L-Glutamine Supplementation For Leaky Gut Syndrome
L-Glutamine is growing in popularity, and becoming widely known for its use in healing and managing the health of the gut, especially in cases where one is trying to use L-Glutamine for a case of leaky gut or leaky gut syndrome.
Let's have a look at why this simple amino acid in supplement form can be such a powerful gut healer, and how you can start to integrate it into your supplement regime in order to either heal your gut faster, or simply to keep your gut health at a good level.
To be as honest as possible from the get go, as I talk about further on down the page in the supplements section this write up and my experience with L-Glutamine is based on this specific product here.
There's several different areas to cover, so for your convenience, click on the link below to be transported to that location on the page:
– What Type Of L-Glutamine Is Best? Powder Or Tablet Form?
– How To Take L-Glutamine To Heal Leaky Gut?
– Should L-Glutamine Be Taken On An Empty Stomach?
– How Much L-Glutamine Should I Take For Leaky Gut?
– When To Take L-Glutamine?
– Are There Any Side Effects To Taking L-Glutamine Supplements?
– Can I Just Get Enough Glutamine From My Diet?
– How Long Will It Take For L-Glutamine To Heal My Leaky Gut?
– How Can I Find A Doctor To Help Me With L-Glutamine For Leaky Gut Advice?
Some Things To MAKE SURE YOU DO When Taking L-Glutamine For LGS
Some Things To MAKE SURE YOU AVOID With L-Glutamine Supplementation
What L-Glutamine Supplements To Buy? A Few Product Reviews To Look At
My Final Verdict On Using L-Glutamine Supplementation For Leaky Gut Syndrome
Share Your Own L-Glutamine Supplement Experience
What Is L-Glutamine? A Basic Overview
L-Glutamine is one of the 20 amino acids that are essential for the healthy functioning of your body and brain. Some of its main functions are; the promotion of muscle growth, the assistance of brain and digestive health (this is our key when it comes to using this as a supplement for leaky gut), and improving athletic performance. In fact, in terms of its use as a supplement, L-Glutamine first became popular in the fitness industry for its ability to increase muscle growth, and also protect the body from the risk of muscle atrophy.
This amino acid is one of the foundations of protein, and this is why it's so important when it comes to muscle growth, repair and maintenance. Compared with any other of the amino acids, like Glutamine, Lysine or Proline, L-Glutamine happens to be found at higher rates in the bloodstream, and contributes to around 30% of the “amino acid nitrogen” in the blood.
There is a subcategory of amino acids called the “conditionally essential” amino acids, and Glutamine is one of these. It basically means that the production of Glutamine within the body can become limited when we're not well. So when someone has a chronic illness of some kind for example, say an autoimmune disease, then their Glutamine levels can suffer.
This may be why the supplementation with Glutamine is used with cancer patients to some success as a natural detoxifier against the results of chemotherapy. As these patients are likely often depleted of this essential amino acid, and therefore improving their Glutamine levels can have a positive effect. Take a look at this study concerning chemotherapy induced toxicity and using Glutamine to specifically address this.
Just a super quick geeky moment segway here, as I think it's relevant to understand this point. When we're discussing either “Glutamine” or “L-Glutamine” we're talking about exactly the same thing. Regardless of whether the “L” is added or not, any Glutamine found in either the food or supplement form IS L-Glutamine because the mirror of L-glutamine (D-Glutamine, the “D” being for “dextro” = right) unfortunately has zero nutritional value, and so isn't relevant when discussing health and supplementation.
L-Glutamine also has the ability to regulate blood sugar levels. There are several studies that have shown the efficacy of this particular amino acid in blood sugar regulation, such as this one on pubmed.com. For this very reason it's been used to improve cases of type 2 diabetes with some success, and been positively shown to reduce not only blood sugar levels, but also to decrease fat, and decrease something known as systolic blood pressure (just one of the readings that can be taken when measuring a person's overall blood pressure).
