• L-Glutamine Q & A with Dr. Victor Prisk (& Giveaway)

    November 28, 2012

    For the past several weeks, I’ve taken Pro Performance L-Glutamine Powder after all of my workouts for post-workout recovery and to help heal the epithelial cells in my small intestine. (GNC sent me some Pro Performance L-Glutamine Powder as part of a program with Fitfluential.)

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    When I visited my G.I. doctor a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned to his nurse practitioner that I was taking L-Glutamine Powder. She said some of her IBD patients find it helpful, so she said to keep taking it if I was having success with it. Since then, I’ve taken the L-Glutamine Powder mixed with water (it’s flavorless) 1-2 times a day, and it seems to be keeping my colon healthy and happy!

    Recently, I had the opportunity to interview one of the doctors on GNC’s Medical Advisory Board by email, so I asked him all about L-Glutamine. His bio and our Q & A are below.

    Dr. Victor R. Prisk is an assistant professor and board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine specializing in the care of physique athletes, dancers and gymnasts.

    During his fellowship training, Dr. Prisk specialized in dance medicine and sports foot and ankle surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He actively researches the biology of tissue healing and the role of nutrition in surgical care and is inventor of the G.A.I.N. Plan for life-long goal attainment.

    Dr. Prisk is an avid writer in multiple medical journals and fitness magazines, and has been featured on several national and local television and radio programs discussing overall health, fitness and the benefits of sports nutrition.

    Dr. Prisk is an NCAA All-American gymnast from Iowa State University and Michigan State University and graduated with honors from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. While in medical school, Dr. Prisk performed across the country as a professional swing dancer with his troupe Hep Cat Swing and, during his orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh, became interested in body building, translating his research in sports nutrition and muscle injury to success on the competitive stage. In 2009, he won the International Federation of Body Building (IFBB) North American Championships and proceeded to earn his IFBB pro-card with a win at the 2010 National Physique Committee National Championships.

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    What is L-Glutamine?

    L-Glutamine is a naturally occurring nonessential amino acid and is the most abundant free amino acid in human plasma and muscle. Glutamine plays many roles in human metabolism. It acts as a building block for proteins, purines & pyrimidines (DNA/RNA), and amino sugars . It is used as cellular fuel for the intestines, skin, muscle, and immune system. It is the amino acid that is most easily converted to glucose by gluconeogenesis in the liver. It has a role in pH balance and is a precursor to the antioxidant glutathione.

    Who should take L-Glutamine?

    Prolonged moderate to high intensity exercise is associated with a decrease in intramuscular and plasma glutamine concentrations. Thus glutamine supplementation becomes important in restoring those levels and maintaining metabolic function. Also, in times of dieting with low or very low carbohydrate intake, glutamine can help spare the conversion of branched-chain amino acids from muscle to glucose by acting as the main substrate for gluconeogenesis and thus maintaining stable blood glucose levels.

    What are the benefits of using L-Glutamine?

    Over a long period of intense training it is hypothesized that the chronic reduction in plasma glutamine levels may be, in part, responsible for the decreased immune function observed in some endurance athletes. Furthermore, intense training can lead to an increase in gut permeability that can make an athlete more vulnerable to pathogens. Since glutamine can become a “conditionally essential” amino acid in times of stress it should be supplemented in order to fuel immune cells and the cells of the intestinal lining. Also, glutamine consumed with essential amino acids and carbohydrates have been shown in combination to improve athletic performance.

    What is the benefit of taking L-Glutamine in powder form?

    Since glutamine is often taken in amounts up to and sometimes greater than 5 grams, it is often easier to mix them into a drink or shake than chug a bunch of pills. Unflavored glutamine really has very little taste and mixes well in liquids. Additionally, taking glutamine in a drink leads to more rapid absorption.

    I’ve heard L-Glutamine can help with health conditions such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Can you tell me more about these claims?

