BCAAs and Glutamine – The Best Amino Acids For Recovery?

BCAAs and Glutamine
What happens if you put BCAAs and Glutamine together? That’s what we’re going to answer in this post! Whether you want to build muscle, improve sports performance, or simply heal faster after an injury, you’ll do anything to give your body that extra edge. Branched-chain amino acids and glutamine are two of the best recovery supplements backed by science and user experience. Branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs are a 2:1:1 ratio of the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are unique because the body cannot create them on its own. The benefits of BCAAs are extensive but studies show they are an effective recovery supplement. While the body can create glutamine on its own, this amino acid is considered essential because of its importance and how rapidly it gets used up. Glutamine has a long list of benefits including sports recovery. Together, BCAAs and glutamine can help you to bounce back faster and stronger from an intense workout. Let’s take a look at how BCAAs and glutamine are the ideal pair of amino acids for recovery. We’ll look at four areas:

Prevent Protein Breakdown (Catabolism)

Recovery starts during your workout. When you train at an intensity higher than your body can handle, you put your muscle tissue at risk of catabolism or protein breakdown. This is when the body starts to use muscle protein – something you worked extremely hard to build – as a fuel source. Thankfully, BCAAs and glutamine can put a stop to this. BCAAs have been shown to fight back against the oxidative stress that is a result of a tough workout. Studies show that BCAAs, particularly isoleucine and valine, prevent current levels of lean muscle tissue from being broken down. What’s more, leucine benefits protein synthesis or the creation of more muscle protein. (1) Glutamine is often used pre- and post-surgery to prevent catabolism. One study found that glutamine was an excellent natural supplement to protect muscle tissue after a complete hip replacement. (2)

Boost Sports Recovery

It’s after the workout that your body will be searching for the essential nutrients to support healing, repair, and recovery. BCAAs for recovery play an important role in supporting healing, growth, and progress. BCAAs are the building blocks of muscle tissue. In other words, your muscle tissue needs BCAAs to heal microtears, get stronger, and grow bigger. As mentioned above, leucine has been shown to increase protein synthesis, an essential process for muscle recovery. (3) The majority of glutamine is found in muscle tissue, and it helps with sports recovery in two ways. First, glutamine can alleviate symptoms of DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. (4) Second, glutamine has been shown to decrease recovery time and increase peak force production sooner. In other words, glutamine can get you back in the weight room faster without compromising your strength and power. (5)

Benefit Immune System and Wound Healing

The immune system protects from colds and illness, but it also plays an essential role in helping us recover after a workout. Yes, exercise is a form of good stress on the body, but when you go through an intense workout, the immune system needs a chance to recover just like your muscles. BCAAs have been shown to be an effective supplement for the immune system for both athletes and post-surgery patients. Studies show that BCAA supplementation can support the immune response and the cells associated with recovery. (6) Those patients who were confined to a bed after a surgery were at risk of poor healing and muscle loss due to inactivity. Studies found that BCAAs helped promote healing while protecting from muscle loss. (7) If there is one amino acid that is hailed as being an ideal immune booster, it’s glutamine. Aside from protecting muscle, glutamine has been shown to help the immune system recover after an intense workout or bout of illness. It’s the preferred amino acid from several coaches and doctors alike as studies found it to be extremely useful for decreasing immunosuppression, fighting infection, and supporting overall recovery. (8)

BCAAs Dosage and Glutamine Dosage: How Much to Take?

What is the ideal BCAA dosage and glutamine dosage? You can safely take up to 20 grams per day of BCAAs and glutamine; however, I’d only recommend two or three 5-gram servings depending on the intensity of your workouts. If you work out several times per week and you are physically active outside the gym, take two servings of each BCAAs and glutamine – a total of 10 grams from each supplement. If you exercise twice per day, then add a third serving to this. Take one serving before your workout and another serving after your workout. If you take a third serving, do so before bed to boost protein synthesis during the night. Taking BCAAs and glutamine can help to decrease muscle soreness, get you ready for your next workout, and improve overall results.
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