The best glutamine depicting a healthy digestive tract and a scoop of pure glutamine powder by The Healthy RD

8 Best Glutamine Powders (Natural and Free of Additives)

You may be wondering about how to choose the best glutamine supplement if you are reading this post.   L-glutamine may help many aspects of health, and for healthy people, it is very safe to take.  But, with hundreds of brands on the market today, it can be confusing how to find a good one. In this post, learn about the functions, when you should take it, and the best L-glutamine brands. 

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What is Glutamine? 

Glutamine is considered a nonessential or conditionally essential amino acid that plays a big role in gut health.  Not only important for gut health, glutamine is the most common type of amino acid in our plasma too. Our bodies make it, but under stressful conditions or imbalances in our diet, our bodies use more than we can make. 

Don’t confuse glutamine with branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) because BCAAs are essential amino acids.  The body can make glutamine from BCAAs, though, as follows: 

BCAAs, such as leucine, combine (transaminate) with α-ketoglutarate to form glutamate,  and then combines with ammonia to form glutamine with the help of an enzyme.  See? You can make glutamine but it’s not an easy process for the body.

L-glutamine is the primary form in the body, so for the purposes of this post, this form is considered.

When does your body need more?

Immune cells rely on glutamine for energy, especially when the body is under stress [R].

Stressful conditions include:

  • Infections
  • Surgery
  • Burns
  • High intensity exercise
  • Malnutrition
  • Inflammatory conditions such as leaky gut

As you can see, it can be easy to deplete your body’s pools under stressful situations. 

A high protein diet will typically provide up to 3 grams of glutamine per day from diet sources such as meats, chicken, bone broth, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes. In contrast, the body’s pools are about a gram per kilogram.  A person weighing 70 kg would then have about 70 grams stored in the body [R]. 

Which form should I take?

By far the best form of glutamine is a powder form. The reasons are many, but the primary one is that you don’t need extra additives that come in the capsule forms.

Plus, if you take glutamine capsules, you will have to take a lot of them to achieve the desired health benefits. 

Best L-glutamine supplements 

When buying supplements, quality should be a big factor in your decision.  Your supplements should be pure and should be: 

  • Good manufacturing practices (GMP) certified (third party tested in rigorous way)
  • Free of synthetic additives
  • No protein powder in them
  • Organic when possible

Some brands I don’t include in this post are still are pretty good, but do not have GMP certification, such as Optimum Nutrition, Kaged Muscle, Body Fortress 100%, Muscletech Platinum, and Optimum Nutrition.  

Glutamine with protein powder or protein shakes is not ideal because certain amino acids compete with glutamine for absorption, so I suggest avoiding those.  

Which forms are best for leaky gut?

For good gut health, glutamine powders can contain other gut healing compounds, such as zinc, n-acetylglucosamine, slippery elm, or licorice.  These are great for a short-term gut healing protocol. I include recommendations for these below.  All the glutamine products listed are available on Amazon and are included in the links too. 

Supplements for leaky gut aren’t the only thing to focus on,however; you should also follow the best gut healing diet too.

Intestinal repair powders:

Vital Nutrients GI Repair Powder is a blend of L-glutamine, zinc carnosine, slippery elm, n-acetylglucosamine, MSM, and rutin.  This company goes above and beyond for quality and purity testing by analyzing each batch to be free of chemicals and effectiveness.  Considered pharmaceutical grade for this reason and healthcare practitioners use this brand. Of note, the compounds in this supplement, including zinc carnosine, are specifically used because they are good for gut healing for leaky gut. Contains 40 servings and this supplement should be taken 2 to 3 times a day for best results.

GI Revive Powder from Designs for Health is a blend of L-Glutamine,  n-acetyl glucosamine, pectin, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, aloe, slippery elm, mucin, marshmallow root, chamomile, okra, MSM, quercetin, and zinc carnosine. The GI Revive company is GMP certified and used by healthcare practitioners. Contains less zinc carnosine and glutamine than the Vital Nutrients brand, but contains a larger array of healing plant compounds. The dose on the bottle says 1 tablespoon once a day, but many people feel better if they spread out this dose to 1 teaspoon three times a day.

Pure glutamine powders certified free of allergens: 

Leaky Gut Repair Powder by Liver Medic contains 3 grams glutamine, 1.5 grams n-acetylglucosamine, 250 mg marshmallow root, slippery elm, DGL, Aloe, MSM, quercetin, ginger, zinc, and a small amount of magnesium.  Liver Medic is GMP certified. Contains stevia and natural chocolate mint flavor or you can get plain unflavored too.  This product is also NSF Certified, Gluten, Soy, and GMO Free.

Klaire Labs L Glutamine Powder contains 5 grams (5000 mg) of L-glutamine per serving and is free of major allergens including milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, gluten, soybeans, corn, and yeast.  Pure glutamine with no additives and the company is GMP certified. This is powdered glutamine supplement contains 60 servings per container too.

Best affordable glutamine powders:

Jarrow L-Glutamine powder is ideal on a budget for free form L-glutamine and is in bulk amount with 500 servings per container.  The dose suggested on the label is 2 grams per serving, so if you are taking it several times a day, this will still last you several months.  Jarrow is a cGMP company and is also NSF certified.

Carlson – L-Glutamine Powder is a great glutamine powder if you are new to trying glutamine.   Carlson is a good L glutamine for beginners.  This is because it is a small amount and you don’t have to break the bank to try glutamine.  Contains a small amount at an affordable price.  Each serving contains free-form amino acid of glutamine 3 grams with 33 servings per container.  Allergen free and also GMP and NSF certified.