    The fact that glutamine is a preferred substrate for enterocytes (lining of the gut) and other rapidly dividing cells such as immune cells suggests that it may play a beneficial role in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Crohn’s or UC. Studies show that glutamine levels are remarkably low in the lining of severely inflamed intestines. It is hypothesized that glutamine could improve intestinal integrity, barrier function, antioxidant defenses, and have anti-inflammatory effects. Also, glutamine regulates the survival and growth of bacteria in the intestine thus playing a supportive role to probiotics. A human study of glutamine supplementation at 0.5g/kg per day for 2 months demonstrated improvement in intestinal permeability and morphology in Crohn’s disease patients.

    How often and how much L-Glutamine should one take?

    The average daily intake of glutamine from dietary protein is about 3–6 g/d when consuming recommended amounts of protein. Most studies have examined doses between 5 to 10g/day of additional glutamine without any adverse effects. As mentioned earlier, much higher doses ranging from 20-50g/day have been used in studies on inflammatory bowel diseases.

    Is it safe to use? Are there any side effects?

    No adverse side effects to glutamine supplementation even with supplementation of 20–30 g have been reported in healthy athletes. Studies done on pediatric cancer and Crohn’s patients have shown no significant adverse effects of glutamine supplementation up to 0.65g per kg body weight. The only caution might be to those who have kidney disease and they should consult with their physician.

    Did you learn something new? I definitely did! Did you catch the part about glutamine and probiotics? Interesting, right? And now it’s time for a giveaway!

    Here’s your chance to win an 8-ounce container of Pro Performance L-Glutamine Powder from GNC!

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    To enter: Just leave a comment on this post about why you’d like to try the Pro Performance L-Glutamine Powder. Earn an extra entry by clicking over to GNC, shopping around, and leaving a second comment about a product that you would like to try. I’ll randomly pick 5 winners tomorrow.

    Good luck!

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    { 409 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jill Will Run November 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I like to try it. The part about gut permeability caught my eye. Since I started distance running on 2007, I’ve had a lot of digestive troubles. :-(

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    Sam November 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    This is perfect because I’ve been meaning to pick some up!

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    hillary November 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I would love to try it as I up my mileage and increase exercise overall. Seems like it could only help in training recovery!

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    lindsay November 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    i could use some more help in the recovery area … i usually skimp on stretching and foam rolling and active recovery so this could help

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    liz November 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I CrossFit so I’m a huge fan of high intensity workouts. I’d like to see if this really helps me feel better and more balanced.

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    Joanna Broadbent November 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I would like to try it for recovery purposes as well as colon health! I had no idea it helped with those issues!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

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    liz November 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I’d like to try the probiotics from GNC. I tried taking some from another brand for about a week but I felt sick so I stopped. Maybe I’d fare better with GNC’s version?

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    Kim November 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I’ve had a noticeable increase in how my digestive system seems to be more easily stressed with eating certain foods. I have decided to try a Paleo diet for the next 30 days to see if there are certain foods that trigger these “rolling-boil” stomachaches. If L-Glutamine can help with colon and gut health, I’d love to give that a try as well! Thank you for considering me!

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    Melanie November 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I’ve actually heard a lot of good things about L-Glutamine as a supplement. I’d love to try it!

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    meg November 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Oooo, I have been wanting to try this since seeing it on your blog. I would love to know if it would help me recover faster from my workouts. I have a tough time doing more than 2 intense workouts a week because I am so sore and still have two little ones to care for at home!

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    Nicole November 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I would love to try it! I have digestive issues that as of yet haven’t been linked to anything so is probiotics and monitoring my diet, would love to see if L-Glutamine would help! It also talked about how your immune system goes down with training and it always seems my stomach issues get worse when i increase my mileage.

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    Megan Infantino November 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I would love to try it because as I train for my first marathon, I think it would definitely come in handy in helping me find balance.

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    Charmaine November 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Id love to try Glutamine to help my muscles after crossfit.

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    Sara @ fitcupcaker.com November 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I would like to try it b/c its fuel for your muscles and immune system. I work out a lot and use protein powder and pre workout supplements but I would like to try something new!

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    Deb@funrungirl November 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I would like to try it for the benefits it may have on my gut and colon, and for muscle recovery.

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    Kylie @ immaeatthat November 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I’m always hesitant about supplements but after many doctors appointments and tests that haven’t given me a reason for my stomach pain I’m ready to try something new!

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    Lauren Burke November 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I would love to try this product because I am always looking for ways to help my body recover during training cycles!

