The Health Benefits of Glutamine - Paula Owens, MS, CCN

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The Health Benefits of Glutamine

Glutamine Health Benefits - Paula Owens, MSGlutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and one of the few amino acids that can cross the blood–brain barrier serving as fuel for the brain, muscles, intestinal lining and white blood cells. The most relevant glutamine-producing tissue is muscle mass, which accounts for approximately 90% of all glutamine synthesized.

Glutamine is the #1 nutrient used by small intestinal cells.

Health Benefits of L-Glutamine

During times of stress caused by infection, trauma, wound healing, illness, surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal permeability (leaky gut) or intense exercise and training, your body cannot produce sufficient glutamine.

  • — Reduces and controls cravings for alcohol, sugar and carbohydrates. Mix together: two teaspoons L-glutamine powder, 1/4 teaspoon raw cacao, 1 cup water and 1 scoop of collagen peptide powder to nix cravings.


  • — Natural and effective treatment for alcohol withdrawal, inducing a decreased desire to drink alcohol, and protection against alcohol toxicity.
  • — Controls hypoglycemia, effective for diabetes, aiding in glucose utilization and balancing blood sugar
  • — Reduces gastrointestinal inflammation and repairs leaky gut. Healing for a healthy mucosal gut lining and as a natural healing remedy for digestive distress, an inflamed gut, leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and peptic ulcers. A study published in the Lancet found that supplementing with glutamine decreased intestinal permeability (one teaspoon 2-3x daily for 30 days). It protects the stomach by offsetting gastric damage from H. Pylori that causes stomach ulcers.
  • — Vital for digestive health, glutamine regenerates and renews cells in the gut. It downregulates inflammatory processes in the gut helping to rebuild and repair the gut from damage, and reduce the reduce the symptoms of diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and Crohn’s disease.
  • — Glutamine has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of diarrhea. For this reason, supplementation has been shown to be very effective in individuals with ulcerative colitis, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • — Promotes strong immunity. Helpful for chronic viral infections and most autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s
  • — Crosses the blood brain barrier protecting the brain from infection
  • — Positively alters gut microbiotia of obese and overweight individuals to resemble that of lean individuals. [Journal Nutrition]
  • — Prevents cortisol-induced muscle catabolism during sustained exercise and provides positive nitrogen balance. L-glutamine stimulates protein re-synthesis, muscle repair and improves recovery after intense exercise. Supplemental L-glutamine enhances muscle cell volume, which improves nitrogen retention, muscle growth, protein synthesis and aids in recovery.
  • — Glutamine stimulates the release of human growth hormone (hGH), which assists in metabolizing body fat and helps to support new muscle tissue growth. Large amounts of glutamine are lost during intense training or prolonged exercise. As a derivative of protein, L-glutamine functions as an important building block for glucosamine synthesis, which plays a key role in helping your tissue remodel and cartilage regenerate.
  • — Prolonged exercise and heavy training are associated with decreased glutamine concentrations that may cause exercise-induced immune dysfunction and increased susceptibility to infection in athletes. One hour of exercise can cause a 40% reduction of glutamine in the body. It can also cause suppressed immune function. This has a negative impact on your resistance training and may lead to overtraining syndrome.
  • — Exercise-induced hyperthermia in humans is associated with an increase in intestinal permeability, commonly called leaky gut, which provokes an inflammatory cascade. Glutamine suppresses NF-KB, a transcription factor for many proinflammatory cytokines during recovery from exercise stress. Glutamine supplementation reduces exercise-induced intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and inhibits the NF-KB pro-inflammatory pathway.
  • — Supplementation is associated with significantly reduced inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin (IL)-6. [Exp Ther Med. 2016 Dec.]
  • — Glutamine supplementation can help resolve dehydration in those who are drinking sufficient water, yet unable to retain the water that they’re drinking by increasing cell volume, electrolyte absorption, and improved muscle hydration.
  • — Intravenous administration has been shown to support the immune system and profoundly reduce the risk of infection following cadiac, vascular and colon surgeries. [JPEN. 2008 July.]
  • — Lowers the risk of infection in patients with pancreatitis. [JPEN. 2016 Jan.]
  • — Beneficial for injuries, wound healing, and recovery post-surgery
  • — Supports healthy detoxification and repairs damaged tissue for those undergoing radiation or chemotherapy cancer treatment.
  • — Glutamine plays a key role in the process of detoxification. It removes excess levels of ammonia from the body and has a well-proven ability to elevate glutathione levels, a powerful antioxidant that supports liver detoxification and the removal of ammonia.
  • — Beneficial for those suffering from depression, schizophrenia and mental health problems used under the professional guidance of a physician

Food Sources of Glutamine: Cabbage, grass-fed pasture-raised beef, venison, turkey, wild-caught fish (salmon), cottage cheese, bone broth, broccoli rabe, and asparagus

Supplementation is available in both powder and capsule form. My preference is the powder form over the capsules as you’d have to consume 12-20 capsules to equate one teaspoon of the powder. I like the L-glutamine powder from Biotics Research, always the highest quality. Dose between 500 – 1,500 mg up to 3x daily.

Higher doses may be required depending on your individual needs. I always recommend starting with a smaller dose and increase gradually as necessary. Glutamine can be taken between meals as instance brain fuel and energy. To prevent glutamine build-up in the body, supplement with B vitamins especially vitamin B12, folate and B6.

Safety: Glutamine is well tolerated by most, but some people don’t do well with it and are unable to metabolize it effectively. They become irritable, anxious or insomniac. These individuals are typically poor methylators and often deficient in zinc, magnesium, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate. This reaction is rare, but can happen if you are supplementing with heavy doses while deficient in the important B vitamins. There is controversy about whether it should be supplemented long term for those with active cancer, so please consult with your practitioner. “Glutamine should not be taken when mania has been a problem as it converts to glutamate. Interestingly, it can help with bipolar depression, probably for the same reason. Dosing must be very careful, however, to avoid triggering mania.” – Julia Ross

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