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Living healthy and loving it

Glutamine is a supplement that is becoming more common in the athletic population. It is a non-essential amino acid, which just means that it is already produced for tissue growth and repair.

Glutamine has many functions; it is most commonly produced by the body and used in the body to help stop the breakdown of muscle and enhance the building of proteins or more muscle. Paying a little extra for L-Glutamine to be added to that fruity smoothie may be tempting, while it may or may not be worth the change. Here is what research is showing.

A recent issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported that scientific evidence showed that glutamine does in fact increase protein synthesis (the building of proteins). Glutamine has also shown that when combined with creatine (another popular ergogenic aid) people significantly gained muscle and got stronger. So how much glutamine is enough, and how much is too much? If too much glutamine is taken, natural glutamine production and use in the body can be damaged, and that is a lot to risk. Bottom line on glutamine: It is fairly new on the market. Though it is proving to be beneficial thus far, it should be taken modestly until further testing.

Another popular ergogenic aid (big word for supplement) is L-carnitine.

Carnitine is already produced within the body (endogenous), and is essential in the breakdown of fat (beta-oxidation). It helps transport fatty acids. So, for burning fat, this sounds like the perfect supplement.

Straight from the label on the bottle, L-Carnitine promises to be a “fat metabolizer” and “useful with weight loss.” Quick recap: Carnitine helps burn fat, so by taking extra carnitine the body can burn even more fat, right? Wrong.

Since the mid-1990s carnitine as a supplement has proven “largely ineffective.” So save the change on this supplement and order smoothies without the extra “fat burner” in it. L-carnitine? Just a hoax.

As college students, ergogenic aids (supplements) can be tempting. Limited to fast food subs and smoothies, a supplement on the side may seem necessary to keep a balanced diet. And when workouts are squeezed in between class and work, some look for an extra boost to make the time worthwhile. But are students getting robbed and is their money being well spent? It all depends.

Next week: Creatine and ephedrine.

Dayna Davidson is the group and fitness supervisor at the Campus Recreation Center and is a senior majoring in wellness and leadership with a minor in professional writing. She can be contacted for questions or comments at