Sunday, March 16, 2008

How much glutamine do I have to take to gain weight?

A couple of week ago I told you about how my basement flooded due to a freak thaw we had in Ontario. Well, I'm still dealing with the repercussions of that little flood.

Mostly, it has forced me to clean out my basement (which is no small task). I'm almost done now, but on Friday I was still going through some of my old boxes.

After throwing out a couple kilograms of Leucine and BCAA's, and about 3 years worth of Muscle and Fitness Magazines, I stumbled across some of my old training journals.

Now, normally, reviewing my old workouts isn't something I would consider 'blog worthy', but these particular journals were from back when I was working in the supplement industry, and outlined some of the crazier experiments I have performed on myself over the years.

Of course, If I could send a message back in time and tell my 8 year younger self that I would be advocating flexible and brief periods of intermittent fasting for weight loss, I'd probably think future me was crazy...However now that I am looking at some of the things I did 'back in the day', all I can say is "wow".

For instance, have you ever taken glutamine? I have. But I didn't just "take" glutamine, I mega-dosed with it.

Back in 2003, when most people were dosing their creatine with upwards of 75 grams of sugar I was thinking about a different approach. At the time I was experimenting with a low carb, super high protein diet, so I really did not want to be taking an extra 150 grams of pure sugar if I could some how avoid it. Somehow, I cam up with the idea of:

'What if I dosed 10 grams of creatine twice a day, but instead of using a mega dose of dextrose, I took a mega dose of glutamine?'

A simple enough question, and an even simpler experiment to conduct (especially when you have an unlimited supply of glutamine).

For 14 days I took 10 grams of creatine with 80 grams of glutamine once in the morning, then again after my workout in the evening.

From my notes I can see that I didn't have any weird GI problems, or any other unwanted effects. However my weight only increased marginally (3 pounds) which was typically of a creatine load for me, so the experiment ended with the notes

"160 grams of glutamine per day not any better than 20 grams of creatine."

Keep in mind that this was an experiment that only had one subject (me) and was definitely not blinded, so really it is just a review of my own personal experiences, but fun nonetheless.

This was probably one of the tamer experiments I tried. I've also uncovered the notes for a couple of different over-feeding experiments, as well as some crazy fat burning experiments that I will share later in the week.


PS- Sara over at the Sanaworld Blog wrote a very interesting review of Eat Stop Eat that touches on the psychological effects of fasting and some of her own experiences with fasting and obsessive compulsive eating. You can check out part 1 of Sara's post HERE.

No more counting calories to lose weight

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Sara said...

Thanks for linking my blog. I will write part #3 of my review tomorrow. It turns out that I have a lot to say about my Eat-Stop-Eat experiences. It's going to be a fairly anti-climactic conclusion! It seems that fatloss correlates with calorie deficit, whether you are getting that by intermittent fasting or by daily dieting, but that Eat-stop-Eating is more fun. Who would've thought it?

Brad Pilon said...

Hi Sara,

I love it when people refer to Eat Stop Eat as "fun".

That's exactly how eating should be.

Keep up the great writing!


Charles R. said...

Interesting, Brad. I've been taking insulin to heal the effects of an ulcer. But I've known for a while that it can be beneficial for other things.

So just for kicks, I googled "glutamine insulin" and found this:

Aims/hypothesis Diet-induced obesity (DIO) is associated with insulin resistance in liver and muscle, but not in adipose tissue. Mice with fat-specific disruption of the gene encoding the insulin receptor are protected against DIO and glucose intolerance. In cell culture, glutamine induces insulin resistance in adipocytes, but has no effect in muscle cells. We investigated whether supplementation of a high-fat diet with glutamine induces insulin resistance in adipose tissue in the rat, improving insulin sensitivity in the whole animal.
Materials and methods Male Wistar rats received standard rodent chow or a high-fat diet (HF) or an HF supplemented with alanine or glutamine (HFGln) for 2 months. Light microscopy and morphometry, oxygen consumption, hyperinsulinaemic–euglycaemic clamp and immunoprecipitation/immunoblotting were performed.
Results HFGln rats showed reductions in adipose mass and adipocyte size, a decrease in the activity of the insulin-induced IRS–phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)–protein kinase B–forkhead transcription factor box 01 pathway in adipose tissue, and an increase in adiponectin levels. These results were associated with increases in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in skeletal muscle and insulin-induced suppression of hepatic glucose output, and were accompanied by an increase in the activity of the insulin-induced IRS–PI3-K–Akt pathway in these tissues. In parallel, there were decreases in TNFα and IL-6 levels and reductions in c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), IκB kinase subunit β (IKKβ) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity in the liver, muscle and adipose tissue. There was also an increase in oxygen consumption and a decrease in the respiratory exchange rate in HFGln rats.
Conclusions/interpretation Glutamine supplementation induces insulin resistance in adipose tissue, and this is accompanied by an increase in the activity of the hexosamine pathway. It also reduces adipose mass, consequently attenuating insulin resistance and activation of JNK and IKKβ, while improving insulin signalling in liver and muscle.

Maybe you were on to something.

Michael said...

Hi Brad,

A question about creatine: have you (personally, through ESE reader feedback, or reading elsewhere) found creatine to be effective building muscle while in a calorie deficit? I have never tried creatine, but from what you and others have said it appears to be one of the few muscle building supplements worth trying. I have just started a fat loss phase using ESE, and would be happy to build some muscle at the same time if possible.


swan said...

I'd like to recommend a website where you can get support from exercise professionals on all aspects of performance nutrition, including creatine supplements with glutamine and beta-alanine. The site itself recommends dosage and frequency, with the ingredients stated as they appear on the label of the supplement. This site also offers other fitness products that may be taken in combination with the creatine glutamine for even more dramatic effects.