L-Glutamine – How Amino Acids Can Prevent Muscle Loss


L-Glutamine, an amino acid naturally occurring in the body, has been widely prescribed as supplements for a variety of reasons. One such reason is prevention of muscle loss. This article describes the great role of amino acids, especially L-Glutamine, in the prevention of muscle loss.

Glutamine occurs abundantly in our muscle cells. It is in fact a semi-essential amino acid, since our body can produce the amino acid naturally to meet its physiological demands. L-glutamine seems to turn out to be an essential amino acid for people like serious strength-trainers, athletes, weight lifters, etc.

After nearly 20 years of research, it has been proved that exercising, stressful or a traumatic situation can cause muscle tissues to release huge amounts of L-Glutamine. Extreme exercises may deplete 34-50% of the vital amino acid, whereas glutamine from food accounts to a mere 4-8%. Thus during intense exercise periods, muscles release glutamine as well as many other amino acids into the blood stream.

Glutamine is transferred by the blood to other body tissues, where it is used up as a fuel. Thus glutamine is not only used as a means to preserve the muscle, but also used up by the immune system in large amounts. The reserves are depleted over every exercise period. With low glutamine levels, the muscles receive inadequate supplies, thus leading to loss of muscle and strength.

Alternatively, L-Glutamine is proved a great anti-catabolic agent, protecting the muscle from the catabolic effects of cortisol hormone. L-Glutamine contributes largely to the muscle cell volume. L-Glutamine can prevent muscle loss, especially through its following actions.

· Boosts up protein synthesis for improving muscle growth as well as recovery

· Increases glycogen levels through accelerated synthesis, especially soon after a workout

· Determines muscle’s contractile properties and spares glycogen stores (myosin heavy chain proteins) in the muscle

· Recuperates faster from weight training workouts

· Lowers muscle protein catabolism, particularly during dieting conditions

· Enhances nitrogen retention in the muscles

· Promotes the synthesis of growth hormones

Owing to its anti-catabolic properties, L-Glutamine seems to work best during the cutting up phase for most individuals. This phase refers to the one, when an individual tries to lose fat and simultaneously builds muscle. Besides, higher growth hormone levels can help in burning off fat and building more muscle.

L-Glutamine is available in both powder form as well as a pill form. If the consumption of high glutamine levels during intense exercises is not replaced by glutamine supplements, it leads to an increased risk of illness owing to weakening of body as well as the immune system. Moreover, the glutamine supplements are indispensable in order to maintain the built muscles. L-Glutamine is widely available and is used as a central supplement in anti aging treatments.

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The Benefits of Saving Muscle As We Age

Almost 50% of people over the age of 60 suffer from some level of muscle loss, to the point that it is affecting their health. This is referred to as sarcopenia. It can be as serious as osteoporosis (bone loss), but most people aren’t aware of it.

Why does this muscle loss take place as we age? Some of the reasons include:

gender differences – Women start out with less muscle, so when they lose it, there are bigger consequences.

diet changes – As we age, many of us eat less. And, in particular, we eat less protein.

loss of nerve cells – In addition to losing brain cells as we age, we also lose motor nerve cells that send messages to our muscles.

not enough muscle stimulating exercise – If we don’t do the right kind of physical activity regularly, our muscles start to deteriorate at the rate of over 10% per decade.

slow down of muscle metabolism – Our ability to make muscle protein decreases as we age.

genetic differences – Some people just have good genes.
And What Are the Consequences of This Muscle Loss?

There are a number of ways that muscle loss can affect your health, here are a few:

poorer balance – Muscles are crucial for maintaining balance. The more muscle you lose, the more likely you are to suffer falls.

weaker bones – Muscles put stress on bones, which makes the bones stronger. People who lose muscle have less healthy stress on their bones and will end up with weaker bones.

decreased metabolism – Most of your calories are burned by your muscles. The less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn and the more your body stores as fat.

muscle marbling – More fat is deposited in your muscle cells, which can lead to insulin resistance and and an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Wow! I think you can see that muscle loss can be a very big problem. So, what can you do about it? The simple answer is – resistance exercise.

Two months of resistance training can increase a person’s strength by 40%. That means you can reverse the affects of two decades of muscle loss in 60 days. The most important thing to remember to reduce muscle loss is to strengthen the big muscles around the thighs, shoulders, arms and back. This can be done with as few as 6 exercises.


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