Since Arnold states that he came to
the epiphany that pain was actually good, and considering the fact that
most starting athletics translate it as bad, it is safe to assume that his
original antecedent was that pain was dreadful. However, a changed
occurred in his thought process. Let’s take a look at Arnold’s ABC.
Antecedent: Pain is Pleasurable. This came about by his results in growth.
Behavior: Destroying himself in the gym.
Consequence: 7 time Mr. Olympia!
And this, friends, is one of the most logical and effective thought
processes you can use. Almost every situation can be analyzed using ABC.
Let’s look at another example of ABC.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that
the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not
condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath
not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is
the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved
darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every
one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest
his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the
light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Now, let’s analyze the heathens’ thought processes according the Word of
the Living God:
Antecedent: They hate God (or the light, refer to John 1:4-9) because of
their sinful lifestyle.
Behavior: Fulfilling the lust of the flesh.
Consequence: Short-term positive: enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season
(Hebrews 11:25). Short-term negative: without hope, empty soul, all labor
is vanity (Ephesians 2:12, Psalms 127:1). Long-term positive: nothing.
Long-term negative: eternal damnation and separation from God almighty
Why one would choose such a path is against all logic.
Finally, this mindset can be applied to nutrition. The athlete’s
antecedent needs to be, “nutrition is vital to my success.” We’ll propose
that this realization came by reading JHR. The athlete’s behavior will be
in accordance with this frame of mind, and the results, in combination
with the weight room, among other factors, will be insane growth!
Training is vital to our success, but without proper nutrition, it will
accomplish absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, it will hurt you,
leading to an impaired immune system, over training, and such like side
effects. This is why JHR stresses proper post-exercise nutrition. No other
time in the day is more vital in your diet. As my fellow JHR writer once
said referring to a post-workout shake, “Not spiking is like letting an
open wound bleed for a few hours before doing something about it.” And
with your newfound knowledge, I am sure you can analyze the ABC of this
Now, let’s move on to one of the most vital components in proper
The word “amino acid” is synonymous with anabolism. These compounds are
composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms. The short term
for this is CHON. They are literally the building blocks of proteins.
The sum of these is 20, eight of which
are essential nutrients, which means they must be supplied through diet
because the body cannot provide them. The remaining 12 are non-essential
amino acids, termed so because the body can manufacture them from other
compounds at hand .
However, at times, there is a ninth essential amino acid. You see, under
severe stress (such as a vomiting-inducing session of squats), your
ability to produce this amino acid falls well short of your bodily needs.
Hence, it has been termed a “conditionally essential” amino acid. This
anabolic amino is none other than our topic of discussion—glutamine .
The first significant find on glutamine metabolism was by Sir Hans Krebs
in 1930. He displayed the hydrolysis and biosynthesis of glutamine in the
kidney. Eight years later, Rose showed that glutamine is a non-essential
amino acid . Much more has been discovered since then. Glutamine (GLN)
is by far the most abundant amino in our intracellular fluid (ICF),
composing more than 60% of its kind within [11, 105]. It has two ammonia
groups—one from its precursor, glutamate, and the other from free ammonia
in the bloodstream. Throughout muscle cells, the body is able to form GLN
with the enzyme glutamine synthetase via the amidation of another amino
acid known as glutamate. GLN is also prevalent in the brain, liver, lungs,
and stomach tissues. Along with the amino acid alanine, glutamine
represents 50% of amino acids unleashed from muscles, while only
accounting for 15% of total muscle protein. It is also highly utilized by
the gut and kidneys [39, 31].
The metabolic properties of glutamine are mind-blowing. These benefits
range from immune system regulation, nitrogen shuttling, oxidative stress,
muscle preservation, intestinal health, injuries, and much more .
Excess bodily ammonia (NH3) is extremely dangerous; side-effects such as
coma and brain damage are common. NH3 is produced by the breakdown of
amino acids. Glutamine acts as a nitrogen carrier in the body,
transporting ammonia to the stomach in order to convert it to urea in the
liver, or excreting it via the kidneys. Approximately 50% of the nitrogen
excreted in the urine, as ammonium or urea, is a result of glutamine
. The breakdown of GLN in epithelial cells results in bicarbonate
ions (one of the strongest buffers in the body) and NH3. The bicarbonate
is added to the blood, assisting regulation of pH, while the ammonia is
released in the kidney by glutaminase. From here, NH3 rapidly bonds with
protons to form ammonium (NH4+), which is then excreted with a co
transport of sodium ions. As a result, a strong buffer is added to the
blood stream, and acidic hydrogen ions are released via NH4+, effectively
regulating pH [32, 33].
This is very relevant to the athlete. During weight lifting, lactic acid
is prevalent and severely inhibits athletic performance, for reasons such
as an increased pH. Anything that helped raise your pH would enhance your
performance. I explained this in my article,
Active Recovery - A Threefold Breakdown. You will see I provide
ample evidence to support this therein. Furthermore, the regulation of pH
has been supported in several other scientific journals [21, 100].
