L-Glutamine: 7 Do’s and Don’ts for People with Leaky Gut & Autoimmunity

“Ewwww, does that mean my poop is leaking into my body?”

Only those of you dealing with chronic gut issues can appreciate a questions like that.

But it’s actually a question that came up for me when I first learned about leaky gut.

Back then I was struggling with chronic constipation and low energy, I was still trying to figure out my health and “Leaky Gut” sounded pretty darn weird to me.

Now, after years of studying it, that simplistic question isn’t far from the truth. Here is what concerns me most: leaky gut syndrome is a huge part of why autoimmune disease starts and if left unfixed can be part of why the symptoms keep getting worse.

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So, then the question becomes how do we heal a leaky gut? We believe a pleiotropic approach is necessary, which means you must approach healing from several angles at once to actually flip the body back to health. This includes making dietary changes, adding supplements, reducing stressors and correcting underlying root causes of disease.  

And when it comes to supplements, L-Glutamine is one of the most talked about for digestive health. At this point, the research is pretty clear on L-Glutamine being a very valuable supplement for anyone dealing with chronic health issues.  

Whether it works to help fix your gut wall, helps you sleep better, helps you recover from exercise or helps reduce cravings, it’s a very safe, cheap and readily available supplement to think about trying.  

I’ve used it on and off for over 15 years for various purposes, have watched it work in consulting clients and also seen it NOT work. I think there’s actually an art to using it and I’ve got some very simple do’s and don’ts that everyone should be aware of.  

4 L-Glutamine “Do’s” You Need to Know About

Researchers are finding that L-Glutamine plays a critical role in healthy digestion and brain function. [1] Glutamine has been shown in studies to protect against mucosal breakdown in the gut. [2] [3] There are even studies looking into how glutamine can aid in reducing side-effects of chemotherapy treatments. [4]

And I’ll show you in a just a minute that not having enough of it around can and does cause big problems for the lining of the gut wall. Basically the more sick and broken you are, the more likely this is a supplement you should try using.  

1) Test It

The short story is if you have autoimmune or gut health issues, L-Glutamine should be something you test adding to your supplementation routine. We’ve seen it be especially helpful for those suffering from multiple food allergies.  

Your gut is made of a delicate tissue called epithelial tissue. Like anything in the body, this tissue requires maintenance. When this tissue breaks down you get leaky gut, which leads to increased inflammation and is tied to all kinds of chronic health conditions. Researchers are looking into how glutamine can support gut maintenance, claiming that when you are deficient in glutamine, your intestinal tissue suffers and can actually atrophy. [2] Supplementing with glutamine could be a way to avoid this tissue breakdown. [5]

One study puts it this way: “Glutamine has protective effects on intestinal mucosa by decreasing bacteremia and epithelial cell apoptosis, enhancing gut barrier function, and influencing gut immune response.” [3] It’s saying that glutamine can fight against bad gut flora, keep the epithelial cells from dying, and support the immune system’s ability to kick butt.

As you can see, it’s a pretty amazing molecule. And having more of it in the body can help with gut health, brain health and muscle repair. However, everything is a test, meaning that all the research in the world won’t tell you whether you should be using it. In the end, you need to just test it and do so at different dosages.

So, let’s explore how to use it…  

2) Ramp Up Slowly

Too much, too soon of any supplement can cause issues and L-Glutamine is no different. The best way to use this supplement is to slowly ramp the dosage up over a few weeks. This allows the body to grow comfortable and reduces the chances of overwhelm.

Based on the research and real-world application, the dosage you are trying to build up to is 10g to 40g a day. I’ve even done protocols, and seen others do them, of up to 100g a day.  

But the sweet spot for really solid results seems to be around 20g to 40g a day.  

And the way to do this is to slowly work your way up to these ranges – always pausing or stopping if you notice any negative reactions.

Here’s an example of how to do this:

  • Day 1 – 2.5g AM and PM with food
  • Day 2 – 2.5g AM and PM with food
  • Day 3 – 5g AM and PM with food
  • Day 4 – 5g AM and PM with food
  • Day 5 – 7.5g AM and PM with food
  • Day 6 – 7.5g AM and PM with food
  • Day 7 – 10g AM and PM with food
  • Day 8 – 10g AM and PM with food
  • Day 9 – 12.5g AM and PM with food
  • Day 10 – 12.5g AM and PM with food
  • Day 11 – 15g AM and PM with food
  • Day 12 – 15g AM and PM with food
  • Day 13 – 20g AM and PM with food
  • Day 14 – 20g AM and PM with food

By the end of week 2, you’ll be at 40g per day (which is where the studies and most people report really good results). It’s best to always take this with food, typically at the end of a meal.  The thinking here is that this is an amino acid and that it will be better absorbed with other amino acids. When you take it, try to consume as little water as possible so as to not dilute the stomach acid needed to digest your food.

Last reminder, if you experience any negative reactions, stop the supplement or reduce your dosage right away. More on why this happens below, but for now take a few days at a lower dosage, or off, and then try again. If you still react, then it’s probably not right for you at this time.  

3) Use a Powder… Not Pills (Brands Included)

As I mentioned above, the amount of L-Glutamine you’ll be taking is much higher than a typical supplement. And so picking the right brand and type of L-Glutamine supplement is very important.

If you do some looking around, you’ll see that there are two main ways to take L-Glutamine: in pill or powder form. Do not buy this supplement in pill form. The main reason is that you’ll be using such a high amount, which means you would need to take 10-20+ pills with each meal.  

That’s just annoying and unnecessary, especially since you can easily obtain this supplement in powder form, unflavored and without additives.  

