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L-Glutamine Guide: Uses and Benefits

Amino acids serve as an important part of our chemistry. Every part of us is constructed of cells which require protein to work correctly and to reproduce. Amino acids promote protein growth and help break it down to form different proteins. Specific groups or chains of amino acids work as units that perform various functions. We naturally produce certain non-essential amino acids, while others called essential, must come from our diets or supplements. Although Glutamine generally lands on the list of non-essential amino acids, some people refer to it as conditionally essential. That’s because although we do produce it, there are times when supplementation is beneficial because our activities use it up before we can manufacture more.

For example bodybuilders or other intense athletes tend to use all their L-glutamine stores when they work out. Although our bodies normally make it as we need it, extreme muscle use depletes the reserve before it has a chance to catch up. Also, it helps the body metabolize or absorb the protein, and bodybuilders burn a lot of protein. Much of it resides in skeletal muscles, which experience extreme stress during training. It also helps protect the immune system. Because of the high demand put on the body and depletion of amino acid and protein reserves during strength training and other major forms of exercise, athletes put themselves in jeopardy of infection on a daily basis. A protein powder or other delivery method containing L-Glutamine can dramatically help them avoid getting sick.

To give you an idea of its importance, Glutamine constitutes somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% to 60% of amino acids in muscle tissue. It also lives in the brain, liver, blood, and lungs.

Different Forms

As with most protein and amino acid supplements, L-Glutamine comes as a powder with various degrees of granularity, capsule, tablet, or liquid. It’s most commonly used in capsule or powder form. It’s easiest to swallow a pill, but if you want the extra nutrition that juice provides you can just stir in some L-Glutamine powder. Whichever form you choose, look for a pure product with no additives. Not only is it better for you, but it will dissolve easily.

Who Should Use It


Bodybuilders often exist in a sort of “Catch 22” world. They spend hours working to grow lean, strong, big muscles but in the process they also partially destroy them. They constantly go through the anabolic (building up) and catabolic (breaking down) stages. These men and women and others that continually strain their muscles through exercising and working out greatly benefit from protein powders containing L-Glutamine (or other forms of it). Since muscle isn’t the only tissue that needs this amino acid, strenuous exercise causes muscles to take it from other areas.

Some studies show that heavy training depletes the glutamine levels of athletes by up to 50%. Unless it’s replaced, this puts not only their muscle tissue in jeopardy, but also can compromise their immune systems and tax other organs. Bodybuilders are especially prone to various infections because they’re so hard on their bodies.

L-Glutamine also promotes growth hormone levels, so important to those working to get big. Additionally, it helps muscle cells to retain water which in turn increases their size. Since it also helps preserve muscles during the catabolic state, taking L-Glutamine supplement improves the quality of the workout by cutting down on fatigue.

All Athletes

A number of studies have been done using all sorts of athletes, such as regular runners, marathon participants, rowers, cyclers, and others. Results show that L-Glutamine reduces occurrences of illness and the effects of overtraining, both conditions frequently experienced by those participating in extreme exercise.


More studies on amino acids and proteins, as well as general nutrition and supplementation, are taking place now than at any other time in history. It’s true that in the US we have a serious obesity problem, even among children, but many are beginning to realize how important health is and how easily eating poorly and not exercising cause it to deteriorate.

L-Glutamine makes up as much as 60% of our amino acids so it’s pretty obvious how important it is. One important discovery shows that it brings many benefits to our gastrointestinal tract. For example it helps prevent “leaky gut” a condition in which the intestinal lining is unusually porous, allowing toxic substances into our bodies instead of being eliminated. Researchers now believe that much of the glutamine we make and ingest works in the intestinesOemore so than the other aminos and therefore it’s responsible for digestive health. Additionally many believe that it helps level out the alkaline acid balances and thus diminishes lactic acid, which causes distress to a lot of people.

To add insult to injury, we live in a fast-paced, stressful age. We’re always on the go so we eat junk food or skip meals. We also smoke, drink coffee, and use too much alcohol. All of these negatively contribute to overall digestive health. We’re not saying you should stick with these habits if you have them and just take supplement. The point is we aren’t always aware of what we’re doing to ourselves on a daily basis. We need to tune into how we treat ourselves and improve our mental and emotional health by learning to relax and slow down; and help our physical health by eating right and using protein and amino acid supplements.


Surgery patients, especially those undergoing abdominal operations tend to recover more quickly and comfortably when taking L-Glutamine supplements. In fact some hospitals, especially in Europe, give L-Glutamine to all trauma patients.

Brain Function

L-Glutamine becomes glutamic acid in the brain a substance we all need to enhance our mental abilities. It also helps control nitrogen levelsOetoo much creates ammonia toxicity. When glutamine bonds with the nitrogen it makes glutamic acid that allows the body to excrete it.


We mentioned the fact that bodybuilders and other athletes tend towards infections such as colds, flu, sore throat, and other ailments. This happens because exercise causes the depletion of glutamine levels in the blood, leaving tissues and organs ripe for illness because they can’t work the way they should. Additionally, as the globe shrinks, we are continually exposed to new strains of flu’s and infections. Supplementing with L-Glutamine can help us stay healthy in spite of this.


L-Glutamine helps prevent painful muscle cramping in the legs. In addition to benefiting athletes, it’s also useful to all of us as we age. As our natural stores of amino acids deplete and muscles and bones dry out and become brittle, we become more prone to this condition.


Actually there are numerous conditions and uses for L-Glutamine that various studies highlight. Some of them are more conditions relating to digestion such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcers, as well as HIV/ AIDS and other autoimmune deficiencies, stress, exhaustion, severe burns, alcohol abuseOein short anything that severely stresses any part of the body.

We’re made up of many different systems and organs and each depends on the whole body maintaining good health. When something goes wrong in one area, the rest of this complex system is compromised. The traumatized portion pulls energy from the healthy places and pretty soon the entire body suffers.

That’s why L-Glutamine and other amino acids as well as protein powders and supplements do so much good. They not only help when there’s distress, they also prevent severe catabolism and other effects of heavy training. Additionally they help promote general good health even during rest or low activity.

Disclaimer: These uses are suggestions resulting from various studies. They are not to be considered medical advice. If you experience symptoms related to these conditions or wish to improve any functions, don’t do so without consulting a healthcare professional.


L-Glutamine constitutes one of the most popular supplements, but it also exists in certain high protein foods such as fish, poultry, red meat, beans, and dairy products. We do need to be aware though that many of our food sources are polluted by pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other substances harmful to our health. Using an L-Glutamine protein powder or other form of the supplement can help restore our natural balance.

Side Effects

L-Glutamine causes no side effects if used correctly. It’s natural to our bodies so it’s easily absorbed. However, overdoing anything can cause problems. Be sure to look for a quality product without sugars and other fillers and follow the advice on the label.

Also anyone thinking about using supplementation should discuss it with their trainer, coach, nutritionist, doctor, or other healthcare professional. This is especially wise if you have any health conditions or problems or take medication.

Most in-the-know recommend taking L-Glutamine following your workout to help repair those stressed out muscles, although it certainly helps build muscle. Again we recommend talking with nutritional experts, as well as others who use this supplement.

The products and the claims made about specific products on or through this site have not been evaluated by N101, Inc. or the United States Food and Drug Administration and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. Information about each product is taken from the labels of the products or from the manufacturer's advertising material. Product images may not represent the most recent packaging or product formulations. N101 cannot be held responsible for typographical errors or product formulation changes. N101 is not responsible for any statements or claims that various manufacturers make about their products.