BCAAs vs Glutamine – Which One Wins?


When it comes to giving your body what it needs to recover, which works better – BCAAs or glutamine?

Glutamine is one of 20 amino acids that influence health and wellness in the human body, and it’s technically categorized as non-essential because the body can create it from other nutrients.

But, it’s often referred to as conditionally essential because it’s quickly used up in supporting immunity, digestive health, and fitness goals.

On the other hand, the body can’t create the essential amino acids that make up BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine so the body must get them from food or supplements.

Like glutamine, BCAAs also have a unique responsibility for our health, but is one necessarily better than the other?

Let’s find out!

Boosting Athletic Performance

Boost Performance

Everyone wants to perform better and last longer during a workout.

The Case For Glutamine:

Glutamine has been shown to reduce intra-workout fatigue in endurance athletes or anyone who has long workouts or training periods.

The Case For BCAAs:

BCAAs have been shown to do the same thing, but they take the fatigue-reduction one step further.

Researchers found that BCAAs support workout performance while protecting against the oxidative stress on muscle mass. Due to the anti-catabolic nature of BCAAs, they protect muscle from breakdown while they support performance.

Verdict: BCAAs appear to be the winner!

Speeding Up Sports Recovery

Faster Recovery

The Case For Glutamine:

Glutamine can help you bounce back faster post-workout.

Some studies suggest that glutamine can decrease muscle soreness, one of the factors in limited performance. It may also be able to support the healing and recovery of muscle tissue.

The Case For BCAAs:

Similarly, as the building blocks of muscle tissue, BCAAs promote recovery.

Studies show that BCAAs, especially leucine, boost protein synthesis which is one of the key factors in muscle recovery.

What’s more, studies have found that BCAAs can decrease muscle soreness after an intense workout. Again, BCAAs can repair while they protect.

Verdict: Overall when it comes to sports recovery BCAAs win again!

Supporting Muscle Building

Muscle Building

The Case For Glutamine:

More than 60 percent of glutamine is found in muscle tissue, cementing its role as an important muscle builder.

Glutamine has been shown to support growth hormone production and protein synthesis, two essential processes for supporting muscle mass.

Glutamine also spares your muscle glycogen, ensuring fat and glucose are used as fuel sources

The Case For BCAAs:

As mentioned above, BCAAs are the foundation of muscle tissue.

Leucine has been shown to kickstart protein synthesis while isoleucine and valine play a protective role, keeping muscle protein from being used as a fuel source. The result? More muscle.

Verdict: BCAAs are more important that Glutamine when it comes to building muscle.

Protecting the Immune System

Protect Immune System

Did you know our immunity takes a hit after an intense workout?

The harder the workout, the bigger the hit. As our immune system scrambles to recover, we become vulnerable to illness.

The Case For Glutamine:

Glutamine has been shown to promote muscle-healing after a workout, but more importantly, it can help the immune system recover.

Studies show that glutamine supplementation can lower risks of infection while decreasing the immunosuppression that takes place during heavy-load lifting.

The Case For BCAAs:

BCAAs can also improve immunity and cell function.

Studies show that BCAA supplementation can reduce damage to the immune system and muscle tissue incurred during an intense lifting session.

Verdict: When it comes to boosting immunity it appears that Glutamine wins!

Combining BCAAs with Glutamine

Although BCAAs are essential, glutamine gets rapidly used up in a number of day-to-day bodily processes such as digestion, muscle recovery, and immune support.

Without a doubt, I recommend supplementing with glutamine each day; one five-gram serving is fine for a normal person. If you’re particularly active, I’d say double the serving.

That being said, BCAAs are the clear winner here and combining glutamine with BCAAs is a smart choice for the athlete, fitness enthusiast, or an overly active person.

Since glutamine is such a cost-effective supplement, I highly recommend using it with BCAAs.

BCAAs and glutamine can complement one another to increase fitness results, boost your immune response, and support your post-workout recovery.

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