Glutamine Vs BCAAs: Which One Should You Take?
If you are trying to build muscle, or keep on the muscle you already have, you probably have heard of a lot of different supplements. It can be hard to decide which ones to use, and especially hard when two products seem to target the same things. Two such items are glutamine and BCAAs.
Many fitness experts use both glutamine and BCAAs, but there is a time and a place for both of them in your fitness routine. If you are trying to narrow down the supplements you use, you may choose to use just one of these supplements. While there are benefits to both, which we will discuss below, there is also a clear winner between these two supplements.
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Last update on 2018-02-19 PST - Details
What Is Glutamine?
Glutamine is an essential amino acid that our body does not make naturally. To get the correct amount of glutamine, you need to eat foods that are high in this amino acid. Glutamine is present is foods like meat, eggs, and dairy. Whey and casein proteins have very high levels of glutamine, and most people are not deficient in this amino acid. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you may be low on glutamine because you don’t eat the foods that it is regularly present in.
This amino acid helps your body build muscle and keep current muscle on. Glutamine is often contained in your whey protein for the benefits it contains for muscle mass. Your cells use glutamine as a fuel source, and they actually prefer to use it versus glucose.
What Are BCAAs?
BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids, are a supplement many people take. Our bodies are made up of twenty essential amino acids, which means that our body does not produce these naturally. Our body relies on getting this amino acids from outside sources. We need all twenty amino acids in our body, but BCAAs contain three amino acids that are especially important for muscle building.
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BCAAs contain leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three amino acids work together to help your body produce and maintain more muscle. BCAAs have also shown to give the athlete more energy. Leucine is the amino acid that works to produce more muscle. It is important for muscle synthesis. Isoleucine creates more glucose within muscle cells.
Valine has been shown to reduce fatigue, and allow the individual taking it to work out harder. These three BCAAs work together to ensure the athlete has everything they need to work out harder and build more muscle.
Glutamine VS BCAA
The real question here is, which one is better to take? The answer varies a lot. Glutamine has been shown to be helpful for building muscle when someone struggles with their immune system. What this means is that glutamine is great for those who have a preexisting condition that may get in the way of them producing and maintaining their muscle. Glutamine is definitely needed in the body, but most people get adequate amounts of it in their diet.
The people who should be taking glutamine are vegans, vegetarians, and those with preexisting diseases that need to build and maintain more muscle than they already have. If you regularly take a whey protein shake, you don’t need to worry about adding glutamine into your supplement routine. Glutamine is in protein in very high levels, so your body really doesn’t need any more than the amount it gets from the protein you are already consuming.
Glutamine is actually present in a lot of our bodies. It makes over half of our skeletal muscles. The tricky part about glutamine is that research hasn’t shown that it is an effective supplement for those who get excess amounts in building muscle. It has been shown to help those with weak immune systems, but not those of the average person. Glutamine won’t hurt you to take more of it, so if you want to keep it in your supplement routine it doesn’t hurt.
However, there are some benefits that glutamine does present that don’t directly relate to muscle growth. Glutamine helps your body to recover faster and better because it keeps your cells hydrated. And while it doesn’t directly produce more muscle, glutamine does increase the production of your growth hormones that help build muscle. It also helps your digestive system absorb more nutrients in your body, and it keeps you healthy. Glutamine can also be used to keep fat off. It helps you burn fat without losing the muscle you already have. This is a big concern for many people, so if you have this problem then glutamine is the way to go.
However, if you are choosing between glutamine and BCAAs, branched chain amino acids are going to be the number one choice. Unlike glutamine, BCAAs have been researched time and time again to show that they are effective in helping to build muscle quickly. The three BCAAs in this supplement work together with your body to produce the best environment for your muscles to grow. BCAAs work well because they take nitrogen into your muscle cells. This promotes the period of anabolism, which is when your muscles grow larger.
BCAAs don’t stop there. They also decrease the period your body spends in catabolism, which is when your muscles break down. So, your body stays in anabolism longer, and stays in catabolism for shorter periods of time. This leads to a longer period of muscle growth, and a shorter period of muscle loss. Your muscles absorb leucine, isoleucine, and valine to produce stronger and better muscles. Your muscle fibers remain strong is stature when taking BCAAs, which means your endurance will last longer too.
While glutamine plays a big role in your body, BCAAs play a more precise role. They fuel your muscles to work harder and faster for longer periods of time. Your body will produce more insulin while taking BCAAs, and you will create better muscle mass. These BCAAs are extremely important if you are looking to bulk up your muscle mass.
If you have to choose one, BCAAs will get you the better results for muscle mass. However, if you take both, you will be better equipped in the long run. Your body can benefit from both glutamine and BCAAs, so these two supplements are awesome to keep in your workout routine.
When Do I Take Them?
Using these supplements correctly is much more important than choosing between the two. If you don’t take them at the right time, you might as well not take them at all. BCAAs and glutamine differ a lot on when you take them.
As mentioned earlier, glutamine plays more of an overall role in your routine than a direct role in your workout. Because of this, you will want your body fueled with this amino acid throughout the day. You want to be sure that you get enough of this amino acid right when you wake up, after your workout, and before you sleep at night. Because this amino acid is high in eggs, dairy, and meat, you could easily get this amino acid in the food you are eating. However, if you choose to take the supplement, take it at breakfast, in your protein shake after a workout, and at dinner or a late night snack.
Taking BCAAs is a little bit different than glutamine. Since BCAAs play a very precise role in your workout regimen, the time to take it is directly related to when you workout. Before you choose to workout, take this supplement a half hour or an hour before your workout. This will supply your muscles with the added endurance to work out harder and better. Once you complete your workout, you will want to add this supplement to your protein shake and take it 30 to 60 minutes after working out. This will ensure that your muscles recover with enough of these three important amino acids in their system.
Choosing between these two supplements relies in what you are looking to get out of your workout. While both of these supplements are good to take, they each play a different role in your routine. For those who are looking to lose fat, but keep on their muscle, glutamine is the best amino acid to take. However, if you are looking to gain more muscle mass, BCAAs will be the most helpful for you.