Therefore, in theory, maintaining high concentrations of GLN would enhance
Lastly, Eiji Nakamura and Susan J. Hagen tested if glutamine could inhibit
ammonia from killing epithelial cells. They placed rat epithelial cells
with ammonia chloride at pH 7.4, with and without glutamine. The ammonia
chloride group had a rapid increase in cell death and vacuolation
(increase in cavities, or spaces in a given cell). Both of these results
were fortunately inhibited in the glutamine group.
The production of glucose from non-carbohydrate nutrients is known as
gluconeogenesis. Glutamine is one of the most efficient non-carbohydrate
substances, which can be used for energy. In certain cells, approximately
30% of degraded GLN can be converted to lactate and carbon dioxide, and
20% of it can be used for macromolecules [106, 137]. Glutamine utilization
increases when glucose is low [66, 137]. In fact, under certain
conditions, cells may survive and grow in a low glucose environment with
an adequate supply of glutamine [3, 13, 46]. Lastly, GLN can be
metabolized in the urea cycle, protein synthetic pathways, and the Krebs
cycle for energy and production of citrate, lactate, and glucose .
Glutathione is a very potent antioxidant that helps protect tissues from
free-radical injury [47, 138]. It is a tripeptide made of cysteine,
glycine, and glutamate. Glutamine is often converted to the later
amino—glutamate. Furthermore, the former amino acid, cysteine, is made
from cystine taken in by the removing of glutamate. This twofold
production makes GLN a valuable asset for the manufacturing of glutathione
Bannani and Ishii T. tested the
hypothesis that glutamine was critical in the utilization of cysteine
. They concluded that:
“These results are consistent with the view that the
intracellular glutamate, of which the source is glutamine in the medium,
is released from the cells into the medium in order to take up cystine and
thereby to rotate the cystine-cysteine cycle. In the routine culture
one-third to one-half of the total consumption of glutamine seems to be
used for the uptake of cystine.”
Nissim I, et al.  showed that glutamate is in large part due to
glutamine used by the kidney.
An excellent study was performed by Hong RW et al. to display the potency
of glutamine in glutathione production, and diminished oxidize stress
. Here are the results:
“Glutathione (GSH) is a major antioxidant that protects
tissues from free radical injury. Glutamine augments host defenses and may
be important in GSH synthesis. Acetaminophen toxicity causes hepatic GSH
depletion and hepatic necrosis. The authors hypothesized that
glutamine-supplemented nutrition would enhance liver GSH stores and
diminish hepatic injury and death after acetaminophen overdose…Standard
TPN solution animals had a rapid depletion of hepatic glutathione, whereas
GLN animals were resistant to this drop and rapidly replenished hepatic
GSH stores. Glutamine-supplemented animals maintained higher plasma
glutamine concentrations, had lesser elevations in hepatic enzymes, and
sustained significantly fewer complications compared with STD animals. The
authors conclude that glutamine-supplemented nutrition preserves hepatic
glutathione, protects the liver, and improves survival during
acetaminophen toxicity. Glutamine may augment host defenses by enhancing
Moreover, after physical exercise, levels of oxidized glutathione
increases by 72% . In a study on rats during intense exercise, liver
glutathione was depleted by 20% compared to inactive rats .
Adam showed last month that anti-oxidants such as vitamin C are valuable
for reducing oxidative stress, and maintaining glutathione. As displayed
previously, glutamine also plays a vital role in the preservation of this
powerful antioxidant tripeptide. For more on the importance of glutathione
and the benefits of minimizing oxidative stress, refer to,
Role of Anaerobic Post-Workout Antioxidant Supplementation in
Correspondence to Exercise Induced Oxidative Stress.
70-80% of immune tissues in the body are located in the gastrointestinal
tract. Therefore, it is imperative that you maintain health in this area.
Consequently, GLN is vital for gut structure and productivity by
strengthening the immune system, mucosal growth, and lubrication . For
example, Gianotti L tested glutamine supplementation on stomachs infected
by bacteria . Here are the results:
“‘BACKGROUND: Glutamine has been shown to be an important
dietary component for the maintenance of gut metabolism. The purpose of
this study was to assess the potential benefit of glutamine-enriched diets
on experimental gut-derived sepsis… RESULTS: Mice fed glutamine-enriched
diets had a lower degree of translocation (as measured by both
radionuclide and bacterial counts) to the tissues than did the other
groups and had an improvement in the ability to kill translocated E coli
(as measured by the percentage of viable bacteria). Survival was
significantly higher in the group fed 2% glutamine (81%) compared with the
groups fed 1% glycine (36%), AIN-76A (35%), and Purina Rodent Laboratory
Mouse Chow 5001 (36%) diets (p < .004). CONCLUSIONS:
Glutamine-supplemented enteral diets may exert important benefits in
preventing gut-origin sepsis after trauma.”
Another study was performed by Burke DJ et al. on glutamine’s effect on
gut immune functions . They separated 36 rats into three groups: group
1 ate rat chow and water ad libitum, group 2 ingested a hyperalimentation
solution, and group 3 consumed a hyperalimentation solution that contained
2% glutamine. They maintained this diet for approximately three weeks. The
glutamine-supplemented group was effectively protected against bacterial
translocation from the gut. They attributed this effect to secretory IgA
immune system. GLN has also been shown to increase intestinal cell
reproduction . The benefits on gut mucosa may be partially attributed
to enhanced protein synthesis . Additionally, glutamine is used for
energy by growing cells such as fibroblasts, reticuloendothelial cells,
malignant cells, and gut epithelial cells .
