The amino acid glutamine has always been a big favourite of bodybuilders and some sportsmen, as it’s been implicated in cell volumisation, boosting growth hormone, immunity and other processes that are useful to active people. One thing it has never been recommended for is burning fat. However, some research suggests that this should be re-considered. A study conducted by researchers at Iowa State University gave a group of subjects a normal meal containing added glutamine or one with the addition of three non-essential amino acids. They then measured how much each meal increased the amount of fat and carbohydrate they burned over the next six hours.

 What they found was that for three hours after the meal the glutamine group burned more carbohydrates and then for the next three hours they burned significantly more fat. In fact, they burned about 50 percent more energy. In the three to six hour phase after the meal, the glutamine group burned 42 more calories than the non-essential amino acid group. That’s a pretty good increase in calorie burning and could make a difference to your waistline over time. The researchers speculate that glutamine had this effect by making the hormone insulin work better in the body, meaning this is probably a healthy way to battle the bulge also! The only problem with the study is that they used a fairly large dose of glutamine (the equivalent of 20 grams in an 80 kilo person).

-Mark Gilbert BSc (Nutrition), CISSN