Elevating Human Growth Hormone (hGH) levels is the surest way to enhance athletic performance and shorten recovery time. This is why some athletes resort to risky injections. To safely raise hGH levels without risk to your endocrine system, try this - just before bed, take 1 scoop of Hammer Whey protein in 4-6 ounces of water, not juice or milk as those carbs will hinder the process. This practice may safely raise hGH levels while you sleep by as much as 400% compared to the usual nightly spike. That's enough to have a noticeable effect on anabolic, muscle building/maintaining activity in the body, and that's a good thing.
Glutamine [2000 mg] taken in a fasting state [2-3 hours no food before or after dose] has been observed to raise serum hGH 430% above sedentary values.
Glutamine is the latest amino acid to generate excitement as a hGH-releaser thanks to a 1995 study by Thomas C. Welboume of Louisiana State University College of Medicine in Shreveport. Welbourne showed that glutamine raised growth hormone levels more than four times over that of a placebo. Even more exciting, age did not diminish the response at least in this small study of volunteers, who ranged from thirty-two to sixty-four years. Glutamine is the amino acid that is most used by the body, particularly during times of stress. The immune system and the gut practically live on glutamine. If the body does not produce enough glutamine, muscle loss and immune dysfunction can occur. The gut atrophies, meaning nutrients all kinds cannot be absorbed as well as before. A 1993 study by Welbourne in animals showed that glutamine supplementation protects muscle mass and prevents acidosis, which occurs with strenuous exercise and causes muscle breakdown.
According to Judy Shabert, M.D., and Nancy Erlich, authors of The Ultimate Nutrient - Glutamine [Garden City Park, N.Y.; Avery Pub. Group, ©1994], supplementation with glutamine, especially in times of stress, would prevent muscle wasting. In a foreword to the book, Douglas Wilmore, M.D., of Harvard Medical School, points out that glutamine is a key to the metabolism and maintenance of muscle, the primary energy source for the immune system, and essential for DNA synthesis, cell division, and cell growth, all factors that are enhanced by hGH.
Dr. Bill: The 1995 Welbourne paper established the anabolic effect from glutamine, while several other papers establish its meaningful contribution to immune system, glycogen storage rate, and lean muscle mass growth. The amino acids, glutamine, glutamic acid are typical of a Glutamine-enhanced Whey protein powder, an excellent source of protein, immune enhancers, and anabolic growth hormone release.
Glutamine is the monoamide of Glutamic Acid. When in the presence of the enzyme, L-Glutamine Aminohydrolase, Glutamine is split into Glutamic Acid and Ammonia. Glutamate is the salt of Glutamic Acid, a negatively charged ion-form of Glutamic Acid. Glutamic Acid and Glutamate are used interchangeably. One important point is the conversion from glutamine to glutamate is enzymatically limited; the deaminase enzyme is required in the brain to change glutamine to glutamate. Enzymatic conversions tend to be self-limiting - the body may not have enough enzyme present at any given time to make toxic amounts of glutamate. Once again, no one knows for sure on this point, and difference between individuals may be significantly present. [According to Jay Caplan-Who I agree with at present.] Glutamine stimulates hGH release most when taken in its free-form derivative in 2-4 gram doses. Glutamine-enhanced whey protein may also stimulate hGH release but to a lesser extent than the former. Other amino acids have been suggested to stimulate hGH release when they are not competing for blood-brain barrier transmission with other amino acids in their same class.
ACIDIC CLASS: Aspartic Acid, Glutamic Acid
BASIC CLASS: *Arginine, *Ornithine, Lysine
LARGE NEUTRAL CLASS: *Tryptophan, *Phenylaline, *Tyrosine, Methionine, Histidine, *Leucine, *Isoleucine, *Valine
SMALL NEUTRAL CLASS: Asparagine, *Glutamine, Proline, Serine
* Suggested by some sportscientists that when taken as free-form single amino acid supplements will elevate hGH or anabolic hormone levels.
I advise loading glutamine, after exercise, at the rate of a minimum 2 grams to a maximum of 2 X 4 [8 g.] total/day during a 10-day taper prior to an endurance event. Why? Glutamine elevates growth hormone levels and enhances muscle glycogen stores. The rationale for this statement has pivotal research suggesting trial entry of from either free-form or a compound-enriched glutamine product:
Increased Plasma Bicarbonate and Growth Hormone After Oral Glutamine Load
An oral glutamine load was administered to nine healthy subjects to determine the effect on plasma glutamine, bicarbonate, and circulating growth hormone concentrations. Two grams glutamine were dissolved in a cola drink and ingested over a 20-min period 45 min after a light breakfast. Forearm venous blood samples were obtained at zero time and at 30-min intervals for 90 min and compared with time controls obtained 1 wk earlier. Eight of nine subjects responded to the oral glutamine load with an increase in plasma glutamine at 30 and 60 min before returning to the control value at 90 min. Ninety minutes after the glutamine administration load both plasma bicarbonate concentration and circulating plasma growth hormone concentration were elevated. These findings demonstrate that a surprisingly small oral glutamine load is capable of elevating alkaline reserves as well as plasma growth hormone. [Welbourne 1995]
Effect of Oral Glutamine on Whole Body Carbohydrate Storage During Recovery From Exhaustive Exercise
The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of glutamine in promoting whole body carbohydrate storage and muscle glycogen resynthesis during recovery from exhaustive exercise. Post-absorptive subjects completed a glycogen-depleting exercise protocol, then consumed 330 ml of one of three drinks: (1) 18.5% (wt/vol) glucose polymer solution, (2) 8 g glutamine in 330 ml glucose polymer solution, or (3) 8 g glutamine in 330 ml placebo, and also received a primed constant infusion of [1-13C] glucose for 2 h. Plasma glutamine concentration was increased after consumption of the glutamine drinks (0.7-1.1 mM, P < 0.05). In the second hour of recovery, whole body nonoxidative glucose disposal was increased by 25% after consumption of glutamine in addition to the glucose polymer (4.48 ± 0.61 vs. 3.59 ± 0.18 mmol/kg, P < 0.05). Oral glutamine alone promoted storage of muscle glycogen to an extent similar to oral glucose polymer. Ingestion of glutamine and glucose polymer together promoted the storage of carbohydrate outside of skeletal muscle, the most feasible site being the liver. [Bowtell et al., 1999]
Oral supplements that appear to be safe in cyclic exogenous doses for raising a reasonable increase in natural anabolic hormones during strength phase-training are Glutamine, Alpha-Ketoglutarate, Ketoisocaproate, ZMA [zinc monomethionine aspartate], and perhaps 5-HTP [(5-hydroxy-tryptophan], Supplements of 5-HTP may increase serotonin synthesis. Colostrum and Whey Protein supplements have been suggested and shown in limited studies to raise Immune System biomarkers, with implications of elevated anabolic hormone levels.
Dr. Maher, M.D. stated: "hGH-precursors, secretagogues and releasers need to be cycled. This is because the pituitary needs time to recoup its enzyme and co-enzyme systems. With use of hGH-releasers, the pituitary is under-used and can be exhausted..."
1.) Welbourne TC, Increased plasma bicarbonate and growth hormone after an oral glutamine load. Am J Clin Nutr 1995 May 61:5 1058-61.
2.) J. L. Bowtell, K. Gelly, M. L. Jackman, A. Patel, M. Simeoni, and M. J. Rennie; Effect of oral glutamine on whole body carbohydrate storage during recovery from exhaustive exercise, Journal of Applied Physiology, June 1999; 86; 6: 1770-1777.