Glutamine is synonymous with bodybuilding but did you know it’s useful for so much more than just muscle recovery? I am often asked by clients how much glutamine a day they should be taking and I discuss this and much more.
L-Glutamine helped me to heal my leaky gut, strengthen my digestive system and recover faster. I also like to think the glutamine benefits helped my tired muscles because I’m definitely no bodybuilder.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid. It’s available in abundance from the foods we eat, but often most people still don’t get enough to really stimulate deep repair. The more energy you put out, the more wrecked your digestive system is and the more time you’ve allowed to pass eating processed foods, the more likely you’re deficient in glutamine.
My journey with this supplement has been surprising. I never really expected it to work, but it did. The science behind why glutamine works to help repair the digestive tract is very interesting.
How Glutamine Repaired my Gut
Basically glutamine works in the gut by protecting against mucosal breakdown. Now imagine this environment. You’ve got stomach acid that’s so strong it could burn through carpet (no joke, and this is healthy and natural) then a little ways down the road in your intestines, a more alkaline, lubricated environment is necessary because otherwise evacuating our bowels would be quite painful and horrible. When things get really out of whack in the gut, the important mucosal lining can start to lose its tenure. Glutamine helps it stay strong and protect us against the potential for a leak to spring.
The second way glutamine helped me is it’s amazing ability to diminish cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. Glutamine becomes a quick energy boost for our brains (which is where those cravings are coming from). It signals the body that the need has been met and the craving dissipates. Because let’s face it, it’s not our bodies that want that chocolate bar, it’s our addicted brains.
Paired with a change in diet, probiotics and plenty of stress reduction, l-glutamine has really helped me repair my gut and experience genuine, lasting health.
So how much glutamine a day is optimal to gain the benefits I discussed? Studies indicate that between 20 to 30 grams per day is the beneficial dosage for most individuals. It’s not only enough to understand how much glutamine a day we all should be taking, but what foods contain glutamine.
Foods with L Glutamine
Seafood is a great source of protein and glutamine. Grilled fish and shrimp are excellent choices. Studies indicate that salt-water seafood has a higher glutamine content than freshwater fish (1), so try some flounder, yellowtail tuna, mahi mahi (my personal favorite) , and grouper are great choices.
Aim for leaner cuts of beef because not only is this better for your heart health but leaner cuts of beef will contain higher levels of protein, which supplies the body with more glutamine.
Eggs are also another good source of glutamine. Not only are eggs full of protein, but they are an excellent source of vitamin K, B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, and selenium. Roughly 2 large egg will provide the body with 0.6 grams of glutamine.
Beans are great for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone following a plant-based diet as they are an excellent source of protein and glutamine. Pair the beans with a serving of rice and you have a complete protein in a very inexpensive meal. Tofu, which is made from soybeans, is a good plant-based source of protein and glutamine. By incorporating beans into your diet you increase your fiber intake as well as get the necessary vitamin and minerals that your body needs to function properly.
Nuts are another plant-based source of glutamine. Snacking on a handful of nuts are great for fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, glutamine, and antioxidants. You can also add nuts to your morning oatmeal to bump up the nutritional content, rounding out the meal with added protein and glutamine.
- Andersen, S. M., Waagbø, R., & Espe, M. (2016). Functional amino acids in fish nutrition, health and welfare. Frontiers in bioscience (Elite edition), 8, 143–169. https://doi.org/10.2741/757