Key Glutamine Benefits for the Human Body

Updated on April 16th, 2020
glutamine benefits

Glutamine is a building block of protein and happens to be a critical part of our immune system. Proteins are undoubtedly essential for our system. They are crucial for organs and transport substances in the blood while fighting against harmful bacteria and viruses.

Glutamine exists in two different forms. One is L-glutamine and the other is D-glutamine. Almost identical, the only difference between them is the molecular arrangement. L-glutamine is usually found in food and bodybuilding supplements.

There are many glutamine benefits for the human body.

Glutamine Foods

Glutamine naturally occurs in many foods. A typical diet may contain as much as 3 to 6 grams of glutamine per day. Glutamine rich foods are the best natural sources of glutamine and are closely followed by glutamine supplements.

A glutamine supplement benefits the body directly as, unlike other glutamine sources, the body does not need to synthesize a supplement to get the direct absorption of glutamine.

What Foods have Glutamine?

4.4% (0.6 g per 100 g of eggs)
4.8% (1.2 g per 100 g of beef)
Skim milk
8.1% (0.3 g per 100 g of milk)
9.1% (0.6 g per 100 g of tofu)
White rice
11.1% (0.3 g per 100 g of rice)
16.2% (0.4 g per 100 g of corn)

Glutamine Vs. Glutamate

Glutamine and glutamate are sometimes confused to be the same thing. While they sound similar, the two actually come from two different kinds of amino acids. One major difference is that glutamate is a non-essential amino acid, and glutamine is a conditional amino acid.

[Read: Foods Rich in Sulfur]

Glutamine Health Benefits

1. It helps the Immune System

One of the most critical functions of glutamine is related to its role in the body’s immune system. An essential fuel source for immune cells, including white blood cells and some intestinal cells, the immune system’s blood levels may decrease due to significant physical injuries, burns, operations, and surgeries.

If sufficient levels of glutamine are not maintained, and a glutamine deficiency occurs in the body,  the function of the immune system may be compromised. L-glutamine dosage for leaky gut might be met by supplements(1).

2. Maintains the Intestinal Health

Gastrointestinal health

In the human body, the small and large intestines are the largest portion of the immune system. Many of the intestinal cells, tied to immune functions, as well as hordes of bacteria that live on our intestines, have a direct impact on our immune health.

Glutamine happens to be an important energy source for intestinal and immune system cells. It helps maintain the barrier that is present between the inside of our intestines and the rest of our body, thus preventing a leaky gut.

It prevents harmful bacteria or toxins from moving into the rest of the body via the intestines. Glutamine is indispensable for cell growth and maintenance in the intestine(2).

[Read: Foods Rich in Polyphenols]

3. Useful for Bodybuilding and Exercises

Glutamine is a building block of protein, and taking  L-glutamine bodybuilding supplements like optimum nutrition glutamine improves muscle gain or exercise performance. According to one study, 31 people took either glutamine or a placebo over a 6-week period of weight training. By the end of the study, the two groups showcased improved muscle mass and strength.

It is reported that consuming L-glutamine benefits us by decreasing muscle soreness and improve recovery after an intense workout session.

If you are bodybuilding or following a strength and conditioning routine, try and include glutamine as part of your supplement stack. Use it in conjunction with a whey protein for optimum muscle growth and post-workout recovery (3). Glutamine for weight loss helps us reduce fat without losing muscle tone.

4. Glutamine and Cancer


Glutamine might be helpful in preventing some harmful symptoms synonymous with cancer treatments, like oral inflammation. If combined with other nutrients, it may be instrumental in preventing muscle wasting and drastic weight loss in patients with cancer and AIDS.

How to Include Glutamine in Your Diet?

While glutamine occurs naturally in the system, you can use glutamine supplements and certain foods that are rich in glutamine to bump up its levels in your diet.

Side Effects/Caution

While there are no side effects of glutamine, you might if you do not over-consume a glutamine supplement.


Glutamine is one of the most important building blocks in our body. We need to maintain a healthy level of glutamine in our body so it functions optimally. Whether through food or supplements, the level of glutamine in the diet needs to be maintained.


1. What Is Glutamine Good For?

Glutamine is an amino acid with various important functions in the body.

2. When to Take Glutamine?

If you’re using supplements, consume your glutamine supplement either in the morning or post-workout.

3. What Does Glutamine Do?

Glutamine, the amino acid, is a protein building block, it helps build proteins.

4. How Long Does L-Glutamine Take to Repair Intestines?

If the problems aren’t too severe, a duration of a fortnight is enough to repair the intestines.

5. How Much Glutamine a Day?

You can start with a conservative dose of 5 grams of glutamine a day.

6. Is Glutamine Acidic?

Glutamine is an amino acid, so yes.

7. How Long to Heal the Leaky Gut With Glutamine?

You can heal a leaky gut with glutamine in a month.

8. Is Glutamine Gluten-Free?

Well, glutamine peptides are often derived from wheat, so check carefully with each supplement jar’s ingredients.

9. Is Glutamine an Amino Acid?

Yes, it is an amino acid.

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