Long ago, I had the opportunity to work at a very popular supplement store. I was able to work one-on-one with consumers and help them navigate through the overwhelming amount of products on display. My focus was primarily on sports nutrition and I loved fielding questions about protein, supplements and diet. With a ton of information all over the TV and internet, it's easy to get lost in the claims and promises many supplement companies make. Recovery was a widely popular topic and I found many people asking about a specific amino acid: glutamine. A building block of protein molecules, research shows that not only does glutamine improve muscle recovery time, but it also impacts other areas of the body.
Since the body typically makes enough glutamine for normal function, supplementation is not usually necessary. However, it turns out that bodily stores of glutamine are used in higher amounts when the body is under large amounts of stress, regular high intensity exercise, frequent colds and flus, severe burns, IBS and muscle wasting.
Good news! Due to the stress extensive exercise can put on the body, including more glutamine in the diet can help with muscle repair. After an intense workout, glutamine moves nitrogen molecules to damaged muscles, which stimulates repair. Without enough glutamine, nitrogen molecules will not be moved to muscles and repair will be prolonged. Added glutamine can also have a positive impact on digestion and can help the body absorb and utilize nutrients more efficiently. These are all important factors in an athletic lifestyle. Less sick days, more time to train, better digestion, more nutrients being used in the body and more energy!
Want these results? Include foods rich in glutamine in your diet or Blasts, like beets, cabbage, beans, peas, lentils, spinach and parsley. Also, including foods rich in Vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B6 (pyrodixine) can help increase levels of glutamine circulating in the body. In order for the body to make glutamine, it has to first convert glutamic acid, this process requires both Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B6. Use foods like peanuts, sun dried tomatoes, paprika, pistachios, garlic, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.