In another experiment, Houdijk et al. fed male Fischer rats with a
glutamine-rich diet for two weeks . The results showed an increased
blood flow in the small intestine, pancreas, colon, and stomach. It is
also important to note that the primary fuel of the small intestine is
Many more studies attest to these results [15, 16, 30 68, 132].
Glutamine has displayed its muscle-sparing effects by protein synthesis
and decreased protein degradation, time and time again [52, 71, 140].
Post-operation glutamine supplementation, for example, has been shown to
spare glutamine and enhance protein synthesis [48, 88, 123]. Additionally,
GLN acts as a nitrogen donor for the synthesis of amino sugars, urea,
nucleotides for DNA and RNA, purines, pyrimidines, and other amino acids
necessary for cell reproduction [116, 128, 129]. Furthermore, during
catabolic states, glutamine release increases rapidly. Skeletal muscle has
a glutamine concentration of about 7 mmol/L of ICF water . Your body
compensates for decreased concentrations by proteolysis (breaking down
protein), and decreasing protein synthesis. This allows other amino acids
to be used and converted to glutamine [3, 10, 103, 107]. Additionally,
there is evidence that glutamine acts as a substrate for transamination
(the reaction between an amino acid and an alpha-keto acid through which
the amino group is transferred from the former to the latter) reactions in
the liver .
Hankard et al. investigated glutamine’s benefits in comparison to glycine
(an amino acid) . It was concluded that, “glutamine enteral infusion
may exert its protein anabolic effect by increasing protein synthesis,
whereas an isonitrogenous amount of glycine merely decreases protein
turnover with only a small anabolic effect resulting from a greater
decrease in proteolysis than protein synthesis.” To test glutamine’s
attenuation of cell apoptosis (programmed cell termination), rat
neutrophils were observed for 3, 24, and 48 hours in the absence or
presence of glutamine (0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mM respectively) . The
results showed that escherichia coli phagocytosis was much higher, and the
maintenances of mitochondrial transmembrane potential was 20- 38% higher
in the presence of glutamine. Similar results have been shown in humans as
well. These effects were additive and helped slow apoptosis. In
conclusion, glutamine guards against reactions associated with apoptosis
in both rat and human neutrophils.
Alain Lavoinne et al. further investigated glutamine and intestinal
protein synthesis/degradation . Two groups of healthy humans were
given either glutamine (group 1) or saline (salt containing) or
isonitrogenous aminos (group 2). The glutamine group had a significantly
greater increase in the rate of mucosal protein synthesis compared to
saline. Furthermore, ubiquitin (a protein which promotes proteolysis)
mRNA was greatly decreased after taking glutamine in relation to group
two. This would effectively limit mucosal (mucous membrane) protein
degradation, and may be imperative in prohibiting intestinal inflammation
and mucosal damage, which supports the previous topic on gut protection.
Furthermore, in an experiment on rats, it was displayed that glutamine
significantly inhibited net protein loss and protein breakdown . Thus,
glutamine has once again shown to not only have anabolic effects, but
anti-catabolic ones as well. Does it get any better than that?
One hypothesis for these benefits was that glutamine enhanced insulin
secretion, which has been shown to increase intestinal protein synthesis
and reduce the ATP-ubiquitin-dependent proteolytic pathway, as glutamine
did [27, 28]. However, this is not likely since both groups displayed an
increase in insulin, and glutamine’s results were still far superior. It
has been suggested that glutamine’s ability to increase cell volume is a
major element of its anti-catbolic/anabolic traits [136, 54, 55, 56].
Lastly, another study displayed a fascinating aspect of glutamine.
MacLennan PA et al.  increased glutamine concentrations from 0.67 to
5.0 Mm . This resulted in a 200% increase in ICF glutamine
concentrations, and a 66% increase in protein synthesis! However, the
addition of insulin lead to a 30% higher GLN concentration and an 80%
increase in protein synthesis, displaying that they may have synergistic
effects, and definitely showing that a combination of both, post-exercise
for example, will sky rocket protein synthesis.
Several studies have been composed to test the effect of glutamine on
post-exercise glycogen re-synthesis . For example, Varnier M et al.
sampled six subjects who cycled for 90 min at a high intensity to deplete
glycogen stores . They then fed them either alanine+glycine, NaCl, or
glutamine. The glutamine group showed a much greater increase in muscle
glycogen storage. Glutamine with carbohydrates has additionally been shown
to enhance total body carbohydrate storage . Furthermore, glutamine
increases the insulinogenic effect of a post-workout shake [125, 126].
These results have been contributed to several aspects of glutamine.
Possibly by a cell volumizing action, glutamine stimulates hepatic
glycogen synthase (the key enzyme in the synthesis of glycogen) [7, 85].
Glutamine is rapidly absorbed by skeletal muscle via a sodium dependent
transport . This augments glutamine ICF concentrations, promoting cell
swelling . Meijer et al. showed that cell volume and increased GLN
concentrations activates glycogen synthase phosphatase, increasing an
action in glycogen synthase via dephosphorylation (removal of a phosphate
group) . It also has been proposed that glutamine increases glycogen
storage by gluconeogenesis .
