Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Glutamine: Reduces Inflammation and Improves Gut Health

L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the human body.  Because we can make it endogenously, it is traditionally called a “non-essential amino acid”, but lately the literature seems to refer to it as a “conditionally essential amino acid” because we have learned that some people, particularly when we are under stress, require more glutamine than our bodies can produce.

Many animal studies and human clinical trials have shown that glutamine can reduce inflammation.  It seems to be especially effective at healing the mucosal lining of the intestine and restoring the hair-like villi which can be severely damage by an inflamed intestinal lining.  It is theorized that glutamine works by restoring the gut barrier and preventing the “leaky gut” syndrome which may result in chronic inflammation spreading throughout the body.

Glutamine is a very safe supplement at doses of <40 grams per day.  A normal therapeutic dose is 5-20 grams a day taken between meals in divided doses.  I generally take 5-10 grams at mid-morning and 5-10 grams at bedtime.  It is available as a capsule or powder.  At the required doses, a powder is probably more convenient and economical.  It is a fine white powder with a slightly sweet taste that is water soluble.  I mix it with water and drink it.

Glutamine is used medically to promote post surgery healing.  It is a popular sports supplement as it promotes the healing of overly stressed muscles and, taken at night on an empty stomach, can stimulate the normal pre-dawn release of human growth hormone.  Some claim that it helps with blood glucose management, but I have seen no research supporting this claim.  Presumably, reducing chronic inflammation should improve many conditions.


  1. Glutamine supplement has certainly made a difference to me and my arthritic condition. Combined with a mostly vegetarian diet and daily stretching, plenty of water, and a decent sleep.... I'm in pretty good shape. Great article thanks :-)

  2. I had not heard that glutamine helps with OA and RA, but logically it would seem the reducing chronic inflammation would help with arthritis. Would be interested in other people's experiences. Glad it helped you.

  3. Hello Mr. Barnes,

    I found your blog while researching alternative treatments for my 19 year old son's just diagnosed kidney disease. I appreciate the information you've supplied about supplements that help with inflammation, which I have followed up with further research, in the quest to improve my son's condition without steroidal treatments.

    It's important to note, though, that I've found many notations that glutamine is not recommended for folks with kidney or liver disease.

    Just wanted to add that important piece of information, should anyone not do their due diligence.

    Thanks for all your insights and research.

  4. Good article, thanks for sharing this Gut Health subject in your web space.
    Fortunately it´s also presented in your blog, assuring a good coverage.
    Keep up the good work !