Glutamine Interferes with the mTOR-Protein Synthesis Pathway

The amino acid leucine is the key chemical signaling molecule that turns on the mTOR pathway in muscle, which is responsible for muscle protein synthesis and growth. Nutrition research shows that for optimal muscle growth, athletes should consume about 25 grams of high-quality protein that supplies about 3 grams of leucine. Many athletes consume glutamine supplements because they boost the immune system. The immune system has been called the ultimate limiting factor of performance in intensely training athletes. A Belgian study, however, found that glutamine suppresses the mTOR pathway and could interfere with muscle protein synthesis. Individual amino acid supplements can have unpredictable effects in athletes. (Amino Acids, 35: 147-155, 2008)

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