Glutamine: Why is this the right choice for muscle-gain supplement?

glutamine workout

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Why do we need proteins?

Many post-exercise products (powders, energy bars, etc.) are seen dominating the market trends these days. Some of them are protein supplements and are used to enhance exercise performance. Some work well for weight loss too. If weight loss is your target then adding carbohydrates will not help. This is because carbs contribute to calories and calories contribute to weight gain.

glutamine One of the ways to meet the energy requirement of the body is via proteins. Proteins are a complex bunch of amino acids. These amino acids cater to protein synthesis in the body. Some of the individual amino acids activate the antioxidant machinery and some even behave as antioxidants (substances that conquer the effect of unstable compounds).

Glutamine is an amino acid that possesses more properties than just protein synthesis. Explore more on the role of glutamine, its applications, and side effects.

What is glutamine?

Glutamine is an amino acid (building blocks of proteins). It is a non-essential amino acid or in other words, it is present naturally in the human body.  It is the most abundant amino acid in our body and is present in the blood, serum, plasma, etc. Glutamine acts as a non-carbohydrate energy source in our body. It is the second reliable energy resource after carbohydrates. One gram of L-glutamine provides approximately 4 calories of energy (which is the same as what carbs provide).

Sources of glutamine

glutamine foodsGlutamine is present in many natural food sources as much as it is present in our body. There are many options to choose from which most of them are protein-rich foods. You can rely on foods such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, carrots, cabbage, spinach, beets, celery, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.

  • A normal diet may contain 3 – 6 grams per day of glutamine.
  • If you are using glutamine supplements, a minimal dose of L-glutamine of 10 g per day is advisable.
  • For athletic people and those with fatal health conditions (such as cancer patients under chemotherapy), a dose of 40 g/day is advisable.


How important is glutamine?

Glutamine is needed for protein synthesis which is in turn essential for growth, development, and repair in our body. It plays a vital role in intestinal health and immunity. The small intestine (the largest organ of the digestive system) plays a vital role in the digestion of the food to extrude the nutrients and supply it to the rest of our body.

Glutamine and the small intestine

Glutamine intestinesGlutamine acts as an important energy source for the intestinal cells aiding in their growth and multiplication. It also aids in key digestive processes such as absorption and nutrient delivery. Conditions such as heat, oxidative damage, and chemotherapy reduce the permeability of the gut resulting in a leaky gut. Glutamine protects the gut lining and prevents a leaky intestine.

It maintains nitrogen balance in our body. The nitrogen from glutamine is vital for protein synthesis. They are used by the beneficial gut bacteria to produce antibacterial peptides. The abundant levels of glutamine prevent the exhaustion of other amino acids for energy production. The flow of food contents in the gut is enhanced.

Glutamine the liver

Liver aids in digestion by the production of bile. Ammonia toxicity causes liver functions to be hampered. Glutamine helps in removing ammonia and prevents liver damage. Psoriasis is a condition where there is abnormal development of itchy scaly skin patches. This is a condition that rises up because of a leaky gut. Often, such patients are advised to consume glutamine containing foods to treat the condition. Glutamine is a major energy source for the immune cells (the white blood cells and certain intestinal cells) as well. They minimize the incidences of infections.

Glutamine for muscle gain 

glutamine workoutNowadays many people are beginning to devote attention to their health and fitness. The hunt for food sources and supplements is surging. Glutamine supplements have carved their way into weight training regimes. It decreases muscle soreness and enhances muscle recovery post strenuous exercises.   Glutamine reduces the levels of the chemicals that are involved in muscle loss.

Treating infection 

Glutamine helps in reducing inflammation. This leads to better recovery from surgeries. It is effective in treating sepsis. In complicated cases such as very low birth weight infants, the use of glutamine has shown remarkable

Glutamine and your brain 

The blood-brain barrier is a line of epithelial cells around the brain that monitor the passage of oxygen, lipid-soluble molecules, and water. Glutamine crosses the blood-brain barrier. Glutamine gets converted into a compound that is useful for brain function. It improves aspects such as mood, concentration, and memory.