This widely used amino acid is also classed as a neurotransmitter, and has some notable affects on brain function, with its main attributes having to do with it affecting our ability to focus, and memory performance. Apart from that it's also been stated that L-Glutamine can help with various symptoms relating to anxiety, moodiness, depression, sleeplessness and irritability. So its affect on the mood centers of the brain are also fairly wide reaching.
Apart from these stated effective uses in the athletics arena, brain function and mood regulation, and in more extreme instances such as chemotherapy detoxification, L-Glutamine is obviously well known for its importance in the role it plays with gut health. We're going to go over this more specifically next, but in simple terms it's a crucial amino acid when it comes to the health and repair of the intestinal lining.
I could go on from here with even more roles that this amazing amino has in our overall health, but what I really want to discuss is why and how Glutamine is so important for Gastrointestinal health, and then how you can start to use this powerful supplement to help you with your own healing journey.
By the way, just as a quick segway here before we move onto the more specific details regarding Glutamine and it's possible uses for improving gut health, if you're looking for a really solid overview of all things related to gut health, and healing a leaky gut, then this book “Fix Your Gut” written by John Brisson (AMZN link) is one of the best overviews I've come across so far.
How Does This Amino Acid Seal The Gut?
Out of the twenty amino acids that are present in the body, L-Glutamine is the one that acts as a direct fuel source for the cells in your gut lining. The cells in the gut lining are able to absorb the amino acid Glutamine directly, which makes it an important part of building and maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal environment.
When the cells in your gut take in L-Glutamine, which as mentioned they do readily and directly, then they produce higher levels of something called “Secretory Immunoglobulin Type A” (the acronym being SIgA) full wikipedia description here. Basically this is a critically important antibody for the function and performance of the body's immune system.
The benefits of the cells absorption of Glutamine also directly helps for what are known as the “tight junctions” in the gut lining to improve their integrity, and therefore their ability to function correctly and basically keep out the bad stuff (including pathogens, toxins from food, and particles which are too large). This is crucially important, as the damaged gut lining and its subsequent poor “gatekeeping” of the material allowed into the bloodstream via the gut, is the cause of so many of the downstream issues that leaky gut creates in the body.
The cycle of inflammation in the body created by leaky gut , and the transference of that inflammation to other bodily systems cannot be stopped until the issue of intestinal permeability is addressed and healed. This is why L-Glutamine is such a powerful supplement to take when trying to overcome leaky gut syndrome.
L-Glutamine has been positively correlated with the healing of various digestive health problems, including IBD, IBS, and also inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, crohn’s disease, diverticulosis, and leaky gut (not to mention all the separate conditions and concerns that can stem from leaky gut, for instance; weight issues, skin problems, and brain/mood health).
Here is one scientific journal paper published all the way back in 1993, which discusses the important value of Glutamine in keeping the gut healthy.
Apart From Healing Leaky Gut, What Other Health Benefits Does L-Glutamine Provide?
- Increased athletic performance and improved recovery times from workouts
- Increased muscle growth, decreased wasting
- Improved tissue healing
- Improved mental focus and concentration
- Improved cellular detoxification and metabolism
- Craving reduction
- Reduction in toxicity from chemotherapy
- Improved blood sugar, and the ability to combat diabetes (type 2)
Common Questions Regarding Using L-Glutamine For Leaky Gut:
Powder Or Tablet Form For Leaky Gut?
The popular opinion when it comes to the form in which you should take your Glutamine supplement is that powdered form is better. This is for 2 reasons:
- L-Glutamine in powdered form is a LOT cheaper in general than in tablet form. For example, Jarrow Formulas L-Glutamine at 100 Tablets of 1000 mg per tablet for example are about 3 x the price than if you were to buy this supplement in powdered form.
