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The study aimed to examine the effects that L-glutamine supplementation has on quadriceps muscle strength and soreness ratings following eccentric exercise. It was hypothesized that glutamine ingestion would quicken the recovery rate of peak force production and decrease muscle soreness ratings over a 72-hr recovery period. Sixteen healthy participants (8♀/8♂; 22 ± 4 years) volunteered in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study. Supplement conditions consisted of isoenergetic placebo (maltodextrin, 0.6 g·kg-1·day-1) and L-glutamine (0.3 g·kg-1·day-1 + 0.3 g·kg-1·day-1 maltodextrin) ingestion once per day over 72 hr. Knee extensor peak torque at 0°, 30°, and 180° per second and muscle soreness were measured before, immediately following, 24, 48, and 72 hr posteccentric exercise. Eccentric exercise consisted of 8 sets (10 repetitions/set) of unilateral knee extension at 125% maximum concentric force with 2-min rest intervals. L-glutamine resulted in greater relative peak torque at 180°/sec both immediately after (71 ± 8% vs. 66 ± 9%), and 72 hr (91 ± 8% vs. 86 ± 7%) postexercise (all, p < .01). In men, L-glutamine produced greater (p < .01) peak torques at 30°/sec postexercise. Men also produced greater normalized peak torques at 30°/sec (Nm/kg) in the L-glutamine condition than women (all, p < .05). In the entire sample, L-glutamine resulted in lower soreness ratings at 24 (2.8 ± 1.2 vs. 3.4 ± 1.2), 48 (2.6 ± 1.4 vs. 3.9 ± 1.2), and 72 (1.7 ± 1.2 vs. 2.9 ± 1.3) hr postexercise (p < .01). The L-glutamine supplementation resulted in faster recovery of peak torque and diminished muscle soreness following eccentric exercise. The effect of L-glutamine on muscle force recovery may be greater in men than women.
The authors are with the School of Health and Human Performance, Division of Kinesiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.