The immune system is a magnificent structure of irreducible complexity,
which requires several articles in itself to do it justice. However, for
this journal entry, I will analyze three aspects of the immune system, as
they are directly affected by glutamine. These are:
Our immune system is composed of two main features known as leukocytes and
lymphoid tissues. The former group are commonly known as white blood cells
(wbcs). As I am sure you are aware, white blood cells perform a wide range
of tasks in the immune system. Five general categories of wbcs exist.
These are: basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes.
The first three are known as granulocytes because they have protein
vesicles in their cytoplasm, which is called the cytoplasmic granules. The
later two lack these granules and are thus called agranulocytes. Our focus
will be on agranulocytes and neutrophils. There will also be some
discussion on lymphoid tissues.
This first leukocyte was covered by Joe King in
Endocrine Insanity Part I Here is a quote :
The thymus is a lymphoid gland (also part of the lymphatic
system) and is located between the lungs in the anterior superior
mediastinum. Its cortex (external later) is comprised of lymphatic tissue,
with the interior portion containing lymphocytes. The thymus has a thick
rectangular structure comprised of groups of granular cells enveloped by
epithelial cells, known as Hassal’s Corpuscles. Thymine (2,
4-Dihydroxy-5-Methylpyrimidine) is produced here and plays a large role in
thymus is truly amazing! I would go as far as to say it’s a totally
hardcore gland. I feel this way because of its role in the preprocessing
of stem cells into different lymphocytes. I’ll explain the process and why
it is important in a minute.
The end result of the transformation is
(“T” for Thymus). T lymphocytes are a family of specialized white blood
cells to help the body fight off infection by binding to foreign antigens.
I like to think of white blood cells as fighter jets, whizzing through the
blood stream and eliminating every threat in their path!
In the early stages of fetal development, stem cells migrate to
the thymus in a series of sequential “waves,” where they divide and
differentiate. The first wave of stem cells gives origin to T cells with
gamma-delta 3 receptors. These T cells are found in the skin where they
recognize and attack damaged or infected skin cells. The second wave of
stem cells gives origin to T cells with gamma-delta 4 receptors that
populate the oral epithelium and the uterus. The following waves give
birth to T cells with gamma-delta 2 and gamma-delta 5 receptors, which
populate the spleen and gastrointestinal epithelium. T cells, known as
helper T cells and killer T cells, carrying alpha-beta receptors are also
produced in the thymus. Thus, each T lymphocyte contains a receptor
specifically constituted by two chains of different polypeptide sequences
(gamma-delta or alpha-beta), which binds to a particular foreign antigen.
The thymus plays a search-and-destroy action against
self-antigens through a process called clonal deletion. The thymus tests
the young T cells by producing samples of most cell types of body tissues,
whose proteins are chopped by an antigen-presenting cell and exposed to
the young T cells in a protein molecule known as the major
histocompatibility (MHC). Once a strong reaction occurs to a self antigen,
the young T cell is induced to apoptosis (program cell deaths or suicide).
Therefore, only T cells that show extreme tolerance to self antigens are
allowed to survive and migrate to other tissues.
If this process fails, and weak T cells are induced into the
rest of the body, autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus,
myasthenia gravis and rheumatic fever can occur.
We’ll go into antibody-mediated responses in future issues.“
To add to this excellent review, these cells make up 30% of all leukocytes
in the blood, and 99% of all cells found in interstitial fluid (fluid
spaces between cell tissues, also called tissue fluid). In addition to
their T-Cells, two other cells, which make up lymphocytes are B
lymphocytes (B-Cells) and null cells (they are called this because they do
not have cell membranes characteristic of the former two cells).
B-cells play a vital role in the immune system. When encountered with
antigens (foreign bodies) they turn into plasma cells and release
anti-bodies. Anti-bodies help destroy antigens such as bacteria.
Null cells compose a small portion of lymphocytes, but are extremely
potent in waging war against virus infection. Another name for these cells
is “natural killer cells (NK).” In order to repopulate, viruses must
infiltrate cells. To stop this, NK cells kill viruses. They are the
extremely nimble in response (much faster than the former two cells),
making them a vital part of the body’s first line of immune defense. They
also help eliminate mutant cells, which may later develop into diseases
such as cancer [101, 102].
These white blood cells make up 60-80% of its kind, and act as one of the
most effective weapons for the immune system—phagocytosis. A phagocyte
refers to an eating cell. As a phagocyte, neutrophils literally inhale
microorganisms, along with foreign cells and particles present in the
blood stream. During sickness, neutrophils rapidly increase, providing
great assistance for the immune system. A high neutrophil count is an easy
way of telling there is infection in the body [101, 102].
Monocytes compose 5% of total leukocyte cells. They act as phagocytes.
When born, they circulate in the blood for a couple of hours, then travel
into tissues, which transform them into monster cells up to ten times in
size. These cells are extremely powerful phagocytes. They are named
macrophages. Some macrophages wander through the body, while others stay
in certain spots. They are potent in the gastrointestinal tract, lungs,
lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and connective tissue [101, 102].