- Besides the cost factor, obviously it's far easier to consume the powdered form, mixed with something like water or juice, than trying to ingest 20 pills of L-Glutamine twice a day (if and once you get up to that dosage level). Some of us take a lot of supplements a day already, but that's a little ridiculous.
How Should I Take L-Glutamine Powder?
Most people find that simply mixing the powder with a cold beverage like water or juice works well. One thing you want to avoid doing is to mix the Glutamine with any sort of hot food or liquid, as it will lose its potency if heated (become denatured).
Do I Take It With Or Without Food?
The debate on whether or not to take L-Glutamine with or without food is unclear from our research. It seems that many integrative Doctors, such as Dr Axe, recommend taking it with food. Some other dedicated leaky gut websites say that it absolutely should NOT be taken WITH food, and then other experts seem to be of the opinion that it doesn't matter if you take it on an empty stomach or not.
For those of us taking this supplement to heal leaky gut, it's required that we take fairly high doses (10-20g per day) to get the positive benefits, so due to the high dosage, it may be better to go with taking it with food, rather than away from food. As always, this is one of those questions that you should really verify with your trusted practitioner before implementing a regime, to get their opinion.
Correct L-Glutamine Dosage For Leaky Gut
The correct dosage will depend on your personal situation, and how you respond to supplementing with L-Glutamine. As always, before starting your supplement regime, seek the advice of a qualified practitioner first. Although most people seem to benefit and start noticing positive changes at a dosage somewhere between 20 and 40 grams per day.
This is why using the titration method is so valuable in assessing your own body's personal response to any supplement, and decreasing the risk of any potentially negative side effects.
What Time Should I Take My L-Glutamine Powder?
Generally speaking the best time to take your daily dosages of Glutamine powder are with breakfast, and then with your evening meal. According to common advice, it does not matter if you take it before or after your meal, as long as there's food in your stomach in at around the time you're dosing. This is of course, assuming you are taking it WITH FOOD, and as stated, the opinions on this differ greatly depending on who's advice you are getting. So again, be sure to consult with your Doctor regarding this question.
Are There Side Effects To Look Out For When Using L-Glutamine Supplements?
L-Glutamine supplementation, like with any type of supplementation is highly individual, and it's hard to say if you will or will not experience any side effects. It seems from the research that most people don't seem to experience any negative side effects, but there are some anecdotal reports of negative side effects from SOME users.
We found one user reported that L-Glutamine usage at a dosage of 5 grams just once per day made them severely constipated. Another anecdotal report of negative side effects noted that the person had experienced severe side effects including insomnia, loss of appetite, and some degree of social phobia and/or fear of interpersonal confrontation. These reports seem fairly isolated, but it's still worthy of consideration before you go ahead and try L-Glutamine supplementation.
This is another good reason to make sure you get advice from your Doctor before taking any supplementation. Glutamine is a precurser to both of the two excitatory amino acids, aspartate (Asp) and glutamate (Glu) and for this reason, having too much of it in the body may bring negative side effects (take a look at this scientific literature published on pubmed here), and so this could be a cause of an anxiety response to the supplement in some people. As with many supplements, using titration (wikipedia explanation), and gradually increasing your doses over time, whilst monitoring for feedback from your body is a wise practice to employ.
Can't I Just Get Glutamine From My Diet?
In most cases you'll be getting glutamine from your diet on some level, for example turkey, asparagus, venison, bone broth, spirulina and cottage cheese all contain good amounts of dietary Glutamine. The problem is that dietary Glutamine has to compete for uptake along with all the other amino acids that you consume in your foods, and you're simply not going to get enough of the required Glutamine this way (at least not if you're suffering from any kind of abnormal digestive health issues).
For those of us trying to heal leaky gut, we need higher and purer forms of L-Glutamine, and this is why supplementation is necessary.
How Long Does It Take To Work, And Heal My Leaky Gut?
If you've read up to this point, probably one of the most pressing questions for you will be something along the lines of “how long does L Glutamine take to work to repair my intestines?”. Well that's again going to be a very personal question, with the answer depending on several factors relating to your current intestinal health.
