Supernova occurs about once every 50 years in a galaxy the size of the Milky Way, playing a significant role in enriching the interstellar medium with higher mass elements, while shock waves from supernova explosions also stimulate the formation of new stars.
—European Space Agency
Supernovas are one of the most energetic explosions that occur in nature, not unlike that of a 10-megaton bomb. They emanate as much energy as the sun does over their life span and end with the development of new masses, like stars. You can think of glutamine as a supernova supplement because it can duplicate that type of new-mass development. Much of that muscle-building benefit comes from modulating stress.
When the body is stressed, muscle tissue produces significantly more glutamine to encourage healing, preserve muscle tissue, increase growth hormone production and orchestrate the physiological attributes of other amino acids. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and 60 percent of it is found within skeletal muscle tissue. Glutamine also modulates protein synthesis, cortisol production (the catabolic hormone), nitrogen balance, muscle-cell volume and testosterone production. It’s obviously very important to the bodybuilder.
Current data indicate that other amino acids can either be converted to fuels like glucose or reassembled to make new amino acids. Glutamine can do all of that and more. By regulating correct cell volume—proper balance of water and nutrients in the cell—glutamine can reduce or inhibit destructive catabolic cycles. Also, new scientific evidence indicates that glutamine can increase growth hormone by 400 percent. Subjects at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Louisiana University were given two grams of glutamine following breakfast, and within 90 minutes growth hormone counts increased 430 percent over baseline.
Glutamine has a hand in nitric oxide production, which can enhance the muscle pump you get in the gym. The amino acid arginine is the precursor of nitric oxide, a vasodilator that widens blood vessels, thus increasing the flow of nutrients and oxygen to muscle tissue. Recently, researchers at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam reported that when plasma counts of glutamine increased, corresponding improvements in the synthesis of arginine increased by as much as 64 percent.
What about muscle size? A process that made creatine famous is its ability to enhance cell volumizing. To get larger, fuller muscles, you need bigger muscle cells, which means you have to increase cell volume. By attracting more water and glycogen into muscle cells, you improve protein synthesis, stimulate growth and improve your muscle’s ability to rid itself of waste. Like creatine, glutamine aids that cell volumization.
While supernova events enrich the interstellar medium, the scenarios above are examples of glutamine going beyond supernova. Glutamine enhances the process of gluconeogenesis, which scrapes together noncarbohydrate compounds like glycerol, lactate and pyruvate to compensate for insufficient intake of carbohydrates to meet workout energy demands and the refilling of muscle tissue. So if you’re on a lower-carb diet, glutamine can help.
When you review the literature concerning glutamine, you begin to understand how many body systems and metabolic pathways depend on it. Simply put, glutamine is a supernova amino acid and should be a foundation of your supplement regimen. Suggested dose: five grams before and after your workout.