Meet Your New Weight Management System – L-Glutamine

Much has been written on bodybuilding and health sites about l-glutamines role in building muscle. It performs a key role in the recovery process after intense training. 

But glutamine also creates another nice side effect. It can control weight gain because it’s a metabolic fuel. The link between a slow metabolism and weight gain is abundantly clear so the more you do to keep your metabolism ticking over the more fat it will burn as fuel. 

Bodybuilders have known about this macronutrients role in creating lean muscle mass for decades. It was not so much that the research was abundantly clear, but rather through trial and error it was just something they did.

Forcing spoonfuls of glutamine down your gullet won’t in itself cause you to drop 10 pounds overnight. Your body is already producing glutamine stores constantly. It is the most abundant amino acid found in the body. If you are stressed, and let’s face it who isn’t, your natural stores of glutamine though can become depleted.

Why Do You Need To Keep Glutamine Stores Topped Up?

Research shows that glutamine can reduce sugar cravings. Less sugar in your diet works towards optimizing your health and controlling your weight by keeping your calories in an easy to manage zone.

If you experience gastrointestinal issues glutamine is great for gut health. It is the main fuel the immune system and intestinal tract cells run on. It also has a calming effect on the lining of the gut and can reduce intestinal spasms which is why it is often prescribed to treat short bowel syndrome.

It can be used to manage glucose control for Type 2 diabetes patients, although anyone with diabetes should clarify this with a qualified physician.

Glutamine has also been used to speed up the recovery of burns patients in hospitals. It plays a key role in wound healing.

When you are combining a tough fitness routine and trying to balance a stressful job with family life your glutamine stores can run dry. Glutamine is used to transport nitrogen around the body. When you are stressed the body deploys nitrogen to counteract the stress hormone cortisol and the adrenalin flowing through your body.

If you are running high all the time your glutamine stores will be low. Once they are low it will take you longer to recover from flus and common colds. Topping up on glutamine will boost your immune system and help you cope better with stressful situations.

Stress is a killer and combined with obesity plus the high fat and sugar contents in western diets, you have a lethal concoction. L-glutamine helps metabolize fat and prevents its absorption into the bloodstream. Great for your heart and cholesterol levels, and not just the scales.

A lot of disease currently starts out with inflammation. Glutamine is known to reduce this and some positive research has shown it can reduce the effects of cancer and arthritis.

Eat It In These foods

Glutamine is naturally found in fish (the wilder the better), red meat, turkey and in many vegetables like spinach, kale, beans, cabbage, carrots, celery parsley and poultry products. One convenient way to get extra glutamine in its food source is to make a vegetable smoothie or buy a multi-vegetable juice drink.

Although supplementing with glutamine in supplement form has not been shown to reduce its absorption rate, so if eating the wide variety of foods or juicing is not your thing this is a good alternative.

Supplementation Dosage 

Most supplements recommend a dose of 5g. This may be a little low for anyone involved in intense training as l-glutamine plays a pivotal role in muscle repair. Studies have shown that up to 50g* of glutamine per 150 pounds of bodyweight can be taken without adverse side effects. A safe marker would be anywhere between 5-30g depending on current emotional and physical stress levels.

Glutamine can be adjusted as needed. If you are stressed, overburdened emotionally, or performing endurance running or sports activities you can increase the dosing up to 50g. When life is not as demanding you can reduce back down to 5-10g daily.

Exercise Recovery

Glutamine plays a key role in exercise recovery. As the line between overtraining and training hard is easy to blur, your body can take a huge chunk of your storage supplies after a workout. As much as up to 40%. 

If you don’t have adequate supplies the muscle repair process will take longer and naturally you will have more muscle pains (DOMS) and fatigue. Having low glutamine stores can also weaken your immune system leaving you more susceptible to illness. Nutrition comes first, then rest and then the enjoyable part, gym work, in terms of developing a lean muscular and powerful physique.

Who Should Avoid Glutamine Supplementation?

If you have kidney or liver disease you should consult with your doctor before supplementing with glutamine. It can interact with anticoagulants like Aspirin, Apixaban, Warfarin and prescribed drugs so have a chat with your doctor before adding some to your diet. 


Eddie Eastwood is the founder of X Boom Fitness, a fitness resource aimed at anyone over 40. Amongst sharing his knowledge on nutrition you can find plenty of practical work outs and fitness routines.