Is Glutamine a BCAA?
In recent years, amino acid supplements have taken off as a new, more advanced way to give your muscles the fuel they need before, during, and after a workout. However, there are 20 different amino acids used in the body, including glutamine, arginine, tryptophan, and, well, about 17 others. With so many compounds to familiarize yourself with, it can be easy to lose track of what counts as what, or which amino acids have which effects. Glutamine is one of the amino acids that has made a name for itself as an integral part of many people’s fitness supplement regimen, but what exactly is glutamine, and what does it do? To find out more, keep reading as the people at aminoVITAL® explain.
What is Glutamine?
As mentioned above, glutamine is an amino acid; in fact, it’s the most readily available amino acid in the body. Glutamine is an example of a “conditionally essential” amino acid, meaning that our bodies can usually produce it in sufficient quantities, but that in times of stress, this natural production might not be enough. This is especially true for those recovering from burns or surgery, or those experiencing muscle wasting as a result of a major disease; in either case, glutamine can help maintain muscle mass and promote the healing process, but the patient may require supplementation to keep this amino acid at the proper levels.
Glutamine is also important for keeping our intestines and immune system in good working order, namely in its L-glutamine form. (Another version of this amino acid, D-glutamine, seems to serve little purpose in the functions of organisms.) Many of the cells in these systems use glutamine as their preferred source of fuel, making this compound an important part of a healthy, functioning body. In the past decade or so, glutamine has become a popular post-workout supplement for athletes who believe that it grants faster recovery after exercise and reduces muscle soreness; a 2015 study1 published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism supports this belief.
What is a BCAA?
Among the body’s amino acids is a group called the “branched-chain” amino acids, or BCAAs. These molecules get their name from their shape, which is unique among amino acids; they also get a lot of attention as an ever-more-popular type of fitness supplement. In many cases, glutamine is mentioned in the same breath as BCAAs, as both are used by those looking to bulk up or develop lean muscle, but the truth is that glutamine is not considered a BCAA.
There are three particular amino acids that are classified as branched-chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These compounds each play a role in athletic performance and the development of muscle mass, and they are often paired with amino acids like glutamine and arginine, each of which has also shown evidence of improving performance.
Leucine is the BCAA that has received the most attention, largely because it’s the amino acid that triggers the creation of new muscle tissue – a crucial concern in any fitness supplement. Isoleucine focuses more on improving endurance and enhancing recovery by facilitating the use of glucose, the body’s energy supply, by the muscles during exercise. Valine generally serves in more of a supporting role by regulating the immune system, reducing stress and appetite, and helping to guard the muscles against excessive damage during a workout.
The Benefits of Glutamine in Your Amino Acid Supplements
Though amino acid supplements have much in common with traditional protein, the former represents a significant advancement in fitness supplements. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, meaning that when your body digests the proteins you eat, you’re left with amino acids. That’s why people take protein supplements in the first place: to get at the amino acids they contain.
Amino acid supplements simply take that line of thought to the next logical step: Rather than consuming whole proteins then having to wait for your body to break them down, free-form amino acids like those in aminoVITAL® products let you skip most of the digestion process and absorb those compounds into your bloodstream almost immediately. The result is near-instant delivery of these key nutrients to your muscles, so they get the fuel they need right when they need it.
And supplements from aminoVITAL® have another notable benefit over traditional protein powders: The formula for an amino acid supplement is much leaner, containing only a fraction of the calories and sugar found in many popular protein-based products. Our Rapid Recovery post-workout mix, for example, has only 60 calories and a measly 2 grams of sugar; it also contains carbs for replenishing glycogen stores, sodium for restoring the body’s electrolyte balance, and, of course, 3.6 grams of our proprietary blend of amino acids, which includes the BCAAs plus glutamine and arginine.
Try a Lean and Effective Amino Acid Supplement from aminoVITAL®
No longer must athletes turn to inefficient protein supplements to reach their health and fitness goals. With an amino acid supplement, such as our amino acid pre-workout formula, from aminoVITAL®, you can provide your muscles with the resources they need to grow and recover in the wake of a tough workout without loading up on unnecessary calories and sugars. Each amino acid supplement is easy to use; just add the mix to a bottle of water and shake well. If you would like to learn more about amino acid supplements and how they can help you craft a better body, visit the aminoVITAL® website or call (888) 264-6673 today.