Here are the brands we prefer:

All three are very highly respected brands. I personally trust Klaire and Numedica more than Jarrow, as they cater more towards the professional health crowd, gut health crowd and seem to carry higher quality standards. That being said, to my knowledge I can’t see a difference between the three.  

4) Use It for Cravings

When I switched to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I used to get massive cravings for sweets and foods that I didn’t even like before. For instance, one time I remember having a dream about cakes flying around me and I was trying to grab and eat fistfuls of them.  

I don’t even like cake – never have. I used to ask my mom to make me pies for my birthday.

The reason I mention this is when we switch to a real food diet like SCD, Paleo, etc., cravings can become a daily battle. And the cool thing about L-Glutamine is that it can be a life saver when these cravings begin to attack.  

Here’s how we think it works… it’s thought that L-Glutamine can, on an empty stomach, quickly make it’s way to the brain and become an energy source.  

The honest truth is no one understands why this works. It could be that L-Glutamine is easily converted to glucose, but that doesn’t really explain why it works so effectively. Because if you give someone who’s craving sugar straight glucose, they typically just want more. And of course there’s the small percentage of people who get brain problems when they supplement with this  (which I’ll tell you more about later).

In the end, does it really matter when the cravings come? I don’t think so, because the supplemental fix is good for your gut and cravings.  

Here’s what I do – take 5g of L-Glutamine the minute the cravings come. Test it out and let me know in the comments below how it helps or doesn’t.

3 L-Glutamine “Don’ts” You Need to Know

There are some important things to be aware of regarding L-Glutamine supplementation, including that there is a small percentage of people who do NOT do well supplementing with this amino acid.  

Now, in general, always know that some supplements just might not be right for you right now (meaning that they could still be helpful later on), so don’t just write them off as bad for you forever.

1) If You React, Don’t Keep Using It the Same

If you react negatively to L-Glutamine, then it’s time to change what you are doing. Don’t get all macho and try to press on through the issues.  

Note: There are some supplements that you do need to adopt that mindset for but this isn’t one.  

I’ve had all kinds of complications reported to me about L-Glutamine, including worsening of constipation, diarrhea, anxiety, heart racing, brain fog, headaches and almost anything else.

What does this tell us? Nothing specific other than each person’s genetics, epigenetics, gut flora and current hormone levels are different. The conclusion to be drawn if you try L-glutamine and it does make your symptoms worse is that it’s not the best supplement to be using right now.  

And this would be especially true if you get brain-related symptoms. There appears to be 5% or less of the population who report brain-related issues right away on the first dose (totally made up based on our interactions with people). Science is still unclear on why this happens, but, as mentioned in the cravings section, it seems to have to do with how glutamine is used in the brain.  

There are all kinds of theories and conjecture but no one really understands it yet. The take home point is that if you experience brain issues, reduce your dosage or stop altogether. If you experience GI related distress, then you most likely just need to lower the dosage.  

2) Don’t Use a Blended ‘Do-It-All Supplement’

There are a lot of gut-healing powders on the market. And many of them, rightfully so, include L-Glutamine. This makes it attractive to think that you can just grab one gut-healing powder and solve all your issues.

And while this can be true in some cases, most gut-healing powders have 2 HUGE problems.

The first is that they include a long list of ingredients, some of which are known to aggravate certain gut-related issues. For instance, things like slippery elm can and do help some people but can cause big time flare ups for others.  

The other big issue is that we know L-Glutamine is better at dosages above 5g a day. And most powders don’t nearly contain that amount. Instead, it appears to be added to the formula as a filler supplement not really giving you the bang for the buck you want.  

So, in general, I like to encourage you to use L-Glutamine only powder. It’ll likely be cheaper and you’ll understand better whether it’s right or wrong for you.  

3) Don’t Expect It to Fix Everything

Are you attaching unrealistic expectations to your supplements? Because I used to do this, I’m extra sensitive to this when I talk with others about their health.  

The reality is that supplements are both very powerful tools to use and far from being miracle workers that will fix everything.  

There’s just too many aspects of gut health, immune health and full body health for a supplement like L-Glutamine to fix the totality of leaky gut and autoimmune issues.

Another way to say this is: it has it’s role. And it’s an important role, but just like any great player on a team (for a team sport) it can’t do it all and win the championship. As mentioned earlier, when it comes to these complex problems in the body, we need a team effort (pleiotropic) approach to really get amazing health back.

This includes the right diet, supplement program, lifestyle changes and typically some testing…  

Which is why I want to encourage you, if you are struggling with leaky gut or autoimmune issues, to attend this free presentation we did all about how to use this approach. It’s called “How to Turn Off Your Autoimmunity — and Restore a Healthy Immune System.”

Click here to register and watch.

On this presentation, we talk about specific action steps, diet ideas and many more that, together with L-Glutamine supplementation, can really transform your health in just a few short months – even if you’ve been struggling for years.

-Steve

Steven Wright

About Steven Wright

Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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262 thoughts on “L-Glutamine: 7 Do’s and Don’ts for People with Leaky Gut & Autoimmunity

  1. Ive just started using the L-Glutamine powder, and started with a low dose, the first 2 hours it makes me feel better but after that I get major anxiety, and it’s the worst.
    One day after I started with digestive enzymes, I thought it was working, but now I feel really really sick, my whole body is hurting, Like a flu. can’t sleep well, feel hot and cold. It started after eating yesterday and my belly was hurting a lot and not able to digest the food.
    I guess it is better to stop with the glutamine right? Not sure if the digestive enzymes can also cause some form of anxiety or make you sick?
    And should I stop with them as well or maybe higher the dose and see if it helps to digest better?
    I have major digestive issues, especially when eating fats or protein I get really really fatigue, like extreme. And the digestive enzymes should be helpful for that right?
    What else do you suggest for these digestive issues?