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    Deb@funrungirl November 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I would like to try any of their probiotic products.

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    Lauren Burke November 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I would really like to try a protein powder from GNC! I’ve been thinking about incorporating protein powder into my diet because I want to start building muscles (possibly through CrossFit!)

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    Megan November 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I’m curious how this differs from BCAA’s?

    I’d love to try it.. something new for recovery!

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    Nicole November 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I would like to try this product because I crossfit and run and it would be helpful if the recovery was quicker.

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    Laurel C November 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I run and work out a lot, and have always been interested in taking glutamine! From what I hear I think it could help me a lot!

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    Megan November 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I’d love to try some of the GNA Ultra Probiotics

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    Nicole November 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I just went to the GNC website. There are a lot of things on sale right now and I just placed on order for the triple strength fish oil since I was due for some anyway.

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    Laurel C November 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I’d also like to try their protein powders and probiotics!!

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    Debbie November 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I love recovery products and of course anything from GNC is usually high quality. I haven’t been disappointed with their products yet. I’ve recently started focusing on more strength training so this would be great for after my work outs!

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    Debbie November 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Wow they have so man amazing casein flavors! I’d also love to really try some of those, I mean cookie dough? Yes please!

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    Amy November 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Love to have something that may help with recovery!!!

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    Sara November 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I’d love to try this powder! I’ve been hearing a lot about L-Glutamine lately!!

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    Abby Rogers November 28, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I would like to try l-glutamine to see if it would help with my stomach/colon issues!

    Reply

    Abby Rogers November 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I would also like to try the GNC vitapacks!

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    Giana November 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I have been taking L-Glutamine in pill form since July and would love to try the powder now! It would be a good experiment to see if I notice any differences between the two!

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    Laura November 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I’d love to try this! I actually didn’t know it was good for performance/recovery. My Naturopath always said it was good for sugar cravings. Said if you were desperate you could dissolve it under your tongue for instant help with cravings. Why did I never try it? I don’t know. Cynicism?

    Reply

    Laura November 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Oh, and second entry, I’d love to try the B-15 zip melts. I hear they’re also good for seasonal depression.

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    Sarah November 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I was just diagnosed with an IBD, so may be nice to try the glutamine powder.

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    Katie November 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Taking L-Glutamine is one of the only supplements I take. I take it in chewable form and GNC is discontinuing it — BIG SAD FACE! So I’d love to try the powder form.

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    Laura C. November 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I’d love to try it and see how it helps me recover after workouts or long runs!

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    Laura C. November 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I would definitely like to try some of the protein powders!

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    Tiffany November 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    I would like to see if this will help with my recovery after hard workouts. Thanks, Tina!

    Reply

    Tiffany November 28, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Second entry, I would love to try the egg white vanilla protein power in smoothies, pancakes, and baked goods.

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    Ariel November 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Sounds interesting! I would love to try it to see if it helps with recovery after a hard workout!

    Reply

    Ariel November 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Their herbal liver cleanse products seem interesting too!

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    Sarah November 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I’d also like to try some Aromatherapy Peppermint Oil.

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    Julie November 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I have been suffering with IBS for over 2 years and I haven’t seem to find something to help. I would definitely love to give this a go!

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    Julie November 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Their probiotics look very good!! I have been bouncing back and fourth between a few.

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    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles November 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I tend to have stomach issues and I’m trying to put on muscle – this could be beneficial for both!

    Reply

    Jo Hsu November 28, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I’d love the chance to try L-Glutamine and see if it improves my IBS symptoms. Thanks for the opportunity!

    Reply

    Jo Hsu November 28, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Also because of my IBS and extreme dairy intolerance, I can’t take whey or casein in any form, so I’d love to try GNC’s egg proteins.

    Reply

    Julie November 28, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I would love to try this not for myself, but my dad who has had a double lung transplant and his rejection meds damage his colon and gi tract and he can’t take probiotics (no yogurt, fermented foods, etc) because they could kill him because of no immune system. This sounds like a great tool to aid in his chronic IBD that is not treatable.

    Reply

    melissa November 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I would love to try this because I’m a runner with IBS problems! I am ready to try anything (:

    Reply

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