Catering to Your Macronutrients

catering-to-your-macrosFor anyone looking to build and retain muscle while slimming down, macronutrients like glutamine (also known as L-glutamine) and BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are essential for the body to metabolize protein, gain energy, prevent muscle loss, maintain intestinal functioning and boost their immune system response. It’s critical for anyone on a strict training regimen to consider supplementing with both glutamine and BCAAs to produce their desired results at an accelerated pace and get the maximum efficiency with their workouts. For those who are unfamiliar with these nutrients, here’s a brief breakdown of what they’re all about and how they work.


First, take a look at glutamine, the most common amino acid in muscle tissue. Glutamine is the most plentiful amino acid in your body’s bloodstream, and it has a number of powerful benefits. Although glutamine is created naturally within the body, it’s easily depleted, especially with intense workouts. Reduced glutamine decreases strength, stamina and quick recovery times. Studies have shown that supplementing glutamine, even at levels as low as 2 grams, can multiply muscle growth hormones by as much as 400 percent — nitrogen is transported to your muscles’ cells, protein is metabolized, and the body’s immune system stays strong. Without supplementation, glutamine levels can take up to six days to return to their normal levels following your workouts.

Glutamine helps your body synthesize protein and maintain muscle strength and size during training. It aids in hydrating and preserving muscle volume, speeding up recovery times and healing from injuries. It also strengthens and energizes the immune system, which is very important for bodybuilders, whose immune systems can be weakened or overloaded by constant workouts, making them more vulnerable to illness.

For the intestines, glutamine helps maintain structural integrity and prevents Leaky Gut Syndrome, a key cause of weight gain. Glutamine even helps cure intestinal ulcers, and studies have shown that supplementing at least 1.6 grams per day resulted in a 92 percent cure rate for ulcers over a four-week period.

The recommended levels for glutamine supplementation are two to three servings of 5 grams daily, for a total of 10 to 15 grams. Glutamine should be consumed in the morning, after workouts and before bedtime for maximum benefits.


BCAAs consist of three essential varieties: valine, leucine and isoleucine. BCAAs simplify the task of converting amino acids into energy during intense muscle exertion. BCAAs make up roughly 35 percent of your body’s muscle tissue. They’re essential because they’re unable to be formed from other amino acids — BCAAs need to come from either food, supplements or both.

At least 40 percent of your body’s nine daily required amino acids are BCAAs. BCAAs are primarily found in foods that are high in protein, such as salmon, beef, chicken, eggs and whey. Supplemented BCAAs are even more efficient than consumed BCAAs because they bypass the gut and the liver, going directly into the bloodstream. Higher levels of BCAAs mean a slower breakdown of muscle cells and a greater prevention of muscle loss.

As might be expected, BCAAs inhibit and delay muscle fatigue and breakdown. They trigger the process of protein synthesis and improve glucose uptake. These processes help minimize muscle loss even when your body is not undergoing training; testosterone is increased and cortisol is reduced. When you’re working out, BCAAs reduce soreness during recovery time and improve metabolism, which produces energy. Greater consumption of BCAAs is identified with leaner body shapes and greater muscle mass. BCAAs have even been studied as indicators of longevity.

BCAAs are most effective when consumed with meals and taken before and after workouts. A 4 to 1 ratio of leucine to the other BCAAs is ideal for muscle growth; many bodybuilders try to ensure that their BCAA mixtures consist of about 40 percent leucine. The older you are, the more essential all BCAAs are to fully synthesize proteins and burn fat. Recommended amounts for total BCAAs are 5 to 10 grams per supplement, especially if they’re taken early in the day.

In conclusion, both glutamine and BCAAs can immensely benefit you if you’re working out and trying to preserve muscle gains while losing weight. When training, it’s critical to protect your immune system and leverage your protein intake. The benefits of both glutamine and BCAAs are undeniable. Supplement with both, and see your hard work pay off faster with more productivity and less fatigue. Give your body the tools it needs to realize the greatest gains from your efforts, and maintain a lean figure even when you’re taking a break from training.

James Steadman is a staff writer for Richard’s Foodporium. For more of his work, visit