  2. First of all let me say thank you for all the work put into this web site and thanks to all the commentors for their informative input too.
    I have been taking Glutamine for about 8 weeks in an attempt to get my UC under control. Also taking medication. After reading the article I am clearly under dosing by at least 20g and am stepping up the dose hoping for a positive effect. What I would like to know is can the glutamine act directly on the colon by transit through the inestines or is it all via the digestion and metabolism route? Also is it OK to take bone broth as well or could that cause am overdose?
    regards and thank you, Paul Field

    • HI Paul – from our understanding and research at this point it is through absorption into the blood stream. You may want to stick with testing out the glutamine first before you also add in the broth, as we always suggest changing one thing a time so you know what it is if you react.

  3. I would like some help with the dosing on the L-Glutamine. You suggest starting with 2.5g twice a day, eventually moving up to 40g. The powder I have says it has 5000mg/tsp or 5g/tsp. That means starting with 1/2 tsp and going up to 8 tsps. two times/day. Am I correct in my understanding? Eight tsps. seems like a lot, so I want to be sure. Thanks.

  4. Hello, I’ve just purchased L-glutamine and have been reading the posts on this site. I have to say I’m very concerned about taking this product now. I have no idea if I have any underlying illnesses waiting to come out. I know I have Gilberts syndrome which effects my liver but isn’t life threatening. But could this be a problem and glutamine cause more damage ?

  5. I’ve been using this for a few months now (when I first read this article). I use the Jarrow. The label says to use 1/2 teasp which is 2 grams. You’re say I might try ramping up to 20 grams 2 x a day. That’s nearly 1/4 of a cup twice a day. I’m almost scared to try that much with all the negative side effects I’m reading in the comments. I’ve got Hashimoto’s and I am super sensitive to everything. My chiro suggested I start with 1/4 teaspoon and then go to the 1/2t. I’ve done that. I’m not sure what to do here.

    • HI Michelle- 40g is the dose research has found to be most effective in healing the gut. As always, work up to that amount slowly and pay attention to how you feel when you’re on it. NOt everyone can handle that dose so you need to do what works for you.

  6. I was taking l- glutamine until I read conflicting info about how cancer binds to sugar and glutamine,. Thus, the articles discouraged against its use. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

  7. I’m suffering from H.pilory for 6 years I changed My diet ect. Because of this I have lots of pain issues a pain in my stomach burning, pain in my back, now shoulder and arm pain I’m a dissaster…
    Im afraid to go to the doctor because they dont help you to heal the last Time I went to a spine specialist for my lower back pain and hip pain they took x-Ray’s & MRI it shows that I have bone
    To solve this problem they recomment epidurals and pain meds. I did the epidurals after a second opinion…. Well that doesnt work pain stil there I have to sit in a wheelchair to get my flight at the AirPort wasted another co pay $700
    Anyway I think I have all this issues because of my bacterial problem I did the glutamine for years to heal my gut but I dont see any diffrence still have the pinching in my stomach and pain in my left Side under my breast. What really help to stop the pain is fresh cabbage juice and yess cabbage is a source of L-glutamine, so I believe that L- glutamine heals the gut and I did the glutamine powder pharmaceutical grade, I stop using it because I red that is not so good to take glutamine because the body cant get rid of it.. I’m so confused
    I find 2 kinds of glutamine l-Glutamine and Glutamine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (GAKG)
    I wonder which is the best L-glutamine to take to heal my gut.
    Thank you

  8. Hello, I have been taking L Glutamine for 4 months now nearly everyday to try and heal Leaky Gut. I have not had any side effects that I know of but was concerned with taking it for too long. Is it okay to continue taking this long-term? I was hoping my Leaky Gut would of healed by now but still having issues. Thanks for the help.

    • HI Daniel- While glutamine will certainly help heal a leaky gut, it is going to take a multi faceted approach of diet, supplements and lifestyle changes. If you haven’t changed your diet at all, this would be the best place to start. We don’t recommend taking the large dose for long term, but a low level dose has been found to be safe. As always, it is good to consult with your physician if you have any concerns.

  9. Thank you SO much for this article! I am trying to clear up my 2.5 yr old’s eczema and food allergies due to leaky gut. I am looking everywhere for some kind of dosage recommendation for a 33# child. I recently bought the Now foods powder L-glutamine. Do you have any insight on this?

    • HI Deziree – our dosing recommendations are for those who weigh at least 100 lbs. I’m sorry we don’t have any research or recommendation for weights less than that but I’d recommend working with a trusted practitioner such as a functional medicine doctor. Let us know if you need any further support.

  10. My mother had so called acid reflux and her stomach was just raw. I asked a nutritionist if there was something I could do to help her. They said to get plain unsweetened yogurt & no flavors. Get powdered L-Glutamine . Mix 1 tsp of L-Glutamine into a serving of the yogurt and have her eat it. If she didn’t like the plain yogurt to sweeten it with some Stevia. My mother ate this for a while and it healed her stomach up. She no longer complained of heartburn. Several years later she had to have antibiotics that kill all her good bacteria resulting in C-DIF. I fed her 2 to 3 times a day yogurt with a teaspoon of L-Glutamine and dry baby rice mixed in. The rice was to help bind her up. I also gave her capsules of Probiotics with each serving of this yogurt. Got her healed up.

