There are infinite varieties of sports supplements. But not many are more frequent and famous than creatine and glutamine. Both compounds carry different tasks and benefits. The main question comes down to which is going to work best for your specific goals.
We’ll discuss the science-backed benefits, uses, and everything you need to know for an informed decision in this glutamine vs creatine showdown.
Glutamine vs Creatine - The primary difference between creatine and glutamine lies in their function. Creatine backs up energy supply, pushing you to go harder at training. Glutamine largely remains inefficient regarding muscle growth and exercise performance. Its real charm is associated with the immune and digestive systems.
What Is Glutamine?
Glutamine is one of twenty amino acids that helps to up protein. It exists as l-glutamine and d-glutamine. The food and supplements contain the former type. Although it’s the most abundant amino acid in the body, there are times when its need exceeds the production levels. Therefore, it’s classified as conditionally essential and must be taken from external sources in the case of illness, physiological stress, trauma, burn, or injury.
Glutamine is one of many immunonutrients, including omega-3 and BCAAs. It's responsible for cell proliferation, glycogen synthesis, ammonia buffering, tissue growth, acid-base control, and several other key functions in the body. Many researchers and fitness coaches have wagered on glutamine supplementation to do miracles for athletes. The truth is, taking extra glutamine imparts no dividends to athletic performance and body composition. A redeeming factor is that glutamine is completely safe and well-tolerated, even at 50-60 grams. Its recommended dosage for muscle growth isn't established due to the relative inefficacy in that context.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally-occurring product of three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine. Some of it is synthesized in your kidneys and liver. The rest is derived from a protein-rich diet. It supports the rapid recycling of ATP – our body's energy “currency” – at the cellular level. Your body produces about 1-3 grams of creatine a day.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition has issued a detailed opinion on the ergogenic benefits of creatine-based supplements. It recounts significant improvement in HIIT sessions, resistance training, and muscular adaptations. Creatine strengthens the neuroprotection of the brain and spinal cord. It doesn't only boost workout quality but also takes charge of injury prevention and rehabilitation. Furthermore, there are no side effects apart from a harmless increase in total body water and body weight.
Glutamine vs Creatine: Differences
The major difference between creatine and glutamine is how they work. While glutamine is involved in protein synthesis and breakdown, creatine goes on to fill skeletal muscles’ energy pockets. In fitness spheres, both supplements have plenty of die-hard fans as well as critics.
Let’s sort through available research and settle this creatine vs glutamine debate.
1. Muscle Gain and Exercise Performance
A handful of safe supplements can add muscle mass when combined with exercise. And creatine is one of them. Out of 250 aids studied, creatine scored the highest gains in lean muscles and strength output. It makes sense since phosphocreatine regenerates ATP during maximal muscle effort. You'll be able to sprint longer, jump higher, and lift heavier if muscles are thoroughly saturated with creatine. A 4-week study revealed 18% improvement in cycling and 6% 1RM bench press.
Glutamine helps to build protein. Therefore, many researchers have hypothesized its role in muscle growth and exercise performance but to no avail. For example, this controlled study declared glutamine supplementation ineffective for muscle performance and body composition. Another effort to disclose short-term effects on weightlifting, akin to creatine loading, remained unsuccessful.
2. Muscle Soreness and Recovery
There are two kinds of soreness. That acute feeling of burn and sensation is short-lived. The delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) peaks a day or two later. It mostly follows eccentric motion, i.e., lowering dumbbells when curling. Muscle damage and spasms are more likely when you train for maximum intensity and duration. What should you choose as a recovery potion: l-glutamine or creatine monohydrate?
Creatine hasn't been researched as fiercely for post-workout responses as for power and performance. Whatever evidence we have points toward its remarkable utility. For example, creatine supplementation can enhance muscle force recovery after eccentrically-induced muscle damage. It also restores glycogen content within one day. Glycogen, a form of carbohydrate, is a critical energy substrate during high-intensity exercise and post-workout muscle recovery. Similarly, prolonged strenuous rounds also decrease plasma glutamine concentration. Supplementing was once again thought to ward off muscle damage, soreness, and fatigue. But there might be a huge performance gap between naturally produced and orally ingested glutamine. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology recorded changes in carbohydrate storage before and after glutamine intake. The results were minimal, as the majority of supplemented glutamine excreted without reaching plasma.
3. Body Systems and Functions
Proteins are critical for all bodily processes, from metabolic reactions and tissue repair to fluid regulation and nutrient transport. When you take l-glutamine or creatine, you might expect a boost in some of these functions. The brain stores a limited quantity of creatine. With long-term supplementation, you can refine cognition, memory, and calmness. Glutamine has a free pass to enter the brain and transmit messages. Its supplementation is also considered in some neurological disorders.
The ace card of glutamine is ensuring immunity against infections and diseases. At least one study has found fewer infections in runners on glutamine. Its non-availability gives way to immunosuppression, a state of the immune response dysfunction. The bulk of these stunts are due to intestinal health. Intestines host legions of bacteria and toxins. Glutamine reinforces the barrier, hence improving gut health. Immune cells and enterocytes seem to be always “hungry” for glutamine, removing the excess supplement before it may penetrate plasma concentration. Not to say that your body can't meet daily requirements by itself - a healthy human body can synthesize up to 80g/day! A few cases of overtraining and illness might compromise the defenses. Glutamine supplements are a mainstay of IBS management.