The main factors that will contribute to the length of time that it'll take to heal your leaky gut are; whether or not you have any chronic underlying causes which need to be addressed before your gut will be able to heal (like parasitic infections as a common example) your diet and how well it allows the inflammation in your gut to decrease so your gut lining can have a better chance of healing, and the type and quality of supplementation that you are using to heal leaky gut (there are other supplements which you may want to add onto the use of L-Glutamine that are very effective for healing leaky gut and restoring GI tract functionality – a good quality Colostrum for example).
Having said that, anecdotal reports suggest that trying L-Glutamine at the maximum recommended dosage for healing leaky gut syndrome (20 grams, twice daily with food) for a period of 60 days is a good amount of time to test the supplement and its effectiveness for your personal situation.
These reports then suggest to taper off slowly, (similar to the titrated method of increasing dosage but just the opposite) and then go off L-Glutamine completely for one or two weeks and closely observe the difference, by paying attention to the way you feel, and watching for any symptomatic changes in your condition.
How To Find A Doctor Who Understands Supplementation For The Repair Of A Leaky Gut
It's important to understand that if you have something as serious as leaky gut, which can have so many negative offshoots and seemingly disconnected symptoms, that you need to seek the consultation of a good integrative Doctor who fully acknowledges and understands leaky gut and can help you with your healing journey.
A good resource to start off with is functionalmedicine.org. From there, depending on your location, you should at least be able to get pointed in the right direction of an integrative or functional medicine practitioner who can assist you.
Some Things To Make Sure You Do Whilst Taking L-Glutamine For Leaky Gut
Seek Qualified Advice Before Starting
This is just common sense, but because we're discussing health and supplementation on this website, we have to continually refer back to it for your safety and to make sure we're doing things the right way. This website, like most of if not all websites, is for information purposes only, and for you to gather ideas. Make sure you ALWAYS GET the advice of a qualified medical professional before actually starting your supplement regime. Check out this website to find leads for a good integrative practitioner if you are having trouble finding a Doctor who really understands leaky gut and how to treat it.
Always Test And Titrate
As with testing any new supplement or product that you have to ingest into your body, it's sensible to use the technique of titration, which means to gradually increase your dosage over time, often starting at a very low dosage to assess if you personally have any negative reactions to the substance.
Once you've been at a low dose for a couple of days with no obvious negative reactions, then you can gradually bring it up to the full dosage that's been reported to have positive effects for most people, which is around 10-20 grams each day, and varies case to case.
The key thing to remember is that slowly increasing your dosage is the best practice for safety and assessing your personal tolerance. It's also best practice (in terms of getting the best data) to only test and titrate up with one supplement at a time, so that you know the reactions, either positive or negative, are from that particular supplement. This is ideal, but not always possible in all cases.
Here's a sample titration plan from the great guys over at SCD lifestyle:
Use L-Glutamine To Defuse Cravings
Very often people who are suffering from leaky gut syndrome have to be quite restrictive with their diet, and for this reason they will often have to cut out most if not all sugary things like cakes, sweets, chocolate, etc. This can cause many people to have cravings for sweet foods, and adds another layer of suffering to the already grueling daily challenge of diet restriction – not to mention all the other things associated with having a leaky gut, like all the various unpleasant symptoms, and the inhibitory affect having this health issue can have on one's lifestyle.
L-Glutamine not only heals the gut, but is an effective appetite suppressant as well. No one understands the exact science behind how L-Glutamine does this, although some researchers suggest that it may be to do with the Glutamine converting easily into glucose in the body, thus somehow reducing sugar cravings. Their is no evidence of this however and it's purely anecdotal.
