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BCAAs vs. Glutamine – Which one should you go for?

Glutamine and BCAAs are two most common in sports nutrition for improving recovery and performance. Moreover, these are actively required by the body through diet or made by the body every day.  However, under certain circumstances like hard workouts or lacking of  the said nutrients in the diet, there may be room for deficiency.  

Suggested Read: Whey vs. BCAA- Which is better?

What are BCAAs?

Branched chain amino acids are commonly referred to as BCAAs and these are amino acids that the body doesn’t make on its own therefore it is necessary to ensure their intake through diet or supplementation.

The role of BCAAs is to support lean muscle growth and help prevent muscle wasting. BCAAs promote a longer period of anabolism than catabolism, thereby leading to muscle growth rather than muscle loss. They also aid in fat oxidation thereby leading to reduced fat% levels in addition to also increasing the endurance levels.

What is Glutamine?

Unlike BCAAs, Glutamine is readily available in the body and is, in fact, the most common amino acid to be found in the body.

Glutamine plays a bigger role in the body; from helping the body absorb and metabolize and use protein to boosting the immune system. It also helps maintain a positive nitrogen balance by preventing muscle breakdown, helping in muscle growth and development by increasing the release of Growth Hormone.

The role of Glutamine is to ensure fat burning without losing muscle mass (which commonly happens amongst those who do cardio).  It is directly linked to the synthesis of protein in the body, speeding up the process of healing post workout as well as post injury. It also increases the production of antibodies, thereby strengthening the immune system.

Suggested Read: ABCs about BCAAs: All That You Need To Know About Essential Aminos

Which one is better?

It is difficult to come up with a definitive answer to this since both, glutamine and BCAAs are equally important. Rather than going for any one you can aim at getting enough of both. Although, glutamine being an amino acid that is easily available in protein food sources and also made in the body itself, you may just need to ensure you get enough of the amino acid through these foods. While you can take BCAAs in supplemental form to support the exercising muscles. The best time to take BCAAs is both and after workout, ideally 30-60 minutes before working out, and another dose within 30-60 minutes post workout. As for glutamine, you can take it first thing in the morning or immediately after workout or before bedtime.

 

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