  11. I couldn’t tolerate glutamine because of insomnia. The body intercoverts glutamine to neurotransmitters glutamate and GABA. In my case because I have 5 GAD homozygous snps the glutamate gets converted to the excitory glutamate, and I can’t convert it to GABA, the relaxing neurotransmitter. So watch for insomnia while you’re ramping up the glutamine.

  12. Stephen- Great article and I appreciate you diving into this further! Quick question/concern though: I discovered you (and the SCD info) when going through Ty B’s Truth about Cancer series. In one of the DVD’s one of the more prominent Natural Health Practitioner’s interviewed said that using L-Glutamine to repair leaky gut is a bad idea. He talked about it’s effects being similar to MSG and potentially contributing to cancer.. In other words, the exact opposite of what your article’s intent is. Why would he say that? Thank you

  13. Hello,

    I’ve been interested in trying l-glutamine for a while now, and had been taking 5 grams per day in smoothies for some time. Then I read that it’s not likely enough to truly heal leaky gut, so I began to follow a protocol described on another site. They suggested 10 grams on day 1, 20g on day 2, 30g on day 3 and 40g for 5 days, followed by a fast taper and subsequent daily maintenance dose of 5-10 g. It seemed like too much too fast, but not having read this site first, I tried it. Everything was fine for the first 3 days. Then day 4 arrived and I had stomach pain and nausea. I decided not to do 40 grams that day and stayed at 25. Not much relief. So the next day, I dropped down to 5 grams, thinking maybe I should let any excess clear out of my system. Now it’s day 6, and I am not taking any, but there was a burning sensation in my stomach, which has now moved down to my gut area.
    I assume it’s the glutamine, and that I simply took too much too fast, but is this normal? Would you recommend going off it completely for several days then trying your slower titration method? Also, I am using Now Brand pure powder, which is free of allergens, and is also free form and I took it on an empty stomach, as per the recommendations on the other site.
    Any thoughts or suggestions? Your feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks.

    • Hi Marie – I’m sorry to hear you had a negative experience with l-lgutamien 🙁 It does sound like you probably introduced it too quickly, though we’re not familiar with the reaction you’re describing. We don’t recommend trying it again until you’re feeling better – and if the burning feeling persists, we encourage you to go see your doctor.

  14. I’d like to try the L-Glutamine, but I’m blood type A+ & am hoping someone can comment about Dr. D’Adamo’s suggestion that this blood type should avoid L-Glutamine. I’m not sure why & I know the blood type diet is controversial, so would it still be safe for me to try the L-Glutamine to help with my digestion issues?

    • Hi Sherry – we don’t think there is any compelling science to back up the blood type diet. We’d say go ahead and try l-glutamine and see how you react (same goes for everything else on the blood type diet No list). That is the only way to know if it will work for you or not!

  15. I’ve been taking L glutamine, now I’m in 1gm 2x a day. What do I do after taking 40gms per day, how long do I keep taking it? I think its been working right now since I am getting less heartburn & regular BM per day about 1-2, how would I know when to stop it or when to lower my dose? Thanks

    • Hi Winellen – thanks for reaching out! We recommend you work up to 40 grams and stay there for no more than 60 days – then you can taper back down. Pay attention to how you feel (better, worse, the same) and that will help you decide if you want to use the l-glutamine again.

  16. Tara Principato says:

    I have chronic bouts of gastritis and acid reflux when I stray off my clean eating and after vavcations when I drink alcohol. I have def noticed L Glutamine helping the inflammation when I take it. I take 1 heaping tsp about 6 times a day after small meals. That would be around 30g right? Is it okay to break up my doses that way, or would you still recommend doing it only in the AM and again in the PM? Also, I should prob be doing about 2 tsp more to get to the 40g sweet spot, correct? Also, in my years of tummy troubles I have found 2 other supplements that really nip my stomach inflammation and reflux in the bud. Slippery Elm, Milk Thistle, digestive enzymes and DGL licorice chewables. Slippery Elm is just the coolest supplement. I make a tea out of it by breaking open 3 capsules and gently boiling it for about 3 mins. Cool it down and drink the entire cup in 1 or 2 gulps. The consistency is “slippery.” It actually works as an inner badaid and will find any ulcers or wounds/inflammation you have and basically coat it. Google it! It’s super neat. Thanks for the helpful article!

  17. Hello, so I’ve read that 40g a day is optimal to heal leaky gut but my question is, how much does that person weigh? What is the ratio of dosage/bodyweight for optimal usage? In all the articles I’ve read that’s the one piece of information I was looking for that’s never mentioned. Thanks!

      • When taking l-glutamine 40 grams a day, is it best to take 20g in one sitting in the am and pm, or can you space it out and take for example 8 grams every few hours, till it totals 40g? I eat 5 meals a day, so I don’t know which approach is the better one. Thanks for all your help!

  18. Hi I’ve been taking glutamine for a couple weeks, now- at 10 grams 2x a day unless I drink both broth. i was told to use one or the other each day (2 cups bb or supliment)
    Could I do both? How do they differ? Not seeing much on this thread about bone broth. Thanks!

  19. Thanks. How do I know when I’ve reached my “sweet spot” with the glutamine? Above it says it’s around 20-40g a day. How do I know where mine will be? Do I exhibit some kind of reaction if I go past it? I’ve currently worked up to 20g a day and am doing fine so far.

    • If you’re feeling good, you can continue working up to 20 g morning and evening (40 g total per day) – if at any time you notice a negative reaction, that would be a sign to lower your dose back down!

