Glutamine: The Secret Ingredient in The Mountain’s Diet?

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Glutamine for diet
Glutamine for diet

No matter if you are a Game of Thrones fan or not, you surely know who The Mountain is. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, by his birth name, is not a full-time actor (although he might become, thanks to his popularity), but a full-time strongman. A former professional basketball player, standing at 6 feet 9 (206 cm) and an official weight of 400 lbs (181.5 kg), Hafþór shared his daily diet of insane quantities of proteins, a lot of fiber and one ingredient which appears quite a lot of times: glutamine. Let us take a look at this supplement and its role in our lives.

The Mountain’s daily diet

People been asking me a lot about my diet and what I eat! Here’s my diet plan for my preparation for World’s Strongest…

Posted by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (Hafthor Julius Bjornsson) on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

As you can see, aside from the insane quantities, his diet is quite balanced: it has enough protein, fiber and fat, and no refined sugar. An example to be followed, I would say.

But what about glutamine?

Glutamine is an alpha-amino acid used in the synthesis of proteins. It is the most abundant amino acid in the human blood, with a role in a variety of biochemical functions, like regulation of the acid-base balance in the kidney, a source for cellular energy next to glucose, and others.

Glutamine is used in medicine as a component of the oral supplementation meant to reverse muscle wasting in patients with advanced cancer and HIV/AIDS. It also reduces the risk of systemic infections significantly in the case of critically ill patients and those who have suffered abdominal surgery.

Glutamine is found in a number of dietary sources, including meat (beef, pork, chicken), eggs, milk and dairy products, wheat, cabbage, beets, pulses, and parsley.

Glutamine as supplement

Used as a supplement, glutamine helps minimize the breakdown of muscle tissue and improves metabolism. During intense training, the body’s levels of this amino acid are depleted, decreasing stamina and streng, as well as slowing down recovery. It can take up to a week for glutamine levels to return to normal when depleted. As it plays a key role in protein synthesis, and muscles are mostly made of proteins), it is important for it to be present in adequate levels in our body – especially if muscle building or strengthening is our goal.

Aside from helping you build an impressive musculature, glutamine is also helpful in shedding your fat deposits. It stimulates the production of human growth hormone, which helps metabolize body fat, which is helpful if your goal is to lose weight without losing muscle. Besides, it helps the immune system to function properly and removes excess ammonia from your system.

Should I take it?

Normally you don’t have to.

The body produces enough glutamine to maintain its functions, so an average human can make do without any supplementation. Certain conditions, like prolonged stress, injuries or intense training can lower or deplete glutamine levels. In such cases, a supplementation is an option.

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