Over the years, L-Glutamine has been available on many shelves as a supplement that comes in the form of capsules, powders, tablets, and is often added to many protein powders. L-Glutamine is also abundantly found in the meats we consume. What makes this supplement such a hot topic of interest?
Let’s dive into more about:
- What L-Glutamine is
- Benefits of L-Glutamine
- Food sources of L-Glutamine
- Who should take L-Glutamine
What is L-Glutamine?
L-Glutamine, also known as glutamine, is one of 20 naturally occurring amino acids found in protein foods and also the most abundant amino acid in our bodies and is used for many different functions. L-Glutamine is considered a conditionally essential amino acid. What is a conditional amino acid? It means that your body can make some on its own but the body uses it in such large amounts we need to consume some from our diets.
Typically, a person will produce enough L-Glutamine to meet all of the body’s needs. However, there are times when our bodies may become deficient (times of stress and trauma) and require us to supplement with more or add more foods that contain L-Glutamine (see list below of foods that naturally contain high amounts of L-Glutamine).
Benefits of L-Glutamine
The most common original uses of glutamine powder were to meet the following goals: to lose weight fast, burn fat and help build muscle. While that remains the case, science now shows that glutamine benefits go beyond their original uses. It also promotes digestive and brain health, boosts athletic performance, and is helpful in treating intestinal issues and leaky gut. Did you know around 60% of the body’s skeletal muscle is made up of glutamine? This means glutamine is important for muscle development and growth, muscle hydration, muscle recovery, and recovery for wounds and burns.
- May Promote Muscle Growth and Decrease Muscle Wasting (muscle loss)
- For any individuals looking to build muscle or improve athletic performance, glutamine can be significantly beneficial. During and after physical activity, your muscles require more glutamine to repair your muscles than a typical diet may be able to supply.
- For individuals whose goal is weight loss, glutamine can be extremely beneficial when it comes to fat loss vs. muscle loss. Muscle burns more calories at rest than other tissues. Because of this, building muscle can be key to increasing your resting metabolism. Increasing your resting metabolism means that you burn more calories naturally while at rest. Think of your body at rest when you are working at your desk, sleeping, or even sitting on the couch watching Netflix.
- May Help with Sugar Cravings
- While there are many factors to consider when it comes to sugar cravings, like eating foods to support your blood sugar, getting enough quality sleep, and addressing your stress levels, L-Glutamine may also help to ward off unwanted sugar cravings.
- With sufficient intake of L-Glutamine, you can successfully decrease the secretion of ghrelin (hunger hormone) in your body. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite and makes you feel hungry. When the levels of Ghrelin are high, sugary foods become more appealing, but when it is low, intense sugar cravings go away. Glutamine is an amino acid that quickly converts to glucose, and short-term supplementation could be helpful if you struggle with sugar cravings that continually derail your goals.
- L-Glutamine May Help with Satiety and Fullness
- Glutamine is an amino acid and protein by nature. Consuming enough protein automatically has a satiety effect. This means that you will feel fuller from foods that contain protein and less likely to over indulge at meals and feel full for longer periods of time.
- One study tested this theory on people with controlled type II diabetes and at the end of the study found that people who supplemented with large doses of l-glutamine ate less and felt fuller after each meal.
- L-Glutamine May Help GI Issues and Leaky Gut
- L-glutamine is a main source of fuel for the cells of the small intestines and essential to tissue repair throughout the body. Enterocytes use the amino acid glutamine to help maintain the health of your mucosa. When the body is under stress, L-glutamine has been shown to become a conditionally essential amino acid for the regeneration and protection of a healthy mucosal barrier.
Food Sources with Naturally Occurring Glutamine
Glutamine can easily be found in both animal and plant proteins.
The foods with the most L-glutamine benefits include:
- Bone broth
- Grass-fed beef
- Cottage cheese
- Broccoli rabe
- Wild-caught fish (cod and salmon)
Who should take L-Glutamine
L-Glutamine can be a safe option for anyone looking to enhance physical performance, build and repair muscle, reduce sugar cravings, increase satiety, or help repair leaky gut. L-Glutamine comes in supplement form, powder form, and is also added to most protein powders. Pharmacy Solutions typically recommends to dose anywhere from 2-5 grams and is best taken with a meal or after physical activity.
For anyone with a medical history of kidney disease, liver disease, Reye’s syndrome, or cancer you should always consult with your doctor first as this may not be the right supplement for you. If you’re battling cancer and/or undergoing cancer treatments, always speak with your doctor first about supplementing L-Glutamine.