I’ve used Leaky Gut Revive® as my No. 1 tool to repair a leaky gut for decades. When I formulated Leaky Gut Revive®, I included 2,000 mg of L-Glutamine because it is the most effective weapon to repair and maintain a healthy gut lining. Using L-Glutamine for gut health is just the tip of the iceberg in the broad spectrum of L-Glutamine benefits.
L-Glutamine is one of the most critical amino acids in your body. This powerful amino acid is your body’s natural cell builder, yet more importantly, cell rebuilder. However, the benefits of L-Glutamine go beyond your cells. It’s needed for brain health, liver and kidney function, metabolic health, and supports heart health.1 Athletes are turning to L-Glutamine to help with muscle recovery since it’s needed to build proteins that increase muscle mass. The benefits of L-Glutamine are truly amazing!
I will tell you all about the array of L-Glutamine benefits, why you might need to supplement this amino acid, and how to ensure you’re getting an optimal amount to support optimal health. Let’s dive in.
Benefits of L-Glutamine
Your body naturally makes L-Glutamine from glutamate and ammonia. This process happens in the muscles, lungs, and liver. While your body does make L-Glutamine on its own, there are circumstances where it becomes a conditionally essential amino acid. These circumstances include chronic stress, increased physical activity such as running a marathon or strenuous exercise, or poor absorption caused by a leaky gut, SIBO, or Candida overgrowth.
When L-Glutamine becomes conditionally essential, it means your body isn’t making optimal amounts to reap the benefits of L-Glutamine, and supplementation is necessary. There are an array of L-Glutamine benefits that I mentioned earlier. Let’s talk about them.
L-Glutamine Repairs a Leaky Gut
What is Leaky Gut? Think of your gut as a drawbridge. Your gut is naturally semi-permeable to let teeny-tiny boats (micronutrients) pass through your intestinal wall and into your bloodstream. It’s how you absorb your food. Certain external factors, including food, infections, toxins, and stress, can break apart the tight junctions in your intestinal wall, leaving the drawbridge open. Once this happens, you have a leaky gut.
When your gut is leaky, much larger boats never meant to get through (toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles) can escape into your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these “foreign invaders” as pathogens and attacks them.
Leaky Gut is the No. 1 cause of autoimmune disease. To reverse your autoimmune condition, you must start by repairing your gut. This is where L-Glutamine is a superstar.
L-Glutamine helps maintain a healthy stomach and intestinal lining by supporting optimal gut barrier function and cell reproduction. By enabling your enterocytes (gut cells) to regenerate more quickly, L-Glutamine helps seal the tight junctions in your gut and restores your gut lining to an optimal state even faster. These repairs are essential for reversing leaky gut, eliminating your symptoms, and reducing your risk of associated chronic conditions.
L-Glutamine Supports Gut Function
This benefit of L-Glutamine is related to what I just talked about with leaky gut. Yet, L-Glutamine’s benefits go beyond repairing a leaky gut.
Because of its ability to promote mucus production, L-Glutamine is beneficial for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, or inflammatory bowel disease.2 The mucus in your intestinal wall helps maintain a healthy gut microbiota needed to reduce bacterial overgrowth in the intestine.3
The primary function of this amino acid is to provide the building blocks of protein. Because your intestinal tissue so readily and easily uses L-Glutamine, it can quickly restore your gut lining to an optimal state.
Additionally, because L-Glutamine gets used for energy production, it supports muscle function and helps your body resolve intestinal spasms. Your body releases cortisol when stressed, which can lower the levels of L-Glutamine stored in the muscle tissue. People with stress-induced IBS may find that increasing their intake of L-Glutamine mitigates the impact of cortisol, improving muscle function and helping your body resolve spasms.