With this newfound knowledge, you will be able to more efficiently
comprehend the benefits glutamine has on the immune system, which is our
Maintaining a healthy immune system is imperative for the athlete. Not
doing so will promote overtraining (discussed further on), sickness,
disease, slow recovery from illness, and such like inflictions .
In order to perform their many anabolic tasks, however, immune cells
require a source of energy. The metabolism of leukocytes is a relatively
new study. It was first discovered by Eric Newsholme et al. in the mid
80’s that glutamine played an intricate role as a fuel source for white
blood cells [91, 92, 6, 26, 93]. Going back even further to 1949,
Ehrensvard et al. discovered that glutamine promotes cell survival and
reproduction . Eight years later, Eagle et al. gave even stronger
support for this .
It has now been confirmed that glutamine is used tremendously by immune
cells [94, 25, 139]. Mechanisms, by which this occurs, along with a great
deal of empirical support, will be displayed in the following paragraphs.
To test glutamine’s effect on macrophages, Spittler et al. composed an
experiment in vivo on healthy macrophages . They decreased glutamine
concentration from 2 to .2 mmol and reported that HLA-DR expression
decreased by 40%, and phagocytosis was greatly diminished. One thing they
attributed this to was a severe decrease in ATP. Consequently, macrophages
have a high oxidative capacity and hunger, if you will. As such, they
require large amounts of fuel to function . To test this, in vitro,
glutamine and glucose were given to these cells . Glucose contributed
62% and glutamine 38% of the cell’s energy, which supports the idea that
these cells are dependent on glutamine for fuel. Another proposed
mechanism for increased GLN needs in activated macrophages is that
glutamine’s conversion rate to arginine increases in response to
arginine’s heightened utilization by macrophages in action .
Neutrophils, as with macrophages, heavily depend on glucose and glutamine
for energy sources [40, 128]. To further investigate glutamine’s function
in neutrophils (as well as monocytes), Furukawa teamed up with eight other
scientists . Eleven patients who had gastrointestinal surgery were
used. He administrated glutamine over seven days and found that
phagocytosis was increased, as well as super oxide, which is a powerful
free radical needed for bacterial termination. Saito et al. displayed
similar results in his experiment . The neutrophils of post-operative
patients were placed in either a .5 or 1mmol glutamine environment.
Bacteria decreased an amazing 26% as the ECF of glutamine increased.
Garcia et al. elaborated on glutamine mechanisms when he showed that a 2
mmol concentration of extra cellular glutamine helped slow the
adrenaline-inflicted decrease in super oxide . Additionally, it was
displayed that adrenaline reduces the glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase
utilization of macrophages, and glutamine also increases NADPH . This
is a vital process. Results show glutamine can produce a large amount of
NADPH for cells. NADPH Is required for super oxide production (which
accounts for another mechanism of its assembly), as well as making
proteins, RNA, or DNA. Glutamine can also be catalyzed with the help of
NADP+ and result in NADPH production for the cell, and lactate or acetyl-CoA,
which is utilized in the Krebs cycle for energy . Philip Newsholme
believes this is a huge part of glutamine’s immune benefits stating ,
“More recently, glutamine utilization has been linked to
functional activities of cells of the immune system such as proliferation,
antigen presentation, cytokine production, nitric oxide production,
superoxide production and phagocytosis. Many of these functional
parameters appear to be directly or indirectly dependent upon the
intracellular supply of NADPH. The initial pathway of glutamine
metabolism, which is common to all cells of the immune system, can
generate NADPH from NADP+, thus providing a possible link between high
rates of glutamine utilization and the beneficial effect on the many
diverse functions of immune cells.”
Results show glutamine plays a major role in T-cell proliferation and
function. Yaqoob P and Calder PC tested this . Using rat spleen, they
surrounded them in several extra cellular concentrations of glutamine, and
T-Cells. As the glutamine concentration rose, there was a 39 fold increase
in interleukin-2 production (IL-2). There was a 15% increase in the amount
of IL-2 receptors, and a 20% increase in transferring receptors, and the
IL-2 use was also dependent on glutamine. Thus IL-2 production, use,
receptor expression, and transferring receptor expressions were reliant on
glutamine concentrations. To clarify on IL-2, it is a hormone-like
substance produced by T-Cells, and promotes the action of other t-cells.
It also promotes the proliferation of certain disease-fighting red blood
Crawford J and Cohen HJ performed an excellent experiment on the effect
glutamine and other proteins had on the immune system . 3H-thymidine
was maximally used at .08 mmL of glutamine. When at a 2mmL GLN
concentration, plasma cell differentiation occurred. Additionally,
immunoglobulin (a protein made by plasma cells which fights infection)
synthesis and secretion increased 2-5 and 3-10 fold, respectively, in
cells with a 2mml GLN conc. Rough endoplasmic reticulum (a result of
increased immunoglobulin ) was increased only with glutamine. The other
proteins displayed few beneficial results. Furthermore, in 1995 these two
scientists teamed up again, showing that glutamine is absolutely essential
for b-cell antibody synthesis and cell secretion, and again a multitude of
amino acids were tested and could not duplicate the benefits of glutamine
Activated killer cells
Juretic et al. displayed that glutamine assists killer cells to eliminate
their viral targets. Moreover, deficiency in GLN diminished the amount of
these cells used in response to infection .
