Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


Gettin’ Swole
Posted By Derek Peruo

Glutamine and Arginine: Your new power combo!

This month, my friends at sent me L-Glutamine and Double-Strength L-Arginine from NOW FOODS to review. Let’s jump right in.
Glutamine is an amino acid. It’s mostly found in meats and eggs, and is vital for proper cellular function and repair. It becomes especially valuable to your muscle cells during times of crisis, like after a major injury or, more importantly for us, a very intense workout.
Glutamine is a rather boring supplement, to be honest. There are no amazing jolts of energy or feats of super-human strength. It works quietly in the background, keeping your body happy and healthy.
The NOW brand of glutamine is even more subtle because I had no side effects or ill reactions while taking it, so there was nothing to notice. This is a good thing. G.I. distress reduces performance in the gym, and that’s the last thing we want from our supplements. Props to NOW FOODS for making such a high-quality product. I highly recommend it!
My only issue is the serving size.
The recommended dosage for free-form glutamine is roughly 100 mg per kg of bodyweight. This means I need to ingest about 9 grams of glutamine before I see any useful effects. Based on the serving size of one pill, I would have to take 18 pills after every workout.
I don’t know about you, but 18 pills is a lot. For my money, I’d rather buy a bucket of L-glutamine powder (at 5 grams per serving) and just throw two scoops in my post-workout shake.

Arginine is also an amino acid, and acts as a vasodilator. This enhances wound healing, immune function, and athletic performance by stimulating nitric oxide and creatine production. This translates to lifting more weight, moving faster, and recovering quicker at each workout. Sounds good to me!
The recommended dose for arginine is 5-10 grams pre-workout. Doses up to 20 grams have been used, but watch for G.I. issues at those higher levels.
The NOW brand of L-arginine is perfect for the recommended doses because each pill is 1 gram. And, again, no G.I. discomfort! Brilliant.
Now, just so you know, the research is still out on the muscle-building properties of glutamine supplementation in healthy individuals. Glutamine definintaly helps after serious medical injury, but there is less effect on healthy poplations like us. That said, glutamine also boosts your immune system, as well as other important cellular functions, so there’s no reason not to take glutamine.
Arginine has its own limitations, as well. Humans do a poor job at digesting arginine (regardless of the dose), so very little of it actually makes it into muscle cells. For muscle building, L-Citrulline may be a better alternative due to its higher bioavailibility.
But L-arginine is good for more than just increasing blood flow. It also helps with kidney funciton, insulin sensitivity, and growth hormone levels. And who wouldn’t want higher levels of growth hormone? I know I do, that’s why I plan on keeping arginine in my supplement rotation.
(You are cycling your supplements, right? If not, you should be. We can talk about this later.)
In the mean time, I recommend the following stack:

  • 5-10 grams L-Arginine (or 6-8 grams L-Citrulline) 20-30 minutes pre-workout, followed by…
  • 100 mg per kg bodyweight L-Glutamine immediately post-workout

Check out the offerings has for Glutamine, Arginine and Citrulline. You’ll be glad you did!
Now Glutamine Pills ==>
Now Glutamine Powder ==>
Now Arginine Pills ==>
Now Citrulline Pills ==>
Now Citrulline Powder ==>

Incidentally, if this has got you thinking about your own diet, you might like to swing by Fantastic site.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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Written By Derek Peruo
Derek Peruo, CSCS, is the owner of Renaissance Fitness, an exclusive personal training service based in New York City. He shares his training philosophy via magazines such as Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, and Men's Health. And of course Straight to the Bar.
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.