Glutamine vs Creatine: Summary
We’ve seen that l-glutamine and creatine are widely-researched ingredients. They’re found plentifully in meat and dairy products. Despite identical dietary sources, they serve very different purposes. The benefits of glutamine supplements for athletes are next to none. It owes its wild popularity to marketing hype, not real ergogenic effects.
Creatine monohydrate shores up energy reservoirs, letting you get the most out of short ‘n’ sour bouts. You may burn extra calories, put on lean muscles, get rid of some fat, and whatnot. Glutamine supports various healthy functions, including protein synthesis and the digestive system. The body produces enough to carry out core duties in ordinary circumstances. Still unsure? Look at the pros and cons of each.
Pros and Cons of Glutamine
Glutamine supplements can enhance immunity against diseases, infections, and germs.
It strengthens intestinal lining, containing harmful bacteria and toxins.
It influences symptoms of diarrhea and Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It’s a critical anti-inflammatory fuel for immune cells, gut microbiome.
Could be better:
Aside from above Glutamine has no direct effect on exercise performance, body composition, and muscle growth or recovery.
Pros and Cons of Creatine
Creatine fills up energy stocks, helping you exercise heavier and longer.
You can build fat-free mass, good for appearance and performance.
Creatine might sharpen up cognitive and concentration skills over time.
Not only does it promote raw strength gains, but it also can minimize the occurrences of dehydration, muscle cramps, and injuries.
Could be better:
Creatine pulls in more water into muscles, increasing the body weight, which may be an issue in weight-sensitive sports.
Glutamine vs Creatine: When to Use Each
It’s very clear now that l-glutamine and creatine aren't substitutes. The latter prepares you to smash personal bests, whereas glutamine takes a holistic route to fitness. Creatine is among a handful of sports nutrition supplements that you can rely on to do real work without any side-effects. Glutamine (supplements, not the amino acid per se) is mostly useless for any healthy person. Athletes may already have high levels of glutamine along with protein supplements and energy shakes.
People have tried to stack them for maximum benefits. One study involved three groups of collegiate athletes: 1) creatine, 2) creatine with glutamine, and 3) placebo. After an eight-week strength and conditioning program, participants were checked for lean body mass and power output. Both groups on supplementation performed better in all indices. Still, the difference between the two was negligible (CrM and CrM+G), confirming that creatine solely elicited those changes and glutamine was an avoidable expense.
The normal daily serving is 3-5 grams for both. As far as creatine is concerned, it has a poor absorption rate. So, you can go for the famous loading phase, taking in as much as four to five times the regular dose for a week or two. However, mounting evidence suggests that maintaining a low dosage will put you on par with loading – slowly but eventually! There are no worrying drawbacks to including l-glutamine or creatine in your routine. Anyways, consult a professional before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise.
Our Recommended Glutamine
Cellucor Cor-Performance Glutamine is the purest formula out there. It comes with no caffeine, additives, or flavors. It virtually adds nothing to your caloric consumption. A tub contains 72 servings with respect to a 5g scoop, costing less than half a dollar each. It mixes well with other powders and beverages.
Our Recommended Creatine
Jacked Factory Creatine Monohydrate brings 5g of authentic creatine powder in one scoop. Made in a cGMP-certified facility, the value is unbeatable with 85 servings and a money-back guarantee.
Photo by @jackedfactory
We’ve also picked it due to its single unadulterated ingredient that packs a punch for your strength and endurance regimes.
Is Glutamine Good for Bulking?
Glutamine doesn't directly assist bulking. It has several complementary roles in the body, including protein synthesis and breakdown. However, supplements mostly don't reach muscles or blood circulation to impose any substantial gains.
Should I Take Creatine and Glutamine?
Creatine is the better choice because it has repeatedly shown to enhance power, performance, injury prevention, and muscle recovery. All these things translate into explosive muscle growth and fat loss. Glutamine, on the other hand, becomes necessary in rare unfortunate cases where doctors administer its dosage. As long as you're healthy, adding whey protein to your workout diet will be more beneficial than glutamine.
Which Is Better for Muscle Growth, L-Glutamine or Creatine?
Creatine is the clear winner. Numerous studies have shown that resistance training in conjunction with creatine supplements results in higher muscle and strength gains than exercise alone. In comparison, glutamine has wide-ranging benefits for the immune system and gut health. If your focus is muscle hypertrophy and you are healthy, stick to creatine.
Here it is, the end of our glutamine vs creatine face-off. The takeaway is that both compounds are organic and safe. However, glutamine supplements are mostly ineffective and taken care of by the body. The same can't be said for creatine. Its muscular stocks take exercise performance up a notch, whether you're increasing reps or load.
At which time of the day do you like to chug down energizers? Share your favorite shakes and routines in the comment section.
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