Sustamine is a relative newcomer to the fitness scene. So new, in fact, that there’s a good chance you’ve never heard about it.
But does it possess any benefits that make its consumption worth your while? Let’s check out what this novel compound is all about.
At first glance Sustamine might not look all that interesting. Going by the name alanyl glutamine or L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine, it is composed of basically two amino acids (and classified as a dipeptide) in glutamine and alanine, and might not merit the “shut up and take my money” that other supplements do to you.
But that’s also a very good thing, as it probably keeps under the radar like that.
Glutamine is known as a conditionally essential amino acid, that is to say that the body can produce small amounts as necessary, but it may be necessary to supplement at particular times, such as following illness or intense exercise.
L-alanine, on the other hand, is non-essential, as the body does well with its own production.
However, one thing they have in common is the fact that they can be rapidly depleted during and following an exercise session.
And most noteworthy, they play an important part on your hydration. This is the primary pain point Sustamine attempts to solve.
Sustamine is manufactured by the company Kyowa Hakko USA, the North American based branch of Kyowa Hakko Bio Co. Ltd based in Japan.
The company also manufactures several other well-known products such as such as Cognizin (citicoline) and Setria (glutathione).
The way Sustamine works to enhance cellular hydration is largely thanks to the individual action of the two amino acids it comprises of.
L-alanine increases the concentration of potassium within the cells, which helps to draw water into them. Glutamine, on the other hand, is metabolized to ammonia which affects the pH balance of the body and subsequently its water balance.
In addition to this mechanism is the synergistic action on glucose transport. Alanine is involved in the gluconeogenesis pathway via the glucose-alanine cycle, whereas glutamine enhances glucose uptake into cells by stimulating GLP-1 and subsequently insulin release.
There are surprisingly, a couple notable benefits of Sustamine consumption that could help improve your performance and recovery. Most importantly:
Human studies done on Sustamine is relativity limited. However, to back those up there are animal studies which tend to show a good degree of cross-over extrapolation when compared to human findings.
A study published in 2015 in the Journal of The American College of Nutrition was able to ascertain that the consumption of a Sustamine infused hydration beverage helped improve performance during a one-hour run.
Subjects were split into groups given low dose Sustamine, high dose Sustamine, nothing at all or a simple sports drink.
At the end of the trial, participants given the low and high dose Sustamine + sports drink performed better in terms of time to exhaustion, and also demonstrated higher blood glutamine levels at the one-hour post workout interval.
From the findings, even though the sample size was small (just 12 endurance trained athletes), a strong case can be made for the use of Sustamine as part of your intra-workout beverage.
Both alanine and glutamine are extremely useful from a nitrogenous standpoint, helping to shift nitrogen balance in a direction that is favorable to combat muscle catabolism.
They are both liberated from muscle tissue following intense exercise, and must be replenished to arrest muscle loss.
Also, interestingly, as is the case with citrulline and arginine, Sustamine appears more efficient in raising serum glutamine levels than glutamine itself when consumed chronically, although the therapeutic advantage is negligible.
However small, any increase in the rate of protein synthesis is welcomed.
Many athletes underestimate the role that adequate hydration plays on performance. Even very little water loss; in the vicinity of 2% can have a profound impact on adversely affecting performance.
Consumption of a Sustamine infused rehydration drink improved both electrolyte and water absorption above baseline, even going as far as to preserving audio-visual reaction time and psychomotor skills.
It is of utmost importance that nutrients are delivered to muscles before, during and especially after your workout session.
Sufficient post-workout nutrition helps to set the stage for recovery, hypertrophy and other adaptations that ultimately enhance fitness.
Glutamine helps stimulate the production of nitric oxide which leads to vasodilation and enhanced efficiency of oxygen and nutrient delivery.
A daily dose of between 1-3g of Sustamine is usual, and can safely be taken long term. This is according to preliminary studies although further research needs to be undertaken in that regard.
On training days, taking 1-3g before and after your workout is ideal. This will ensure that you support hydration and performance while you exercise, and also help support protein synthesis afterwards.
On non-training days you should still take the same 1-3g in two split doses with carb rich foods.
The fatigue buffering and performance enhancing effects of Sustamine can be experienced acutely- that is in as little as after your first dose.
However, there is significant evidence that it works even better following chronic consumption, raising glutamine muscle concentration significantly.
There is no evidence that it is necessary to cycle your consumption of Sustamine. Being an amino acid-based supplement, it makes sense that if you work out often it is in your best interest to use it.
The catabolic stimulus following a training session is significant, and can be kept in check thanks to high muscle glutamine levels.
Sustamine is considered very safe, requiring an extremely high dose for adverse effects to occur. In males of average weight 180lbs this corresponds to about consumption of 40g, a number that is unlikely to be met.
Similar to beta-alanine, the alanine component of Sustamine may cause a feeling of transient flushing or itchiness that subsides after about a week of consistent use.
No other notable adverse effects have been reported from the supplement.
Sustamine can be purchase on Amazon by itself or in combination with electrolytes to boost workout performance even more.
About The Author:
Matt Mosman (MS, CISSN, CSCS) is a research scientist, endurance athlete, and the founder and Chief Endurance Officer at EndurElite. Matt holds his B.S. in Exercise Science from Creighton University and his M.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University of California. Matt and his family reside in Spearfish South Dakota, where they enjoy running, mountain biking, camping, and all the outdoor adventures Spearfish has to offer.