That being said, regardless of no one knowing the science behind the appetite suppressant qualities of the supplement, it's been used for this purpose alone by many with great success. Like with the testing of Glutamine for improving the status of your gut, once you've worked out your protocol and dosing, the next time you get cravings simply take your L-Glutamine supplement and observe the results. Sometimes self experimentation is the only way to know, and your body will let you know if this is an effective method pretty quickly.
Only Use Powdered Form
As discussed previously on this page, it's simply smarter in terms of saving time and money to go with the powdered form of Glutamine. Unless you have some unusual love for swallowing large amounts of pills each day, then it makes zero sense to opt for the tablets over the powdered form, especially when it comes to taking higher doses than normal, as is often required for repairing the gut.
See below for our recommendations on which powdered L-Glutamine supplements are the best quality.
Choose Only A Quality Brand
It's always important to make sure you're going with a brand that is good quality, and that's actually going to contain the stated amount of active ingredients you want. This is no different with L-Glutamine supplementation. Check out our best L-Glutamine supplement reviews below to get a good idea as to which are the top brands.
Use High Enough Doses
If you're trying to repair your leaky gut using the supplementation of Glutamine, it's very important that you are in the dose range that's actually been shown to be effective for leaky gut. Many people have been found to be erroneously using a lower dosage because that's the standard protocol that's USUALLY recommended for L-Glutamine supplementation when using it as an athletic performance enhancer, etc. This is usually a dose of something like two to five grams each day.
Unfortunately in most cases, using this supplement in doses less than the range of ten to twenty grams per day is not going to be enough to help heal the gut. So make sure, once you have tested and titrated your dosing, that you are getting up to that optimal dosing range, if you really want to get the gut healing benefits out of using L-Glutamine.
Things To Avoid Doing While Running Your L-Glutamine Supplementation Protocol
Stop And Reassess If You Experience ANY Bad Reactions
If you follow the test and titrate model, then you can generally proceed without too much trouble or anxiety when beginning your L-Glutamine supplementation protocol. However, common sense prevails, so make sure that you are well on the lookout for ANY signs that you might not be reacting well. Signs and symptoms that could be indicators are increases of diarrhea or constipation, increased heart rate, anxiousness, brain fog or headaches, along with anything else that's just abnormal for you.
Unfortunately with using supplements for any kind of healing, there are no golden rules, we are all unique in our own ways, whether that be down to lifestyle elements, or genetics, it means everyone can react differently to any given supplement regime, and thus why testing and gradually shifting dosage amounts is of paramount importance.
This is the main reason why IDEALLY you want to test and titrate with only one new supplement at a time, although this can be a challenge, and sometimes is not possible (like when you're taking a whole new protocol that involves many different new supplements as a combination).
Informal reports, indicate that there seems to be a negative brain based symptomatic response in about 5% of people who use the supplement. This could be experienced as a general “brain fog” or other cognitive impairment issues experienced as a side effect even when taking small amounts right at the start of the titration testing period.
Avoid “Pre-Mixed” Gut Healing Supplements
There are many pre mixed gut healing supplement blends available these days, this has increased even more so in the last 5-10 years with the huge increases in people who are suffering from intestinal permeability. There are a couple of issues with using these supplement blends though, and when trying to heal leaky gut and focusing on supplementing with L-Glutamine, they are not ideal.
The reasons for avoiding these types of supplements are the following:
- They include multiple ingredients, and sometimes these added ingredients will actually intensify the leaky gut issue, instead of helping it to heal. This will depend on how bad a persons gut health is, and the amount of healing required, but generally it's just a smarter idea to use L-Glutamine on its own so that you can be confident that you're not getting anything else in there that's going to be problematic and slow down, stop or even reverse the healing process.
- In most cases, if you're trying to use any of these supplement blends for addressing your leaky gut, It's going to be hard to get enough isolated Glutamine, without taking high doses of the other ingredients, and this could be problematic. It's also just much more logical to use the L-Glutamine as a separate supplement, again going back to the point about testing and titration, which will be much easier when the product is isolated.