There are a multitude of results that display glutamine’s effectiveness in
enhancing the immune system. Studies on abdominal surgeries, bowel
diseases, and such like, have all displayed that supplementing with GLN
enhances nitrogen balance, muscle mass, and gut integrity [62, 122].
Several other cases of sicknesses have also been treated effectively by
glutamine [131, 119, 34, 51, 96, 145].
Most importantly, glutamine has been shown to assist athletes in immune
regulation. This is vital because plasma glutamine decreases after
strenuous work. Keast et al. performed a great experiment to test this
. He utilized two exercising groups. Group 1 consisted of seven
randomly selected male athletes who utilized a treadmill at 0, 30%, 60%,
90% and 120% of their VO2 max. The latter group was composed of five
advanced male athletes. They performed two gut-wrenching interval training
sessions per day for ten days, followed by a six-day recovery period.
Glutamine concentrations dropped rapidly from 1244 +/- 121 mumol/L on
average to 702 +/- 101 mumol/L after exercise at 90% VO2max (P < 0.05) and
to 560 +/- 79 mumol/L at 120% VO2max (P < 0.001). They concluded that,
“Reduced plasma glutamine concentrations may provide a good indication of
severe exercise stress.”
Castell et al. performed an experiment on several athletes (200 runners)
to test the infection rate of each . The runners received either a
placebo drink or glutamine immediately after and 2 hours after exercise.
The results were staggering! 81% of the athletes who supplemented with
glutamine reported no infections, while only 49% of the athletes who did
not have glutamine reported no infections. This tremendously supports
glutamine’s involvement in the immune system.
Moreover, a 2003 study by Hiscock et al. tested how glutamine effected the
release of interleukin-6 (IL-6) from skeletal muscles . To elaborate
the importance of this, IL-6 is a cytokine that stimulates the growth and
differentiation of human B-cells (discussed earlier). Eight healthy men
participated in a randomized, double-blind, crossover study in which they
performed 2 hours of cycling at 75% of their VO2 max. They received
glutamine, glutamine-rich protein, or placebo supplementation at intervals
during and 2 hours after exercise. The doses were given in order to help
maintain plasma glutamine concentration. The results showed glutamine was
superior to the placebo, enhancing IL6 at a sevenfold higher rate; the
glutamine rich protein did so at a threefold higher rate.
Several scientific authorities have postulated and demonstrated that
diminished glutamine concentrations are an effective indicator of being
overtrained. Oftentimes during and after intense exercise, these
concentrations are greatly reduced, and the immune system, among other
functions, is hindered [64, 110, 111, S1, 141, 53]. Before we get into
these studies, it’s important that you understand what exactly
overtraining is. Two general forms of overtraining are sympathetic and
parasympathetic. The former displays signs of edginess, insomnia, and lack
of hunger, while the latter gives polar opposite inflictions: being tired,
weak, etc. These two share a common ground, however, as they are
accompanied with a hindered immune system. An impaired immune system
promotes overtraining, and is further hurt when in such stressful states.
For much more on overtraining, you will want to read OldSchool’s article,
Muscle Mind Doctrine - Theoretical Concepts of Strategization
Intense training sessions can result in a weak immune system. This
includes decreased lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, phagocyte cells,
leukocytes and cytokines, IL-1, IL-2, IL-6 and TNF cells. Now to the
Sharp and Koutedakis showed that overtrained muscles in many cases may not
be supplying enough glutamine for immune cells . Antonio and Street
also came to this conclusion in their study of glutamine .
Additionally, heavy training may have a cumulative effect on glutamine
depletion, as results have shown such activities to reduce GLN
concentrations to 500 mumol/L, and take long periods for ample recovery
Rowbottom DG et al. composed an excellent experiment with ten athletes who
were suffering from the overtraining syndrome (OTS) . Blood samples
taken demonstrated that the only measurement which was impaired in
comparison to non overtrained individuals was plasma glutamine levels,
further demonstrating the effect GLN has on OTS.
As I am sure you are aware, athletes often wake up in the morning and
perform a cardio session while their glycogen stores are depleted. To test
the effect this had on glutamine stores, eight well-trained males woke up
after a night of sleeping (fasting for several hours), and hopped on the
bike for one hour. The session consisted of 20 1-min periods at 100%
VO2max, each separated by 2 min of recovery at 30% VO2max. Several hours
after the session, GLN fell extremely low—572 microM. Since glutamine is
essential in immune function, this would certainly inhibit your body’s
defense against disease, promoting sickness and overtraining, as displayed
in the previous study on infection rates. To conclude this, here is a
great quote from Rowbottom et al. in the Journal Sports Medicine :
“If recovery between exercise bouts is inadequate, the acute
effects of exercise on plasma glutamine level may be cumulative, since
overload training has been shown to result in low plasma glutamine levels
requiring prolonged recovery. Athletes suffering from the overtraining
syndrome (OTS) appear to maintain low plasma glutamine levels for months
or years. All these observations have important implications for organ
functions in these athletes, particularly with regard to the gut and the
cells of the immune system, which may be adversely affected. In
conclusion, if methodological issues are carefully considered, plasma
glutamine level may be useful as an indicator of an over trained state.”