      Hope this helps 🙂

  20. Hi

    I’ve read all through the articles relating to this as well as read through all the comments here, but I had to read every single comment to find out from you how long to take your recommended dose for. And even now I’m still not clear. You say work up to 40g daily for 60 days and then taper off to see how we feel. But what then? If we feel worse do we go back on it? And at what dose? Is there a good long term maintenance dose? Your article above only advises what dose and how to increase it, it doesn’t say anything about the 60 days. Where on your website is this specific information, and any advice on long term use or maintenance if we require it? I have had coeliac disease for 9 years and underactive thyroid for twice as long. I suspect I have low stomach acid due to my thyroid, and now I suspect my gut hasn’t fully healed since going gluten free 9 years ago. I have just started glutamine to heal the gut before I try Betaine HCL for the low stomach acid. I just want some good guidance on whether long term use of glutamine is good for someone like me, at a smaller dose. How will I know I’ve completely healed?

    Many thanks

  21. Hey man I read your article on curing leaky gut with L glutamine, great and informative read. But, is there a real difference between L Glutamine name brands? It seems like they all have the same ingredients , but some also are 1/3 of the price and all have great reviews.

  22. I want to give this a try as I suffer from ulcerative colitis. Initially I bought the pills, but will be buying the powder when they finish. Dr Mercola advises not to consume high doses long term. How much do you consider to be a high dose? Is this a supplement to be taken daily, forever. Or can we reduce the amount after a certain time frame? Thanks.

    • Hi gutsy – we would consider the dose Steve recommend here (working up to 20 grams) a high dose and we don’t recommend sticking with this longer than 60 days. After 60 days you can taper back down and see how you feel 🙂

  23. I was recommended to take a teaspoon of Glutamine powder 30 minutes before a meal, 3 times a day for severe headaches that come on around 2 or 3 am by a renowned Nutritionist. I did this faithfully and within 24 hours, the migraines ceased and became mild headaches that I could treat. I took it for a couple of months, and then suddenly I started having mild chest pain. This went on for about 2 or 3 months. I even went to Urgent Care and had an EKG. He said I had nothing wrong with my heart. I finally decided to try stopping the Glutamine. The chest pain disappeared within a week. This was a year and a half ago. I have tried lower doses of glutamine, even 2 or 3 grams before each meal, and every time, in just a few days, the mild left-chest pain comes back intermittently. And I have to stop it.

    Suddenly, I am getting those middle of the night headaches again that get worse and worse as the day wears on. I want to try the glutamine again because it is the only thing I have tried that gets rid of them. I take Quercetin, but it does nothing to prevent them.

    Do you have any suggestions? I am so frustrated! And in pain!

  24. I’ve yet to do more testing on this, but I seemed to get some anxiety from using L-Glutamine powder supplementation. It seems to have affects on the excitatory neurotransmitters from what I’m reading elsewhere, so definitely a good idea to proceed with caution on this one. Just wondering if many people give similar feedback on this supplement?

  25. Can you take L Glutamine while still on anti fungal treatment for candida overgrowth. The gut inflammation has been going on a whole and I’m hoping this supplement will heal my gut lining and help in the recovery of overgrowth and bring relief of leaky gut

  26. Benedicte Damm says:

    Hi
    What dose do you suggest for treating type 1 diabetes in a 5 year old child?
    Gluten has been removed and we currently eat as clean, antiinflammatory as we can since the school food is not grain free. Also, do we need to eliminate even naturally glutenfree grains such as oats and rice?
    Best regards, Benedicte

  27. I’ve known I have leaky gut for some time. I score about 100% on your site test here as well. I’ve had bouts of both SIBO and candida overgrowth in the past (SIBO treated with antibiotics and candida with massive doses of fluconazole – both with long, horrible Herxheimer reactions).

    Likely part of the same problem, I am also very histamine intolerant (a.k.a., histadelic, histaminic); I react to almost everything that contains or stimulates histamine – eggplant, avocado, tomato, citrus (lemon is like poison to me), banana, nuts and cheese all sting my tongue and make me physically miserable within an hour of eating them. Plus, I have lots of environmental allergies.

    This week I had another unexpected case of non-stop stomach pain with bloating and allergy-like symptoms of swollen, burning eyes, sinuses, body aches. Besides being “high allergy season” now, I had been drinking a ginger beer for my stomach ache that – duh – contained sugar, and did I ever pay for it! Everything just got very bad in a hurry.

    I discovered this site, which seems like a godsend, and started taking 2.5 grams a day of L-glutamine along with my usual vitamin-mineral supp, L-methionine, caprylic acid, DAO (diamine oxidase), and Claritin. And my painful gut is now gone after just a few days – the fastest ever!

    Unfortunately, glutamine is apparently a double-edged sword for me because after a few days of 2.5g of l-glutamine, which at first seemed to help my sleep and noticeably eased my gastric pain (and I was just about to up the dosage), I started to feel nervous agitation, waking up very restless, like I’d already had too much coffee (which I hadn’t).

    The unpleasant agitation was followed by “brain fog” – difficulty focusing, thinking clearly, feeling “derealized”. Apparently, the glutamine was converting to excess glutamate in my brain – guess I was developing neurotoxicity. Gosh, if I got up to 14 grams a day…I don’t even want to think what would happen to me.

    I stopped the glutamine, reluctantly. The agitation decreased, and fortunately the gastric pain hasn’t returned. Still foggy-headed though, but I did pull out some reserve xanax to calm me all the way down.