L-Glutamine Promotes Brain Health
One of the more fascinating benefits of L-Glutamine is how it promotes brain health. Glutamine is a precursor to glutamate, which is a key neurotransmitter that promotes brain function and regulates mood. This is known as the glutamine-glutamate cycle, which provides neurons with astrocyte-generated glutamate/y-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
GABA lessens the ability of a nerve cell to receive, create or send chemical messages to other nerve cells. GABA is known for producing a calming effect.4 Disruption of the glutamine-glutamate cycle can lead to bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and addiction.
Additionally, L-Glutamine may also have a role in supporting brain function in people with certain neurological conditions. For example, some research suggests that glutamine supplementation may improve cognitive function and reduce fatigue in people with traumatic brain injury or sclerosis.5
L-Glutamine Supports Muscle Recovery
\Many athletes are jumping on the L-Glutamine train. One reason is that your body quickly runs out of L-Glutamine stores if you run marathons, engage in high-intensity exercise, or over-exercise. The other reason is that a benefit of L-Glutamine is that it supports muscle recovery and promotes protein synthesis.6
A common misconception is that muscles develop during exercise. The process starts during exercise, yet it happens during rest. Muscles develop and grow from tension, damage, and metabolic stress. For example, weightlifting and resistance training puts tension and strain on your muscles. Repetitions cause your muscles to break down and become damaged. These three processes depend on your body functioning optimally, specifically your immune system. Let me explain.
Your muscles recover and develop when your body breaks down the proteins in your muscles during exercise. After you work out, your body replaces the damaged cells with new ones when it fuses muscle fibers to form new proteins. This happens when you rest, not when you exercise. For this process to occur, your immune system sends cells to your muscles to help it produce a protein to enhance the formation of new muscle fibers.7 If your immune system is not functioning properly, it cannot make these cells.
I’ve talked about how L-Glutamine benefits gut health, which is connected to the health of your immune system since 80% of it lives in your gut. So, not only does the spectrum of L-Glutamine benefits include your gut and muscle recovery, they also reach your immune system.
Facilitates Liver and Kidney Function
Your liver and kidneys help remove waste and deliver nutrients to your blood. They are filters for your body, much like an oil filter for your car. Your liver’s main job is to regulate chemical levels in your blood, including glucose. When there’s too much glucose in your bloodstream, it stores the extra supply in the liver. When type 2 diabetics become insulin resistant, fat can build up in the liver and worsen insulin resistance. I’ll talk more about this in just a minute.
L-Glutamine supports lower levels of lipid peroxidation in the liver. Lipids are fatty molecules that are insoluble in water that function as chemical messages and store energy. Lipid peroxidation is when free radicals steal electrons from lipids in the liver and cause damage. L-Glutamine also supports this process by facilitating the production of glutathione, a compound your liver uses to remove toxins from your body and repair cells damaged by oxidative stress.
Your kidneys are your body’s biggest user of ammonia (NH3). The kidneys use ammonia, a base, to maintain an acid-base balance in your kidneys. Your kidneys selectively send ammonia to your urine or store it in your renal vein to keep that balance.
Kidney disease can lead to the buildup of acid in the body. L-Glutamine is the most important donor of NH3 to the kidneys, which helps maintain the pH balance in your kidneys.
L-Glutamine Promotes a Balanced Insulin Response
One of the better-known benefits of L-Glutamine is that it helps regulate blood glucose levels by directly introducing glucose into the bloodstream. More importantly, L-Glutamine promotes insulin production in your pancreas. A lesser-known L-Glutamine benefit is that it supports pancreas function.
A quick note about L-Glutamine and type 1 diabetes: some studies suggest that L-Glutamine supplementation can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in type 1 diabetics with no insulin secretion, especially after exercise. I recommend that if you have type 1 diabetes, talk with your doctor before taking L-Glutamine supplements.
L-Glutamine also benefits metabolic health by reducing sugar cravings. Since protein slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream, low amounts of protein can cause your blood glucose levels to rise and fall at an abnormal rate, which causes sugar cravings. Because L-Glutamine has the same properties as protein, it makes sense that it can help curb sugar cravings.