Allergies and wound healing 

There are certain compounds that get secreted during an allergic reaction. The levels of these compounds are lowered significantly under the use of glutamine. Upon the occurrence of an injury, the tissues and immune cells surrounding the injury begin to take in glutamine. This urges the muscle cells to synthesize more glutamine which is subsequently used for wound-healing.

Is glutamine an antioxidant?

No. Firstly you need to know that an antioxidant is a substance that helps protect the cells of our body from damaging reactions. Glutamine enhances the antioxidant activity (a tendency to fight the reactions that damage the cells in our body) of antioxidant enzymes. Studies indicate that there is an increase in the efficiency of the antioxidant enzymes in a glutamine-supplemented diet program.

Glutamine: Other health benefits

You can get a lot more benefits than you can think of. Glutamine has positive impacts on aging, heart and much more.


Common signs of aging include skin wrinkling, reduced stamina, etc. Metabolism is a process involving energy production, growth, repair, and waste removal. Amongst all the other amino acids, glutamine (being abundantly present) is involved in many of the metabolic processes other than energy production. Glutamine slows down aging, regulates the acid-base balance and helps to maintain the skin firm.

Stress-related damages

There are proteins involved in protecting our body during stress. These proteins are termed as heat shock proteins. Researches show an increase in the level of these heat shock proteins to 3.7 fold upon the administration of glutamine. That is why glutamine works well as a stress reliever.

Glutamine and heart health 

Conditions such as the heart attack or heart surgeries can disrupt the oxygen levels in the heart. During exercise, there is a loss of oxygen. This can result in the cells in the heart to die out. Some studies show that the administration of glutamine in such cases decreases the levels of the proteins that are involved in cell death.

Curb the cravings 

The body of an alcohol addict will rely mostly on alcohol as the energy source. Long term exposure to alcohol drastically depletes the levels of L-glutamine. Alcohol consumption terminates the L-glutamine synthesis at the cellular level and expels out L-glutamine into the urine. Glutamine supplementation curbs alcohol or sugar cravings. It gets converted to glucose in the brain without increasing the insulin levels.

Alcohol addicts, upon recovering from their addiction, experience withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, vomiting, etc. If you are recovering from alcohol addiction, you can consider a diet supplemented with L-glutamine. This helps in alcohol recovery and offers other added benefits such as improved brain function, reduced depression or anxiety, reduced insomnia, etc.

A study of glutamine and its role in alcohol recovery shows the alcohol consumption reduces by 35%. Use of L-glutamine is not a cure for alcohol or sugar addiction, but it can help reduce the cravings to a great deal!

Glutamine as a supplement 

Glutamine is taken as a supplement in cases of major injuries, burns, and surgeries. It is known to improve the survival rate in grave illnesses. There are researches throwing light on glutamine being helpful in resisting stress and also possessing anti-microbial properties in severe brain injuries. Also, these days, many people who are into fitness/gym workouts consume glutamine as a supplement for muscle build up.

Few side effects

  •    Vomiting
  •     Nausea
  •     Hives
  •    Joint pain


Glutamine: In a nutshell

glutamine proteinsProteins are vital in the construction of growth, development, repair and waste removal. They are composed of amino acids of which, glutamine is majorly present in our body. Being present in large amounts, glutamine offers many advantages in many biological processes taking place in your body.

Glutamine is the second major fuel source after carbohydrates. It also guards the other amino acids against any harmful attacks, reactions, and exhaustion. It protects the heart by promoting healing post any traumatic event/surgery and aids in enhanced immunity.

Its application is widely seen in wound healing because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial benefits. It offers better digestion, better memory and minimizes the intensity of allergic reactions.It is better if you take the glutamine supplementation after consulting your nutritionist and your medical physician.

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