    I’m reluctant to try colostrum as I’ve had a major dairy intolerance since I was a baby (it’s NOT lactose intolerance, it’s something else in milk that doctors haven’t identified). Looking forward to the webinar on leaky gut – I need options! If I stay as “paleo” as I can (w/o nuts or fruit), I have few gastric or CNS problems. It would be nice to have a more flexible diet!

    Byron, your worst-case scenario

  28. I have been experiencing SIBO small Intestine bacterial overgrowth symptoms for over a year and I’ve only just started looking into it after I was sent to the gastrointestinal specialist and he mentioned this particular condition …
    On different days but I’m so run down at the moment and my stomach is really swollen and I have back pain as well as pain in my left side I’m experiencing a lot of bloating as well as neck pain , which I am told that’s a build up of the gases in my body … Im mostly constipated and saying I’m tired is an understatement….. Any suggestions ??? blood test shows low iron , vitamin B but not celiac , looking at the SIBO website they suggest L glutamine as well as slippery elm and vitamins A,C and E
    Any other suggestions or advice would be much appreciated… Celeste

  29. Great article on L-glutamine. How does one heal the lining if you can’t tolerate L-glutamine? I am so frustrated that my body can’t handle
    It. It makes me tight and tense, can’t sleep and get anxiety. I have been eating a very restricted clean diet since last year. I tried the L-glutamine then and again last week and I still can’t tolerate it. It makes me think I won’t heal if I can’t take this healing supplement. Any advice?

  30. Hi 🙂 I’ve been on a paleo diet for a few years now due to CD but I’ve just now started to think about really helping to heal my gut. I know I can take digestive enzymes with every meal and I want to use L glutamine as well. How long do i take it before stopping? A couple of weeks? I was told i shouldn’t take it with probiotics. Is this true? Like I’m supposed to heal my gut with the l glutamine first and then stop taking them after some time before taking the probiotics and eating fermented veggies. Thanks.

    • Hi Patti – we aren’t familiar with l-glutamine causing ringing in the ears. That being said, if you think you’re reacting to a supplement it is always a good idea to stop it and see if you feel better. You can always try introducing it again later on.

  31. Hi there, i have been recently diagnosed with celiac disease, and have been put on a gluten free diet. One of my symptoms is constipation, can i still take L glutamine if i am constipated? another question is that i workout 4 times a week, should i stop working out?

  32. Unfortunately I didn’t do well with the glutamine powder. After 15+ years of dealing with late stage Lyme disease and all the other wonderful complications (including celiac), I’ve come to accept that some supplements just aren’t for me. Still have leaky gut and an umber-strong histamine response (really makes life a bit miserable). The colostrum supplementation sounds interesting: If I don’t do well with cheese or milk, would this same intolerance apply to colostrum? Thanks–

  33. Hi! This article was so helpful, as I am learning about healing my gut. I have been on the SCD diet now for a month and keep coming across things on L-glutamine. I do think it’s something I want to begin taking for additional gut healing. Here is my question…. Isn’t it also in the bone broths we drink so much of? I don’t want to take too much. I have tried to find out how much is in the broth, but am coming up short. Do you have any idea? Is it ok to be drinking bone broth daily AND begin the L-glutamine powder also?

  34. I was so excited to try it. I have severe IBS and got some tonight but I think I had a bad reaction. I took only 2 grams and within 30 minutes had severe pain and bloating. I ended up getting acid reflux so badly I was vomiting up acid and this isn’t something I normally have. I’m so bummed. I’ve tried everything at this point and this was my last hope.

    • Hi – I’m so sorry to hear you had these symptoms. This is unlike any reaction to l-glutamine we’ve ever heard of. It is possible something else caused those symptoms. We encourage you to go see your doctor if you aren’t feeling better now.

      These are common reactions: worsening of constipation, diarrhea, anxiety, heart racing, brain fog, headaches.

  35. Hi, I have Leaky Gut (caused by candida overgrowth). Yesterday I took L-glutamine for the first time ever in a attempt to reduce my gut’s inflammation and rebuild my intestinal lining.

    I took it first thing in the morning. About 1 hour later I think I had a reaction to it – I felt bad, exactly the same as if I had consumed a food that I’m allergic/sensitive to. The symptoms lasted until late afternoon and then subsided. I took 3 grams.

    Do you think that was a sign that the l-Glutamine was doing it’s job? Some sort of healing crisis? Maybe it killed some of the candida in my gut??

    I’m a little confused about that.

    Thank you

  36. I had been taking l-glutamine for about 2 months, then stopped for a couple of weeks. My digestion is very poor so this helped tremendously. I could eat anything without all the bloating and gas. After about 2 weeks off, I decided to go back on but it doesn’t seem to work as well now. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Eunice – sorry to hear about this.

      Here are some ideas:

      Have you introduced a new food?
      Are you using a different brand of glutamine or a supplement vs a powder?
      Are you under more stress now than you were before (work stress? family stress? physical stress from harder workouts?)

      Any of these could be contributing. You may also just need time to get back to where you were before on the l-glutamine.

      Hope this helps!

  37. Hi, I have been trying to heal my leaky gut and endless other issues?! My problem is that I am very sensitive to I-glutamine. The enzymes that I had been taking had l-glutamic acid and I couldn’t tolerate that either. They are too stimulating and give me heart flutters and chest discomfort. What do you recommend to help heal the gut if I can’t take this? Thank you for any input as I just want to get better!

