If you want to heal leaky gut (THE HUG PLAN), build lean muscle and improve your overall health then you may want to supplement with L-glutamine powder or capsules.


In fact, if you are trying to heal leaky gut or build a lean body it is one of the top three most recommended supplements. In this article I will cover exactly how to take it and the correct L-glutamine dosage.


L-glutamine supplements were first popularized in the fitness industry because weight trainers and athletes found that L-glutamine benefits included the prevention of muscle wasting and improved exercise recovery.


But L-glutamine benefits go well beyond that as you are about to see.


10 Proven L-Glutamine Benefits

New research is now showing L-glutamine benefits the body in the following ways:


  1. Improves gastrointestinal health because it is a vital nutrient for the intestines to rebuild and repair (1)
  2. Helps heal ulcers and leaky gut by acting as a band-aid for protection from further damage (2)
  3. Is an essential neurotransmitter in the brain and helps with memory, focus and concentration (3)
  4. L-glutamine improves IBS and diarrhea by balancing mucus production which results in healthy bowel movements (4)
  5. Promotes muscle growth and decreases muscle wasting (5)
  6. Improves athletic performance and recovery from endurance exercise (6)
  7. Improves metabolism and cellular detoxification (7)
  8. Curbs cravings for sugar and alcohol (8)
  9. Fights cancer (8)
  10. Improves diabetes and blood sugar


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High L-Glutamine Foods

L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the bloodstream and it makes up 30-35% of the amino acid nitrogen in your blood.
Amazingly, around 60% of your skeletal muscle is made up of glutamine and supplementing this amino acid can aid protein synthesis and help naturally balance your pH levels.
L-glutamine is synthesized by the body from glutamic acid or glutamate. If the body is unable to produce enough it needs to get it directly from your diet. It is known as a conditionally essential amino acid, because it is used by the body in large amounts.

L-glutamine can be found in animal proteins such as meats and dairy, along with plant based protein sources such as beans, raw spinach, parsley and red cabbage. Although, the plant proteins are not as easily digestible as the animal proteins (9).


The highest L-glutamine foods include:

1. Bone Broth

2. Grass-fed Beef

3. Spirulina

4. Chinese Cabbage

5. Cottage Cheese

6. Asparagus

7. Broccoli Raab

8. Wild Caught Fish (Cod, Tuna and Salmon)

9. Venison

10. Turkey

We should ideally be consuming 3+ servings of these L-glutamine rich foods daily.

L-Glutamine to Heal Leaky Gut and Improve Immunity 

With many millions of people now suffering from digestive diseases, it’s apparent that our diets are severely lacking certain nutrients that support the digestive tract.


Because glutamine is the major fuel source for cells of the small intestine, it has been shown to heal leaky gut in clinical studies.


A study published in the medical journal Lancet, examined 20 hospitable patients and found that supplementing with L-glutamine decreased intestinal permeability (10).


Another study published in the British Journal of Surgery found that l-glutamine benefits ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (11).


The man famous for discovering the Krebs cycle in the body was the first to recommend L-glutamine because he found it to help improve a healthy gut-related immune response.


A medical study published in 2001 found that L-glutamine benefits the body by regulating IgA immune response. IgA is an anti-body that attacks viruses and bad bacteria and would also be associated with food sensitivities and allergies.


Another study published in the journal of Clinical Immunology found that glutamine normalizes the effects of the TH2 immune response that stimulates inflammatory cytokines (12).


The effects of L-glutamine in these studies proves that L-glutamine reduces intestinal inflammation and can help people recover from food sensitivities.


In the chart below, you can see L-glutamine benefits the body by improving function and reducing inflammation which is critical in healing leaky gut and inflammatory bowel disease.


Beneficial Effects of Glutamine Table

L-Glutamine Improves Energy and Athleticism 

One of L-glutamine’s main roles in the body is to support detoxification by cleansing the body from high levels of ammonia.

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Glutamine supports detoxification and acts as a buffer and converts excess ammonia into other amino acids, amino sugars and urea (13).


Doing approximately 1 hour of exercise can cause a 40% reduction of glutamine in the body and a suppressed immune function. This has a negative impact on your resistance training and may lead to overtraining syndrome (14).


In addition, supplementing your diet intake with glutamine is an excellent method of boosting your immune system and improves your ability to fight infection and diseases.


Glutamine may also be beneficial for long distance athletes by boosting the immune system (T-helper cells). Studies have indicated that this increase in T-helper cells may reduce the ‘stresses’ associated with overtraining syndrome (15).

L-Glutamine Benefits Bodybuilding 

During an intense workout the body is  stressed and your muscles and tendons require more glutamine than the amount supplied by a normal diet.


So, after an intense workout the levels of cellular glutamine can drop by 50% and plasma levels to 30%! This ‘muscle wasting state’ is a gateway for the body to use your muscle for energy rather than carbohydrates where glutamine can prevent this from happening (16).


If you goal is to build muscle, boost metabolism, improve recovery or increase athletic performance then according to the research L-glutamine is a must-have supplement.


Supplementing with L-glutamine allows your muscles to fight and push a bit further, which boosts strength and it also has an important role in repairing the skeletal muscles.


A study found that L-glutamine supplementation makes it possible to recover quicker from intense weight sessions because it improves muscle hydration (17). This aids the muscle recovery process, along with a reduction in recovery time for wounds and burns (18).


Replenishing glutamine levels after an intense session could take up to five days, so it is important to take on a regular basis if you are doing intense exercise on a regular basis.

L-Glutamine Boosts HGH

A study reported that glutamine also helps with human growth hormone secretion (HGH); this aids with fat metabolism and supports new muscle growth.


Research has indicated that HGH levels are up by nearly 400% after supplementing with L-glutamine; this hormonal response leads to an increase in resting metabolic rate and improves the after-burn effect or EPOC post exercise. This after-burn effect is essential for burning fat, weight loss and building lean muscle mass (19).


Other fat burning and lean muscle mass building benefits of supplementing with L-glutamine are that it can help to suppress insulin levels and stabilize blood glucose.


This enables the body to use up less muscle mass to maintain the blood sugars and insulin sensitivity in the cells. For this reason, L-glutamine benefits diabetics and those with sugar and carb cravings (20).


L-Glutamine Dosage and Supplements

Although the effects of excess glutamine rarely causes problems, if you are taking glutamine long term it is a good idea to also supplement with B vitamins especially vitamin B12, as this controls glutamine buildup in the body.


The recommended glutamine dose for weight trainers or power athletes should be 10 grams daily of L-glutamine powder taken before and after a workout.  This is usually consumed within the servings of a protein shakes, as L-glutamine is often an active ingredient along with other amino acids.


If you are looking to improve digestive health and heal leaky gut it is recommended you take 5 grams of glutamine powder 2x daily with meals.


By Dr Josh Axe


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