Glutamine and BCAAs, short for branched-chain amino acids, are two of the most popular supplements in the fitness industry. These aminos come with many muscle-building benefits that can be extremely advantageous when it comes to reaching your goals and performing at your highest potential. To understand how these supplements can help you, it is important to first learn the role they play in your body.
Both glutamine and BCAAs are amino acids that aid in recovery. L-glutamine supplementation provides your body with its most common and heavily used amino acid: glutamine, whereas BCAAs provide your body with three less common, but essential amino acids: leucine, valine, and isoleucine. Each supplement plays a unique role in aiding recovery, and in this article, we’ll go over the benefits of both, and how you can use these supplements to optimize your training.
For starters, glutamine’s purpose in the body is centred around preserving muscle and preventing it from entering a catabolic state. When you work out, your body’s glutamine levels are greatly depleted and may remain that way for substantial periods of time. By supplementing l-glutamine, you can replenish the level of glutamine in your body, which will help maintain cell hydration and volume, and thus, speed up recovery. Additional benefits include increasing the body’s secretion of growth hormone, a key muscle builder, and helping to balance nitrogen levels, which is important for maintaining an anabolic state.
This supplement can be a crucial aid for bodybuilders, especially, as preparing for a show usually leaves one’s body without enough of the key nutrients it needs to retain muscle while losing fat. By supplementing with l-glutamine, bodybuilders can make sure their bodies are getting the nutrients they need in between intense workouts, despite being in extreme caloric deficits. Overall, glutamine is helpful in aiding the body in recovery, particularly in times of caloric deficit, when key nutrients are less available.
On the other hand, BCAAs take a much broader approach. Whether you’re using them to train fasted or to help your body recover faster, branched-chain amino acids are great muscle builders in this regard. When you supplement with BCAAs, the three amino acids go fast to work at helping aid in protein synthesis and other important processes in recovery. Leucine and valine encourage protein synthesis while isoleucine helps cells replenish glucose. As mentioned, this can be especially important for the fasted lifter as his/her body will not have enough nutrients from a meal to safely lift. By taking BCAAs, this lifter can get what he/she needs most and promote recovery in doing so. Another known benefit of the supplement is its connection to fat loss. Researchers have found that those who take BCAAs enriched with leucine are leaner and have better body compositions than those who don’t.
One area that was particularly affected was visceral fat as those who took BCAAs with meals were shown to have less fat around the abdomen. Ultimately, these amino acids can also be helpful for any athlete, as protein synthesis is fundamental to performing better. When your muscles are able to recover faster, they grow faster, you become less sore, and you benefit from increased endurance and less fatigue, in addition to many other positive effects.
Which Is Best?
When considering taking glutamine or BCAAs, it is important to consider two things. For one, studies may show certain results, but this is usually among one type of person, and not everything is the same for everybody. And secondly, supplements are designed to supplement. They will not be able to help you unless you help yourself and maintain a balanced diet and train properly. To get the best results from a supplement, you need to be willing to put in the work yourself and not rely on pills or powder. That said, if you work hard and consistently put effort into your diet and your training, BCAAs and glutamine can be extremely helpful in increasing the results that you see.
Supplements are like the fuel you put in your car. If you don’t maintain all the parts of a car and you constantly beat it up, putting the most expensive fuel into it won’t make it a trophy vehicle. A rust bucket with premium fuel is still a rust bucket. If you work hard at maintaining and caring for your car, however, and you go the extra mile to use the best gas you can give it, you will notice the increased performance that you get out of your investment. For the careless lifter, supplementing with glutamine and BCAAs may not be as helpful, but a dedicated trainee will see the positive effect that these amino acids can have on them.
Take Home Message
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are fundamental in building muscle. By supplementing aminos, such as glutamine and BCAAs, you can help your body get the most important nutrients it needs to build muscle. If you’re looking to start taking advantage of these benefits, Myprotein offers the best prices on some of the highest quality supplements available. Additionally, with a variety of flavors and options for glutamine and BCAAs, Myprotein’s selection is unbeatable!