Are you an athlete struggling with fatigue or frequent infections? You are not alone! Intense exercise, as seen in endurance athletes (e.g. marathon runners, triathletes, etc.) can actually have negative consequences on health and athletic performance. The good news is that the amino acid, glutamine, can help. Multiple studies have demonstrated that glutamine can increase athletic performance and decrease incidence of infections in endurance athletes (1, 2, 3).
Dehydration can have profound negative affects on athletic performance and lead to feelings of fatigue and exhaustion. Staying adequately hydrated is crucial yet may not be enough. One study demonstrated that combining glutamine with rehydration can help blunt the negative consequences of dehydration that occurs in endurance sports more than water does alone. It is speculated that adding glutamine to water intake improves athletic performance by increasing fluid and electrolyte uptake in the gut (1). A second study conducted in athletes demonstrated that glutamine-containing beverages decreased feelings of fatigue and led to improved athletic performance (2).
Increased incidence of infections, particularly upper respiratory tract infections is another problem many endurance athletes face because intense exercise causes suppression of the immune system. Glutamine can counteract this as it serves as an important fuel for immune cells. In a study in marathon runners, decreased upper respiratory tract infections were seen in those who supplemented with 5 g of glutamine immediately after a race (3).
If you are an endurance athlete, glutamine is a supplement you may want to consider to help optimize your athletic performance and immune system. Talk to your naturopathic doctor today to see if glutamine is right for you.