  38. Hi, I’m just at the start of week 2 of using the doses of L Glutamine you suggest for leaky gut and so far I’m seeing great results! I was just wondering how long it’s recommended to stay at the 40g point? Should I gradually ease it back down to 5-10g? I’m keen to carry on using it long term as I workout everyday and do a lot of strength training. I just wasn’t sure how long it’s ok to be on the much higher dose. Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Hannah! Steve recommends staying at that dose for about 60 days and then tapering back down and off the l-glutamine. Stay off of it for two weeks and see how you feel (better? worse? the same?) This will help you decide if you want to continue using it.

  39. Hi I looked up the solving leaky gut link. I’ve read most of all that from gaps diet book. I’m seeing a GI doc on Friday. I’m going to see if he’ll do one of these test they mention in that bit. I’m a RN but have been battling this for years. I have a slew of food allergies.

    Just ate some chilli no beans. I look like a balloon now. Sucks!! I ate gluten free oats this week and same thing. I actually stayed bloated all day and got hives on my stomach and noticed one on my forearm. I hope he has some answers. So tired of being this way.

    • @Joe – thanks for asking!

      Steve recommends staying there for 60 days and then tapering off for a week.

      Once you’re off the l-glutamine, pay attention to how you feel (better? worse? the same?)

      This will help you decide if you want to continue with the supplement. If you, taper back up like you did the first time.

  40. Mariel- Quick background (leaving out self-diagnosis):
    I was ‘officially’ diagnosed witth IBS-C, Gerd, hiatal hernia, spontaneous hemorrhoids, & recent lab work shows anemia, borderline hypothyroid, low iron, low D & hormones in menopausal range. I’m only 43, have lived a fairly active lifestyle, am a USMC Veteran & have been an otherwise healthy adult. That being said, I have been following Paleo, low FODMAP (about 40 days, keeping a food journal) due to (like countless others) being fed up with so-called Doctors & their allegiance to the ‘Pharmaceutical Drug trade’ who have your best interest at the forefront? Let me stay on course here: Some, but no notable improvement in certain symptoms, but NONE in IBS/Constipation. Started a new Digestive Enzymes & Pre/Probiotic on the 1st.

    I began taking Glutamine about 3 weeks ago. My research led me to feel comfortable taking it on an empty stomach, in a little water. Moved up from 5g to 10g/daily split into 2 doses. So here’s my dilemma: I’ve already been experiencing the common ‘side effects’ as those who cannot tolerate Glutamine (i.e. brain fog, fatigue, headaches, severe constipation, etc.) BEFORE taking Glutamine. Since I’ve had no change (better or worse) I’m presuming I gradually work myself up to the sweet spot (20-40g). So how do I know if taking larger doses is making my constipation worse if I’m already at worst? I guess a simpler question would be, depending on if & when we reach our sweet spot, how long should one be taking their optimal dose before seeing an improvement? In your professional experience, can you offer up some most common, general improvements that may be experienced? If it’s just more normal or more frequent bowel movements, I’ll take it! Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Carrie – thanks for your awesome comment. I have some resources and info to share that I hope will help you and others who read this comment.

      First, I love that you’re keeping a food journal (and I hope tracking symptoms there as well, along with just everyday occurrences and stresses) as well as that you’ve done your own research on l-glutamine. These two things are critical for success 🙂

      If you’re not noticing negative or positive side effects with a new supplement, it can be difficult to know whether to continue or stop. Steve recommends you stick with it for 60 days – you might notice a reaction in this time. Either way, at 60 days we recommend you taper off over 1 week and then stop for 1-2 weeks and pay close attention to your symptoms. If you “miss” the supplement – notice you feel better when you’re taking it – you can add it back in. You might feel better without it, or not notice a difference.

      It is really good to test out all your supplements this way – giving them a 1-2 week break and seeing how you feel and how your symptoms are with them versus without them.

      Secondly, I’m so sorry you’re still struggling so much with constipation. Two supplements that work well for constipation together are Magnesium (at night) and Vitamin C. Another good recommendation we have is to supplement with coconut oil at every meal – 1-2 tablespoons (up to 6 tablespoons per day). You can read all our suggestions here: http://scdlifestyle.com/category/constipation/

      L-glutamine helps the lining of the stomach form and it helps with muscle repair and cravings too. It is awesome for overall gut health, but isn’t specifically for constipation (and not for “short-term” relief – definitely try magnesium + Vitamin C for that!)

      Hope this helps!!!

  41. I started taking l-glutamine for my leaky gut back in march of 2015 and I started at the maximum dose of 40gr per day spaced out on an empty stomach. I wish I would have started on a much lower dose. I am a type 2 diabetic (no insulin, metformin only) it lowered my blood sugar slowly week by week until i got into the upper 30’s and lower 40’s. I wish I would have stopped but I figured that it would have gone back up when I stopped taking it. Its been 5 months since I stopped taking the l-glutamine and Everyday 2 hours after lunch and dinner it drops down automatically on its own due to food intake affecting the glp-1 receptor which then I am guessing tells the pancreas to release insulin. I talked to my primary care doctor and he referred me to an endocrinologist. My leaky gut is much better by the way to where it is non-existent. L-glutamine does affect hormones. I have a appointment in 5 weeks finally with the endo. Do you know if this can be fixed permanately or will I have to take pills and shots for the rest of my life, please let me know, thanks

    • Hi Channing – we’re really sorry to hear you’re having what you think is an adverse reaction to the l-glutamine. We aren’t familiar with reports of this side effect. We encourage you to go to the doctor, like you’re doing, and get their expert opinion. Lots of things can impact your blood sugar, and a supplement is just one of them.

      For other people reading this, for ANY supplement or dietary change you make, and especially if you have an underlying condition, you should always make sure your doctor is informed and you should be willing to stop or modify what you’re doing if you don’t get the results you were seeking. There is no one-size supplement or diet and what has worked for one person might not be right for you.

