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The 3 (or 4?) musketeers… from BCAA to Glutamine

You might be thinking: what does the book of Dumas have in common with an article on supplements? To say the truth, not much, but you might find interesting knowing that the 3 musketeers where not really 3, but 4, considering also D’Artagnan was part of the group.

Having said this we can end our litterature digression and start talking about “supplements” so the “union” between BCAA and Glutamine will become obvious.

BCAAs are energy and plastic supplement pillars. Statistically they are the most used supplements (together with Mineral Salts and powder proteins) by both strength and resistance athletes.
BCAAs on their own form around 60% of the Amino Acids within muscle (glutamine is another one). This means that when you workout, BCAAs and glutamine are the main amino acids involved in the “pro-anabolic” action and also the “anti-catabolic” one.
According to the workout length these amino acids prevent muscle tissue from being destroyed during exercise and also are an energy foundation. The Valine amino acid, part of BCAAs, and Glutamine are classified as glucogenic amino acids, this means they produce glucose pyruvate through by their deamination; this action is partly carried out by the other 2 BCAAs (Isoleucine and Leucine).
Together with these anabolic-energetic functions BCAAs carry out another important anti-fatigue role. Fatigue may be caused by a depletion of phosphates and/or by muscular acidosis.
What about Glutamine? As already mentioned it contains very high quantities of free amino acids within the body. This amino acid carries out a very important functions for the muscles and immune system.
During workout one of the first amino acids that begins to decrease in its ematic concentration is Glutamine; when this happens, synthesis begins. One of the ways of producing Glutamine is by using BCAA catabolism; the time needed to synthesise it, may not coincide with the moment of real need, this causes a deficiency during crucial moments.
Glutamine may also contribute in the reduction of the catabolic effect caused by the cortisol hormone.
Cortisol increases Glutamine needs on an intestinal level, when there is a decrease within the liver as well as ematic and muscular depletion.
Glutamine also provides a positive direct effect on hydration.
Glutamine consumption caused by physical activity implicates a loss of cell water. Hydration can be maintained by replenishing the lost Glutamine, this will also stop the catabolic process and activate the anabolic one, for counteracting stress.
It has been demonstrated how Glutamine may assist in maintaining the acid-base balance that is obviously altered when high quantities of lactic acid are produced.
On top of the benefits already explained, Glutamine plays a key role within the immune system; by supplementing this substance we will avoiding putting our immune system under stress which in turn may cause muscle damage.
Glutamine is also detoxifying and antioxidant thanks to the Glutathione endogenous synthesis. The detoxifying properties are also able to get rid of ammonium waste (derived from protein degradation, mostly disposed of by the kidneys)
One of the traits Glutamine is known for is the fact that it can cross the hematoencephalic barrier stimulating memory and concentration functions.
For all the reasons mentioned above, Glutamine is an ideal BCAA “partner”. It may be associated to the branched chain ones first (for energy purposes), during (for energy purposes but also as an anti-catabolic and for sustaining the nervous system) and after working out (for muscular plasticity and recovery). It may also be taken in the morning for benefitting from it’s “wake-up” properties on the immune system.
The careful raw material choice (KeForma only uses Kyowa Glutamine, certified for its very high standard of purity) is surely one of the standards that needs to be taken in consideration when choosing the right type of supplement.

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