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L-Glutamine, The Non Essential, Essential Amino Acid

L-Glutamine is an amino acidglutaminepowder2 that plays a major role in your overall health.  While it is only one of the twenty amino acids that make up protein molecules and it is non essential (meaning our bodies can make it from other amino acids), L-Glutamine is considered conditionally essential specifically for muscle recovery, immune function and gastrointestinal health.

L-Glutamine is made in the muscles and delivered via the blood to organs.  It is generally readily available in the body, however many individuals may benefit from supplementing with glutamine to improve their health in these areas:

Immune Function:

While L-Glutamine is abundant and considered non essential for metabolic function, pools of glutamine diminish when the body is under stress.  Stress can be either physical, psychological or physiological and all can negatively impact your immune system.  L-Glutamine provides fuel in the form of nitrogen and carbon to cells, while removing waste produce like ammonia from the body.  Nitrogen is necessary for vital organ function and wound healing, and over 1/3 of the nitrogen is provided by glutamine.   Additional glutamine pools (via supplementation) have shown to be beneficial to help individuals recover from surgery, wound healing, chemotherapy side effects resulting in diminished immune function, chronic illness that causes chronic stress to the body, and immune compromised individuals.

Gastrointestinal Health 

L-Glutamine plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the gut/gastrointestinal tract.  As stated above, glutamine is essential to the immune system and 70% of the immune systems is located in one’s gastrointestinal tract.   Glutamine provides energy to the cells of the gastrointestinal tract keeping junctions tight and cell walls healthy preventing “leaky gut” and other health complications.  Supplementing with L-Glutamine is used for individuals with digestive health issues such as ulcers, ulcerative colitis, IBD, Crohn’s Disease, etc., as well as allergies, and mood and anxiety disorders.  A healthy gut can lead to increased immunity, decreased allergies, improved brain health and enhanced nutrient absorption.  Interesting to note that L-Glutamine is also used in hospitals and added to IV nutrition bags when patients are NPO (without food) to help maintain the gut integrity while the gut is not being stimulated with food.

Muscle Recovery and Wasting

L-glutamine plays a role in your muscles ability to recover from exercise.   Exercise is a form of stress to the body and as stated above glutamine can help in reversing the damage that stress can cause to the body.  Prolonged or intense exercise will diminish the availability of glutamine and the result is difficulty in recovering from exercise and muscle soreness.  L-Glutamine supplementation helps repair muscles after exercise and allows individuals to recover quicker and feel better.

If muscle wasting is occurring due to stress and illness (i.e. cancer, HIV/AIDS, autoimmune disorders) glutamine supplementation is beneficial to prevent and reverse the wasting and re build proper glutamine pools within the muscle.



Looking for a quality L-Glutamine supplement?  I recommend Thorne Research and their L Glutamine Powder.  To order, click on the picture and then go to Patient Express Registration and use the health care practitioner code:  HCP106280




The information provided in this post is for education only and is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor should it be used as a replacement for seeking medical treatment.

Copyright © Jaime Coffey Martinez, MS RD    Nutrition CPR, LLC