Be Realistic With Your Expectations
It's easy to get hyped up and over excited about starting a new supplement, especially when you're on the internet reading all the marketing sales material that's used to suck you into buying. We've all been there, but it's a good idea to be conscious of this process, and remember that healing your gut is unlikely to be covered just by taking one or even several different supplements.
In nearly all cases there are going to be lifestyle factors involved, and these will need to be addressed along with anything else that's been a contributor to your current health situation.
Supplements can be very powerful, but we need to be sure to keep them in their place, which is as an adjunct to a holistic overall healing plan that covers all the elements.
L-Glutamine For Leaky Gut – Supplement Reviews
There are a few generally recommended brands of L-Glutamine which are reported to be both 1) a reliable source of good quality product, and 2) decent value for money compared to the competition. Let's take a quick look at those here.
This is the one I've used personally, it's not overly expensive (more than half the price cheaper than the other 2 brands listed below) and it seems to be a good quality product from what I can tell so far. It's listed on both iHerb and amazon.com currently for a competitive price.
Jarrow Formulas L-Glutamine is available here on:
Jarrow Formulas seems to be a very reputable company, with a steady stream of positive reviews and recommendations on all the main platforms such as Amazon, iherb.com, and vitacost.com.
Klaire labs is a brand that's commonly more expensive than many others, but is reported to be one of the highest quality suppliers available. A tub of 300g L-Glutamine from Klaire labs seems to be the most popular option.
I've personally not tried this brand, so I can't really comment on its efficacy as of yet, but at nearly triple the price of Jarrow, it seems like it's a bit overpriced in my opinion. However, for those who believe high quality supplements are generally better, then this may be a good choice for you.
Klaire Labs L-Glutamine is available here on:
Another very highly priced “premium” brand that costs about 3 times as much as Jarrow's version, but again, good reports and reviews are common when it comes to this brand, so if you're looking for a really premium quality L-Glutamine supplement, then this could be a good choice for you.
Numedica L-Glutamine is available here on:
What's The Verdict? Final Thoughts
L-Glutamine is an essential amino acid that can have powerful effects on the process of healing a leaking gut, and maintaining a good level of intestinal health, it has the potential to assist in other areas of personal health as well.
That being said, It's also a supplement that's use should not be taken at all lightly, as it can be highly stimulating in its role as a precursor to excitatory neurotransmitters. Some people may experience increased anxiety and other unpleasant side effects based on this fact.
As stated several times previously, after checking in with your Doctor for his or her professional advice, it's really important to make sure when using this supplement that you test thoroughly with a small dose, and then gradually increase your dosage slowly. Keep an eye out for any symptom changes, and if you notice anything unpleasant, stop immediately and consult your practitioner for further advice.
That being said, if you are careful and mature about your usage of this supplement, you may find that it's as miraculous for healing your leaky gut issues as many others have. As long as you're testing and adjusting the right way, then your risks are low, and the potential benefits are high. With that consideration in mind, you can pick up a tub of the powder at a competitive price here on Amazon.
Personally I think it's a great addition to my leaky gut supplementation, along with other powerful and scientifically validated supplements for healing digestive issues, like a good quality colostrum, which I use too. Also, getting as much education on gut health as possible is always smart, and I recommend John Brisson's book here (AMZN link) for that purpose.
What's Your Experience With Using L-Glutamine Supplements?
Have you personally used L-Glutamine supplements in the past, if so what's your experience been? Have you used them specifically for the repair of a case of leaky gut, and if yes, then was it successful? Please share your experience with this amino acid supplement below and be sure to leave us any feedback regarding the content on this subject. As always, apart from commenting below, you can make use of our contact page, if there's anything you'd like to ask us privately.
About The Author - Founder at Healthvibed.com, Nick is passionate about learning and implementing all information related to achieving optimum health.
He's since made it his mission to learn, live and share these principles, many of which you can find on this blog.