The Comprehensive Guide to Glutamine

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Most people in the health or fitness industry are familiar with glutamine, but what is it? What does it do? If you have these questions, or any others, this article will have answers for you. 

Glutamine is an amino acid with many important roles in the body. It also happens to be naturally produced in the body; however, you may benefit from supplementing extra glutamine in your diet. If you are unsure about supplementing glutamine powder, this article will also have answers for you!

If you are looking to order a glutamine powder that has been tested for safety and is easy on the wallet- here is a great option!

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is an amino acid (a building block of protein), that plays many critical roles in the body. It exists in two forms: L-glutamine and D-glutamine. These two forms are almost identical, but have slightly different molecular arrangement.

L-glutamine, also just referred to as glutamine, is the type found in food and supplements, and is used to make proteins and perform other functions within the body. It is important for the immune system and intestinal health

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid within bodily fluids, however, there are times where your body cannot produce as much as it needs. For this reason, it is considered a conditionally essential amino acid

Under conditions such as injury or illness your body does not keep up with its own needs for glutamine, and it must then be consumed to meet those needs. It can be consumed either through diet or through glutamine supplements.

D-glutamine really serves no purpose in humans.

Glutamine in Food

Glutamine is found naturally occurring in many foods, and the average diet contains about 3-6 grams per day. The foods that have the highest amount are high protein. Below are some foods with high glutamine content listed as the amount per 100 grams of protein in that food:

Eggs are a great source of glutamine!
Eggs are a great source of glutamine!
  • Eggs – 0.6 g
  • Beef – 1.2 g
  • Skim milk – 0.3 g
  • Tofu – 0.6 g
  • White rice – 0.3 g
  • Corn – 0.4 g

It’s worth noting that although some plant sources do have a high percentage of glutamine, the overall protein content is low, so a large amount of those foods would need to be consumed in order to get the amount listed. With that in mind, animal products are the easiest way to increase glutamine consumption through food. Virtually any food containing protein will contain some this amino acid.

Need help tracking protein intake? This app helps!

Want to learn more about the different types of proteins? Check out this article!

What Does Glutamine do?

One of the most important functions of glutamine is its role in the immune system. Glutamine is a critical fuel source for white blood cells and certain intestinal cells. This is why consumption of glutamine should be increased after injuries, burns, or surgeries. This is also why glutamine supplements are often prescribed after major burns or surgeries, to reduce recovery time and risk of infection.

In fact, if your diet does not contain enough glutamine, your immune system can become compromised.

If enough glutamine is not available in the body while it is recovering, your body will break down muscle to get access to more of it. No one wants to lose their hard-earned gains!

The immune system benefits of glutamine are related to its role in intestinal health.

The intestines are the largest portion of the immune system because of the many intestinal cells with immune functions and all of the bacteria in your intestines that impact immune health. Glutamine is an important energy source for both intestinal and immune cells, and it helps maintain the barrier between the inside of your intestines and the rest of the body. 


Glutamine helps maintain the barrier between the inside of your intestine and the rest of your body, protecting against a leaky gut. This prevents harmful bacteria and toxins from getting into the rest of your body.

Glutamine is also important for the growth and maintenance of the cells in the intestine. This means that it benefits your overall immune health by supporting intestinal cells.

Glutamine for Muscle Gain

Although glutamine does not cause muscle gain, it does decrease muscle soreness and help improve recovery after intense exercise. In fact, one study found that it reduced blood markers of fatigue during two hours of running.

It may also boost the immune function of athletes, decreasing days off, and in turn allowing for more training.

Dosage, Safety, and Side Effects

Because glutamine is naturally produced in the body and found in many foods, there is no need to be concerned about consuming normal quantities of it.

Glutamine supplements range in dosage, but amounts ranging from 5-45 grams per day have been studied with no negative side effects for use up to 6 weeks. However, 5-15 grams per day seems to be plenty. 

Some studies have raised concerns about the uptake of other amino acids if glutamine is consumed in high quantities for a long period of time. However, there is no definitive data yet.

If you are planning on taking glutamine powder it is recommended that you start with 5 grams per day. As with any supplement, it is important that you buy from a company that is well trusted. Look for companies that have their products tested by third party labs for purity and label accuracy. If you aren’t sure where to start; UXO supplements offers a reasonably priced high quality glutamine powder. You can learn more about it and order it here.

If you have more questions just leave them in the comments below!

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