Glucocorticoids are a group of hormones secreted by cells of the middle
zone, zona fasciculata. They are used in response to stress. The most
abundant glucocorticoid is cortisol . Consequently, cortisol plays a
major factor in glutamine degradation. For example, Nick et al. tested on
weaning pigs (in whom cortisol is prevalent) weather cortisol promoted
glutamine catabolism. In several groups he administrated a glucocorticoid
receptor antagonist; in others, he let the pigs alone. As expected, adding
the antagonist receptor effectively inhibited glutamine degradation. In
another experiment by Tamarappoo et al. , he injected cortisol into
rats and observed that glutamine was extracted from the liver and utilized
This fact further explains how exercise decreases glutamine levels, and
why it is vital to replenish afterward. Decreased plasma glutamine levels
will promote protein degradation and decrease cell volume , which is
our next discussion.
Glutamine has been shown to enhance cellular hydration, which is
absolutely vital to athletic performance . SY Low et al. tested the
connection between glutamine transport, and cellular hydration . He
induced glutamine uptake into rat myotubes at osmolalities of 170, 320 or
430 mosmol. Glutamine at 320 mosmol increased cell volume by 36%. When
insulin was administrated, it additionally enhanced cell volume by 22%,
and glutamine transport by 40%. They noted that the effects of both
glutamine and insulin were additive to cell volume. At 170 mosmol there
was also a huge increase in cell volume and glutamine transport. At 430
mosmol, however, cell volume and glutamine transport was diminished. These
benefits were attributed to an increase in the Na(+)-dependent glutamine
To elaborate on this, glutamine uses a sodium transport system, which
results in osmotic cellular swelling. This is vital for post-workout oral
rehydration! To test this hypothesis, Rhoads et al. gave 30 mmol/L of
glutamine to his participants . It was shown that glutamine
stimulated large amounts of electrogenic and electro neutral NaCl
absorption rates. This would likewise result in a major increase in
cellular water absorption. They concluded that glutamine is an effective
method of oral re-hydration. Such knowledge can be applied to several
scenarios, most importantly, post-workout nutrition. Moreover, using
patients with diarrhea, Van Loon et al. tested several oral rehydration
solutions . He utilized 3 groups: glucose, sodium (group 1), sodium,
glucose, and glutamine (group 2), or alanine, glucose, and salt (group 3).
The glutamine, sodium, glucose group was the most proficient one, showing
a significant reduction in water and sodium secretion, while increasing
Another experiment by Islam S et al. showed glutamine, in his words, is
“superior to glucose in stimulating water and electrolyte absorption
talk for a one-eyed fat man! Oops; excuse me, been watching to many John
Wayne movies, but I digress. Islam did, however, back his words up with
results. He applied 50 mM of L-glutamine (group 1) and 50 mM D-glucose
(group 2) to electrolyte water solutions. He found that the absorption of
water (P = 0.000), sodium (P = 0.002), potassium (P = 0.001), and chloride
(P = 0.003) from the glutamine electrolyte solution was much greater than
from the glucose electrolyte solution in the ileum. He concluded that,
“L-glutamine may be a useful component to be tested in oral re-hydration
solutions.” Now, considering that glucose greatly benefits oral
re-hydration, especially when accompanied with sodium, due to the
Glucose/Sodium co transport system [134, 80, 81, 82, 83], this gives
immense support to glutamine supplementation post-exercise. And when you
take into account Van Loon’s findings, you see that taking both glucose
and glutamine will give you the best of both worlds.
These findings are of the utmost importance to post-workout nutrition. For
more on the anabolism of cellular swelling, refer to,
Effect of Plasma Volume on Myofibril Hydration, Nutrient Delivery, and
Athletic Performance. Lastly, to understand the sodium
transport systems mentioned above, you will want to read,
Sodium - A comprehensive Analysis.
Creatine and Glutamine
Creatine and Glutamine are two of the few supplements which actually
contribute significant ergogenic benefits without adverse side-effects. To
test these two powerhouses in combination with each other; an eight-week
experiment was performed on 29 athletes by Mark Lehmkuhl et al. . They
utilized three groups: a placebo (P) group (.03 g of placebo per kg of
body mass, and 4 more grams of placebo per day) a creatine monohydrate
(CM) group (.03 g of CM per kg of body mass, and 4 more grams of placebo
per day) and a creatine/glutamine (CG) group (.03 g of CM per kg of body
mass, and 4 more grams of glutamine per day). Furthermore, they used a
double blind test, which means that the subjects and scientists performing
the experiment did not know which group they were in; only those
overseeing the tests did. Additionally, the diet and training programs
were identical for each group. The results showed that the CM and CG group
displayed the highest level of performance, and further that the CG group
achieved better results than the CM group. The CG and CM groups displayed
a significant increase in body mass, LBM, and initial rate of power
production during multiple cycle ergometer bouts. The results of the CG
group were better than the CM and P groups. However, the authors suggested
the results may have been much better with a higher dosage, as only 4
grams is rather small.