Now that you know the broad spectrum of L-Glutamine benefits, let’s discuss why you might need to supplement this conditional amino acid and how to ensure you’re getting optimal amounts.
Why You Would Need to Supplement Glutamine
I talked about how L-Glutamine is a popular supplement among athletes. However, did you know that L-Glutamine supplements rose to fame primarily as a fitness supplement? That’s because when your body is under constant stress, such as that from intense exercise, it will quickly use up its natural L-Glutamine reserves. Yet, there are several reasons why someone may need to supplement glutamine.
People with certain medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, IBS, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease may have difficulty absorbing nutrients, including glutamine.
If you’ve had surgery or are injured, your doctor may recommend you take L-Glutamine supplements. Natural L-Glutamine levels can become depleted after surgery or injury. Remember, L-Glutamine facilitates cellular growth and synthesis of the building of protein.
Moreover, people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet may have lower levels of glutamine since it is primarily found in animal products.
If your body is using up all of its L-Glutamine, it could lead to insufficiency. Here are three signs you could have low levels of L-Glutamine: sudden weight loss, persistent fatigue, and increased colds or illnesses.
Now, let me tell you about several ways you can get optimal amounts of this amino acid to reap all the benefits of L-Glutamine.
How to Support Glutamine Levels
L-Glutamine isn’t one of the four essential supplements I recommend for everyone. However, if I were adding a fifth to that list, it would be L-Glutamine. The high amounts of stress we face in our modern society wreaks havoc on our gut, which impacts our overall health. High levels of stress can quickly deplete your body’s natural L-Glutamine supply.
It’s hard to ignore the vast benefits of L-Glutamine for optimal health. The recommended optimal daily intake of L-Glutamine is 2,000 to 5.000 milligrams per day, or up to 10,000 mg daily if you are a long-distance runner or suffer from chronic stress.
As mentioned in this article, Leaky Gut Revive® is my No. 1 tool to repair a leaky gut. If you want to reap the gut health benefits of L-Glutamine, Leaky Gut Revive® is my most comprehensive weapon. It contains a high concentration of gut-repairing ingredients, including 2,000 mg of pharmaceutical-grade L-Glutamine, to nourish and soothe your gut cells, restore your gut’s natural mucosal lining, and gut-mending fatty acid production. If you want a delicious flavor and to repair your gut simultaneously, try Gut Revive® Strawberry Lemonade.
If you have IBS, Crohn’s, inflammatory bowel disease, or want maximum support, I recommend Leaky Gut Revive® Max. It’s everything you’ve already come to love and depend on in Leaky Gut Revive®, with an added boost of GI defense and intestinal support from ImmunoLin®.
If you’re an athlete or seeking to support brain health, kidney, and liver function, and to support blood glucose levels, L-Glutamine capsules are great for maintaining optimal levels. Each capsule contains 850 mg of pharmaceutical-grade L-Glutamine. I take it every day!
The Final Word on L-Glutamine Benefits
Using L-Glutamine for gut health is only the tip of the broad spectrum of L-Glutamine benefits. Under certain circumstances, such as being an athlete, chronic stress, gut distress, and eating a vegan or vegetarian diet, supplementation of L-Glutamine is crucial. It’s hard to deny that L-Glutamine is a superstar amino acid for achieving optimal health.
- Glutamine: Uses, Side Effects, and More. WebMD. 2023.
- Breath test for differential diagnosis between small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and irritable bowel disease: An observation on non-absorbable antibiotics. I Esposito, et al. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2007.
- The Role of Glutamine in the Complex Interaction between Gut Microbiota and Health: A Narrative Review. Simone Perna, et al. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2019.
- Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). Cleveland Clinic. 2023.
- L-Glutamine for Multiple Sclerosis. Blue Rose Pharmacy. 2018.
- Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation. Vinicius Cruzat, et al. Nutrients. 2018.
- How the immune system helps build muscle. Sanford Burnahm Prebys. 2016.