the intensity of an athlete’s workout, that is to say increase the weight they can lift, distance they can run, or speed they can achieve, to speed recovery times following a workout, and to increase the muscle gain as a result of working out.
Glutamine supports every aspect of training, so your body needs a good supply of it.
Herein lies the problem.
Though our diets are not completely deficient in glutamic acid and glutamine, intensive training uses so much of it, up to 50% of available sources in some cases that our muscle tissue can find itself short at the time when it most needs glutamine to help build new muscle.
During exercise, and in the case of injury, the body consumes glutamine, which breaks down to release energy.
Obviously if half of the glutamine stores in the muscles are depleted during exercise, there will not be enough left over to properly support the next stage of the process – the synthesis if new muscle tissue.
Why you should take it?
If a training session is particularly intensive, or your body’s glutamine levels especially low, it can create a catabolic state in the muscles, which is exactly backwards to what you want.
During a catabolic state, muscle tissue is actually broken down in order to supply the body with energy.
This is a bad thing! Supplementing with glutamic acid and glutamine before, during, and after a working helps prevent this catabolic disaster, and ensure a constant healthy supply of glutamine, helping to make sure that you are getting the maximum benefit from your workout, in terms of experience and results.
Glutamic acid was first ‘discovered’ in terms of its substantial recovery benefits when doctors in emergency trauma departments found that damage to tissue caused substantially reduced immune system function, because there was not enough glutamine in the system to cover the extensive repair that thousands upon thousands of cells all needed at once.
They found that supplementing injured patients with glutamine helped to reduce this immune system hit, and improve the recovery times of their patients.
Glutamic acid helps to replenish the body’s stores of glycogen, which accounts for a significant proportion of muscle size. Ensuring a constant supply of glutamine then will allow the muscles to develop as large as possible.
Muscle size and cross-section is directly related to muscle strength, therefore supplementing with glutamic acid as part of a training program really will make you stronger.
Additionally, some studies have linked glutamic acid supplementation with an increase in levels of human growth hormone, or HGH.
HGH may be responsible for the development of bigger, stronger muscles, as well as being a natural mood elevator. This is to say that it makes you feel good.
Glutamic acid as a supplement is available in a variety of different forms, from capsules and powder (often added to some kind of meal replacement shake), to liquid supplements.
Glutamine is also a component of many comprehensive workout formulas, which may also include amino acids and proteins, as well as creatine.
The recommended daily amount of glutamic acid will vary according to your body type and activity level, but most athletes take between five and twenty grams daily, often spread throughout the day for maximum efficiency.
The best time to take glutamic acid is right after a training session, and before going to bed, as your body carries out most of its regenerative processes while you are sleeping.
As well as athletes and bodybuilders, glutamic acid supplementation can also be beneficial to people who have suffered a serious injury or illness, and are in a period of recovery, since maintaining a good glutamine supply helps boost the immune system and speed tissue regeneration times.