Glutamine has proven to be a perfectly safe and effective supplement [17,
42, 79, 142]. To further solidify this, Lowe et al. performed an
experiment using seven normal people over three five-day trials . They
were given 0.285, and 0.570 g per kg of body weight. 2.2 kilograms= 1
pound. So if a 200 pound man were in the experiment, that would mean they
would give him approximately 50 grams of glutamine. Mental status and
other performance tests were standard and consistent throughout the three
periods. There were no signs of toxicity whatsoever—all doses were
well-tolerated by the subjects. In another test, E Ward et al. gave 13
patients 0.35, 0.5 and 0.65 g per kg of body weight . Again, no side
effects were reported. It was concluded that .65 g of glutamine per kg of
body weight is perfectly fine to ingest. This would convert to 60 grams of
glutamine for a 200 pound man. Therefore, very high levels of glutamine
are indeed safe.
A multitude of benefits have been laid out for you concerning glutamine
supplementation. Now all that’s left is to instruct you about is how to
take it—let’s get to it.
Post workout is the most essential time for glutamine supplementation. As
displayed above, this will enhance glycogen storage, reduce
exercise-induced oxidative stress, strengthen the immune system, promote
myofibril hydration and protein synthesis, and decrease protein
degradation, among other benefits. At this time of the day, such factors
as hydration are absolutely vital to your success.
The goal here is to try to sustain as high a plasma glutamine level as
possible. Fasting for several hours at night puts your body in a highly
catabolic state, and glutamine levels are quickly depleted. By
supplementing with GLN here, you will promote its preservation, and proper
immune function. I would recommend you utilize OldSchool’s sleep stack
(which includes glutamine) for maximum results. See
Enter The Z Factor.
If you were to have a massive carbohydrate meal before sleep, your
glycogen stores would still be diminished, and catabolism prevalent after
fasting for several hours at night. This is why breakfast is one of the
most vital meals of the day. The same applies to glutamine. Even if you
supplement the night before, your stores will still be diminished in the
morning. Several studies have displayed glutamine concentrations are
severely reduced (around 500 to 750 mumol/L) after a night of sleeping
[65, 143]. As such, I recommend taking glutamine in the morning as well,
to get your body back into a state of anabolism.
Another logical time to supplement with glutamine would be pre-workout.
Due to its gluconeogenic effects, you would help spare muscle mass during
a training session. Additionally, marinating high GLN concentrations would
promote glutathione preservation, enhancing your body’s defense against
oxidative stress, among immune benefits. Moreover, in theory you would
help maintain a stable pH, which is raised during exercise due to lactic
Any time you are sick you should increase your glutamine supplementation,
as it plays an absolutely vital role in this area.
As stated earlier, being overtrained can oftentimes be a sign of depleted
glutamine stores. Moreover, your immune system is always torn down when in
a stressful state such as overtraining. This would further help boost your
leukocytes and speed recovery.
I would recommend you utilize the powder form of glutamine, as pills are
much less potent, and would cost you a fortune. If you are on a very tight
budget, you should have glutamine at least post-exercise. Otherwise, I
would recommend having it a minimum of 3 times a day: in the morning, post
exercise, and pre-sleep. Pre-exercise would be another time to implement
this conditionally essential amino. Other than that, there is no
particular portion in the day for glutamine supplementation; one time is
as good as another. In states of stress, such as sickness and overtraining,
or if you feel you are nearing overtraining, you may want to double your
dosage, depending on your previous consumption; regardless, definitely
make a substantial increase in your GLN intake. Lastly, the majority of
scientific authorities recommend 5 grams of glutamine per serving [19, 78,
It has been clearly displayed that glutamine supplementation is essential
for the athlete that seeks to obtain optimal results. Now, before we
close, it’s imperative that you understand what the term “essential”
really means. Webster’s dictionary defines it as :
1 : of, relating to, or constituting
essence : INHERENT
2 : of the utmost importance
: BASIC, INDISPENSABLE, NECESSARY <essential foods> <an
essential requirement for admission to college>
Synonyms ESSENTIAL, FUNDAMENTAL,
VITAL, CARDINAL mean so important as to be indispensable. ESSENTIAL
implies belonging to the very nature of a thing and therefore being
incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character
<conflict is essential in drama>. FUNDAMENTAL applies to something that is
a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would
collapse <fundamental applies to something that is a foundation without
which an entire system or complex whole would collapse <fundamental
principles of algebra>. VITAL suggests something that is necessary to a
thing's continued existence or operation <cut off from vital supplies>.
CARDINAL suggests something on which an outcome turns or depends <a
cardinal rule in buying a home>.
In summary, something that is essential is absolutely necessary to
have—there is no substitute for it. Consequently, millions of people
today are missing out on the essential key to each of our lives :
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain
village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and
heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to
him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to
serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and
said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many
things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part,
which shall not be taken away from her.
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the
lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh
I don’t know how many times I have heard people make excuses for not
turning to Christ, or not studying the word, or continuing to willfully
sin. What these people do not understand is that they are cutting out the
only thing that really matters—a relationship with the Lord of all the
living. Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I implore
all those who are reading this to reflect their lives and get your
priorities straight. If you are on this path, everything else will fall
34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he
said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and
take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life
shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the
gospel's, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he
shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Keep it Hardcore,
Executive of Bioenergetic Research
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