Organic L-glutamine

BCAA’s and Glutamine

Natural Factors, Micronized L-Glutamine is pure glutamine with 5000 mg per serving is the only organic glutamine brand I could find on the market today. Natural Factors is also GMP certified, pharmaceutical grade, and is free of contaminants. GMO free and allergen free too. Contains 90 servings per container. Bonus: its only ingredient is glutamine.

 

 

 

Transparent Labs BCAA Glutamine combines both branch chain amino acids, which are essential amino acids and glutamine. This powder also contains vitamin C. Transparent labs takes third party testing to another level and makes each batch content available to the public on their website. Contains natural stevia as a sweetener.

Why is it important to take glutamine supplements?

Glutamine uses are numerous from a functional medicine standpoint because it is such a predominant amino acid in the body, and has very important roles in the gastrointestinal tract. Here are some reasons that it may benefit your health: 

    • Reduces leaky gut: Leaky gut allows unwanted and undigested food particles to enter the blood stream, which wreaks havoc on the health of the body and mind according to renowned researcher, Dr Fasano as published in the Annals of New York Academy of Science [R].  L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the gut and lack of it may cause leaky gut. Intestinal permeability is reduced by supplemental glutamine when given to people who have had intestinal infections [R].  Glutamine restores tight junction proteins in the gut so it makes sense that it may heal leaky gut symptoms [R]. 
    • Improves gut health by reducing inflammatory compounds in the gut, glutamine also supports a healthy intestinal lining [R]. It is also the primary energy source for your intestinal cells as well. When you take glutamine for gut health, remember that you may benefit from also taking a combined gut healing supplement as listed above.
    • Muscle recovery: Glutamine for athletes is a popular supplement because it may help with both muscle recovery and also with reducing GI symptoms during endurance exercises [R]. Glutamine recovery from exercise is backed by research, but it is important to note that research does not support use for muscle gain.  Anecdotal evidence suggests it may help older people gain muscle mass, however. 
    • Reduces muscle fatigue: Research is conflicting about whether it helps with muscle growth, but it does help with reducing fatigue in muscle tissue [R].
    • May reduce small intestine bacterial overgrowth: Glutamine reduces harmful bacteria growth in the intestines according to early research work published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.
    • Skin health: a combination of branch chain amino acids and glutamine improved skin texture over a period of 4 weeks compared to placebo, l-glutamine benefits skin by increasing collagen protein synthesis when combined with BCAAs. 
    • IBS: Irritable bowel symptoms after intestinal infection are alleviated by supplemental glutamine.  These symptoms include a reduction in diarrhea and leaky gut.  Using it for IBS is safe and the benefits are pretty clear according to numerous research studies. However, research about glutamine in inflammatory bowel diseases is conflicting; the studies are small so far. 
    • Weight loss: some clinical research shows that glutamine benefits include weight loss by supporting glucose metabolism and may even reduce inches on the waist   Glutamine weight loss trials are small, so keep the expectations in perspective with this supplement. 
    • Glutamine deficiency: glutamine deficiency can be congenital or due to stressful conditions. Deficiency can also be the root cause of IBS symptoms according to Medical News Today. 
    • Healthy immunity: glutamine is a preferred fuel source for immune system cells like lymphocytes and also helps increase production of immune cells.  For a healthy immune system, it is important to have enough glutamine in the body. 
    • Sugar cravings:  Glutamine increases muscle glucose use and may reduce elevated insulin levels as well. Experts are not sure whether l glutamine for sugar cravings actually work, but from a mechanistic standpoint, it should.  This is because eating protein generally does reduce the intake of sugar, it stands to reason that it might reduce sugar cravings too. 
    • May reduce alcohol cravings and reduce alcohol intake: early research suggests that glutamine may reduce alcohol intake. 
    • May help diabetes: by increasing the body’s use of glucose and lowering serum insulin, it may help people control their diabetes, although larger scale research trials are needed. 

 

When to take glutamine

It is ideal to take glutamine between meals for the best effectiveness.  You can also sip on glutamine before bed too for a good effect.  If you take it with meals, the amino acids in your food will compete with the glutamine, making it less effective.

That said, if you find that you feel nauseated, try starting it with a small amount of food, such as rice.

Try sipping on glutamine powder that is mixed in a bit of lemon juice.  If you sip on it throughout the day, it has a better chance of having a continual healing effect on the tight junctions of the intestine {personal experience, not research}.

Dosing

There is no known toxicity of glutamine, so there is no upper limit on the dosage.  People tend to feel better if they start out with a lower dose, such as 2 grams a day and increase the dose as tolerated.  The dosage for leaky gut tends to be around 10 to 15 grams per day for a short period and maintenance doses are usually around 1 to 2 grams per day. 

Side effects

Healthy people can take glutamine powder without any risk of side effects.  However, if you have kidney disease, avoid glutamine supplements as some studies show that it may worsen kidney failure unless under the supervision of your doctor [R]. 

Summary

L-glutamine can be an important part of a healthy intestinal barrier, skin, immune system, and is important for muscle recovery post workout.  Keep in mind, it is important for people to continue to get good nutrition from the diet, consider digestive enzymes, and find holistic ways to support your gut healing for best health.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.  Always reach out to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your health routine.

 

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