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What Does Glutamine Do & Should I Take It?

Almost everyone that hits the gym or some form of physical exercise uses powders, pills, supplements, etc while working out, but what is it all for? Are they really necessary? Many people need some form of supplement to get them pumped and up for their workout. And then they need to turn to other supplements to help recovery. After reading all the great things L-Glutamine does for you, you’ll find that this supplement is one you will want in your bag, too!

What is L-Glutamine?

There are 14 total amino acids. Although all amino acids are essential and should be consumed during workouts, glutamine is the most common amino acid found in your muscles!

Over 61% of skeletal muscle is made up of this amino acid. It also consists of 19% nitrogen, making it the primary transporter of nitrogen into your muscle cells. Glutamine is actually known as a conditionally essential amino acid because our bodies use it in large amounts.

Why is it Essential?

The most common uses of glutamine powder were related to burning fat fast and building muscle. While this still remains the case, science is now showing that the benefits are much more abundant and that this specific amino acid is especially helpful in treating leaky gut and improving your overall health.  One of L-Glutamine’s main roles in the body is to support detoxification by cleansing the body from high levels of ammonia. It acts as a buffer and converts excess ammonia into other amino acids, amino sugars and urea.

During an extensive workout, your body becomes stressed and your muscles and tendons require more glutamine than what you would consume in your normal diet. After a great workout, the levels of cellular glutamine can drop by 50% and plasma levels by 30%. This muscle wasting state is a gateway for the body to use your muscle for energy rather than carbohydrates – which we DON’T want to happen! Supplementing with this amino acid can prevent this from happening. It also allows your muscles to fight and push a bit further, which boosts your strength and helps repair your skeletal muscles.

L-Glutamine supplementation makes it possible to recover more quickly from intense weight training sessions because like many other amino acids, it also improves muscle hydration. Glutamine’s anti-catabolic ability prevents the breakdown of your muscles. This aids the muscle recovery process and reduces recovery time for wounds and burns.

The Benefits of Glutamine

L-Glutamine improves gastrointestinal health because it is a vital nutrient that the intestines require to rebuild and repair. It helps heal ulcers and leaky gut by acting as a band aid for protection from further damage.

It is an essential neurotransmitter in the brain and helps with memory, focus and concentration, important for focusing during and post workout. It improves IBS and diarrhea by balancing mucus production, which results in healthy bowel movements.

L-Glutamine promotes muscle growth and decreases muscle breakdown. It improves athletic performance and recovery from endurance exercise. It helps improve metabolism and cellular detoxification and curbs cravings for sugar and alcohol! L-Glutamine is also known for improving diabetes-like symptoms and maintaining blood sugar levels.


While L-glutamine is synthesized by the body from glutamic acid or glutamate, sometimes the body is unable to produce enough. And when this is the case, your body needs supplementation.

There are two forms of L-Glutamine. Regular L-Glutamine in its “free form” should ideally be taken with food for proper absorption by the body. The other type is called “Trans-Alanyl” or “Alanyl-L-Glutamine” which is an amino acid attached to another amino acid, which basically means you’re going to digest it much better. Unlike free-form glutamine powder, you can take this type on an empty stomach. Both forms of powder are best taken right after or right before workouts with your small meals for it to support your metabolism and weight loss as well as for muscle building, recovery and preservation.

The best dosage is between 2-5 g twice daily, and up to 10 g daily for serious power athletes. It can also be supplemented in food-form.

You should try L Glutamine


What Foods Contain Glutamine?

Glutamine is found in many different foods with the highest levels found in grass-fed beef, bison, chicken, and free range eggs. Raw dairy products from grass-fed cows and goats are also very high in L-glutamine. Other options of food supplementation: Bone Broth, Grass-fed Beef, Spirulina, Chinese Cabbage, Cottage Cheese, Asparagus, Broccoli Raab, Wild Caught Fish (Cod, Tuna and Salmon), Venison, Turkey.

Take Home Message

Whether your goal is to increase athletic performance, boost metabolism, improve recovery or even add muscle, it is proven that L-Glutamine is a must-have supplement. Replenishing your glutamine levels after an intense session could take up to five days, so it is important to take it on a regular basis if you participate in physical exercise!

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Logan Berman

Logan Berman

Writer and expert

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