If you are into sports at least recreationally, you must have heard about nutritional supplements that could help you build muscles or be more effective and enduring. Yet, they are not for everyone. Do you know who really needs to use proteins, creatine and glutamine?
Protein, creatine and glutamine are some of the terms that are often mentioned when talking about top-notch sports, fitness, but also recreation. These terms represent nutritional supplements whose sales have skyrocketed in recent years.
Can we thank social networks as platforms where we can track athletes, coaches, fitness models and find out which products help them perform, judge for yourself. However, we will further clarify what proteins, creatine and glutamine are, what their purpose is, and to whom such products are intended.
Also read: 10 tips to get rid of muscle pain
Protein is a building material
Proteins are molecules made up of amino acids, the building blocks of our body. These amino acids are linked into chemical compounds that are complex into different three-dimensional structures that are important for the functioning of the body. There are two major categories of amino acids in our body – the essential ones that our body cannot produce on its own and the non-essential amino acids it can produce on its own.
Some amino acids can be classified into a special category and termed conditionally essential. The answer is in examples of stressful situations or serious difficulties in the synthesis of amino acids, when our body is unable to produce the required amount, so we must bring those particular amino acids into our diet. Wondering why proper protein intake is important, let’s return to the information that proteins are the building blocks of our body. Not only for athletes but also people who have a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. But the protein intake of the person who sits a lot is very different from that of a top athlete.
Namely, without protein, basic life functions are not possible – restoring our tissues, conducting metabolic reactions, creating antibodies to fight viruses and bacteria, and even insulin, one of the key hormones in structure is actually protein. From this it is easy to conclude that the purpose of proper protein intake goes far beyond the growth of our muscles and the loss of fat.
Athletes ingest protein through diet
How much protein we need, or what our daily intake should be, depends on several factors. Thus, the protein intake of the predominantly sedentary person is very different from that of a top athlete. However, it should be emphasized immediately that adequate protein intake must be based on natural foods, not powders, or in the form in which they are found as supplements. A healthy diet must be the foundation, and we can resort to dietary supplements for any additional help.
Top athletes are an exception, because with their intense and frequent training and competitions, they are not able to get everything they need with conventional nutrition. It is hard to imagine that one top athlete can eat as much meat and eggs as he needs for adequate protein intake.
That is why it is logical to conclude that protein is not needed for recreational nutrition. Everything that is needed by their body can be brought in by a healthy diet. No dietary supplement will compensate for poor nutrition and build your muscles or make you faster and more powerful.
Proteins are found in eggs, meat, fish, milk, cheese, legumes, cereals… However, not all proteins are of equal quality. In order to satisfy the need for food, it is necessary to get to know the foods containing them more closely. You need to know which foods to combine with which ones.
Glutamine to restore strenght
Glutamine is an amino acid created by the body from a non-essential amino acid, glutamic acid, and plays an extremely important role in the functioning of our immune and digestive systems. In addition, glutamine significantly affects the function of our muscle cells and their construction, as well as their recovery, which is why it is a common dietary supplement for top athletes.
Fatigue, decreased performance and signs of stress are just some of the symptoms of an athlete’s over-training due to intense and frequent training that do not allow them enough time to recover. For example, those involved in endurance sports in such long-term, exhausting activities lose their glutamine supply, which is why they will feel the most about the benefits of glutamine consumption.
Again, it can be concluded that recreational users do not need to consume glutamine as a dietary supplement, unless, of course, the doctor recommends it to treat diseases such as ulcerative colitis and other leaky gut syndromes. In this case, glutamine is the food used by the small intestine cells to renew itself.
Creatine is a compound made up of the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. It is formed in the liver, kidneys and pancreas, where it goes to all cells via the bloodstream. Creatine plays an extremely important role in energy production. In order to understand as much as possible the purpose of creatine, we need to explain that 60 to 70 percent of the total creatine in the body is stored in the form of phosphocreatine, a high-energy molecule, the main of which is ATP, or adenosine triphosphate.
All cells use ATP as a source of energy, and as supplies are limited, ATP must be constantly renewed. In situations where the need for ATP is much greater than its ability to create, creatine serves as a short-term source of energy.
It is for this reason that the top athletes of sports in which short, intense, explosive activities (eg martial arts, sprints, skiing, etc.) are present have the greatest benefit from creatine supplementation. Namely, in such short activities, the body does not have the time to generate the energy, or ATP, that is required for performance.
Also read: The purpose of proteins
Irena is a dentist from Croatia, working extensively in her field, but she also has a high interest in the fields of fitness, nutrition and medicine in general. She has been educating herself about how to lead a healthy lifestyle for years. She seeks to help people adopt healthy habits as well as healthy and positive thinking about life. In her spare time, she hikes, runs, plays saxophone and guitar, and develops her own websites – Salubrius Vita and GoalDigger. Her life motto is: When they expect a lot from you, you do even more.