      We hope your doctors can provide some helpful solutions and get you feeling better soon! If we can support you in any way, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

  42. Thanks, we’re working on the adrenal fatigue with dhea and phosphyldeserine. Along with other things like stress reduction and sleep. I’ll check out the links. Also dies L gut amine cause diarrhea at higher doses?

  43. Hi I came across your site searching for L glutamine. I’m just like wow on dosage! I have leaky gut and adrenal fatigue. The leaky gut is so awful. I’m having a terrible day. So bloated right now 🙁 I had gluten free waffles and I just have been a beach ball since. I can eat them and not have issues so not sure. I did have to take Diflucan and an antibiotic recently for female gyn issues so that has me all messed up. What probiotic do you recommend? I came across an article by Dr Axe. Good info. Listed supps. I get tired of taking all these pills $$ and not getting better. I’m so frustrated. I had IGG blood testing and a lot of food allergies. I stay away from them and try to eat paleo but still so many issues. I’m working with a Functional Medicine NP ow. God send but still not better. I had stool analysis done. I had a bacterial infection, low gut acid and not digesting fats. I’m 45, a RN and this just sucks!!! I’ve been active, competed in physique show, weight lifted for years. Help!! Thank you do much.

  44. Janet Maunsell says:

    I had bought a big bottle of Glutamine from our local health food store. They said it was the same as L’Glutamine. I took the whole bottle in doses as prescribed by Steve Wright. After that I noticed that my knee joints and shoulder joint are now creaking and grinding. Could this have been caused by the Glutamine?

    • Hi Janet – thanks for commenting!

      We aren’t familiar with this effect from glutamine, but everyone reacts differently to supplements. Glutamine is typically good for joint health, though.

      If you’re worried you’re experiencing a negative reaction to a supplement, we recommend you stop it for a few days and then slowly add it back in to see how your symptoms change.

      Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  45. I started using probiotics along with slippery elm, but just bought l glutamine powder tonight. I am wondering if I am able to still take the slippery elm, or stop it and start the l glutamine? Last year I had went to the er with strange breathing & left side stomach pain below the ribs. They ran tests & xrays , and gave me the famed cocktail to drink. I felt better, discharged with rx Zantac w/histamine. I had a flare up 2 weeks ago , unfortunately I have been dealing with quite a bit of stress.. Bloat, pain after eating etc..

  46. i used to take l-glutamine 6 months ago when i was working out in the gym and had no problem. now i’m expericning acne and intolorance to most of the food i was eating before (which was no problem). i suspect i have leaky gut and introduced l-glutamine to fix my gut, but my acne getting worse following day after i take..

    • Hi Danus – thanks for commenting1

      L-glutamine isn’t widely known to cause acne. There are some reports you can find online of people claiming l-glutmaine caused acne – but many more saying the glutamine actually helped clear up acne!

      Everyone is an individual, and even with safe supplements like l-glutamine, some people have adverse reactions. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide based on your own symptoms if l-glutamine is making you feel better, worse, or having no effect at all.

  47. Re: Leaky Gut Syndrome: I purchased “Metabolic Maintenance” L-Glutamine Powder which my Naturopath originally provided me at an earlier date. Do you recommend this product, or prefer one of the 3 brands you’ve mentioned on your website? Also, she recommended 2 grams 3x/day, and have been doing that for the past two weeks with no problems with the product, though still having some bleeding and flare up from Ulcerative Proctitus as well. Is it okay to graduate to 5g twice a day at this point, or jump to an even higher amount?

    • Hi Claudia – we recommend you talk with your naturopath about increasing your l-glutamine dosage. You might consider bringing tin this article to show her and get her opinion. We believe l-glutamine in higher doses (like described here) is very useful.

      The brands we recommend are all great but there are other good brands out there too. With any supplement you typically get what you pay for, and we urge people to seek out the highest quality supplements they can find! We aren’t familiar with that brand in particular.

      Hope this helps!

  48. Christine Bruce says:

    Hi Mariel
    I don’t know if this has been covered previously, but I read somewhere that L-Glutamine feeds Candida. My son has been suffering with CFS since April and he adjusted his diet etc as soon as he realised his gut was leaky as a result of yeast overgrowth. We have just purchased a second bottle of L-Glutamine powder but he has stopped taking it until we can be certain that this won’t worsen the yeast problems. We think that the Candida has diminished (although he is still having to use stool softeners, never having needed them before) and he is still taking antifungals and probiotics as a precaution. His energy levels are improving very very gradually, but he is not back to his previous excellent levels of health.

    Any advice would be welcome as he feels that he will be stuck with this forever and I’m struggling to keep him positive. He is 34 and has had to move back home, as he was unable to look after himself in the early months. Thank you, Christine.

  49. This is helping my mental well being. I feel more calm and stable while using it. I was anxious before and had a hard time handling stress. I’m not sure if it’s my stomach healing or if it’s helping an imbalance, but it feels good.There have been a few side effects but nothing serious compare to the anxiety going down. I can sleep deeper too. I’m glad I found this amino acid. 🙂

  50. Hello,
    I gave had leaky gut for years which finally resulted I chronic hives for a year straight and rapidly increasing g food I tolerances which caused anaphylaxis. I restricted most foods and took an l – glutamine supplement in pill form. It seemed to help although I eliminated gluten and dairy. I gave fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
    I started taking straight l glutamine and eating really well..oatmeal nuts apples protein…and about 2 weeks later ended up in the hospital with an inflamed kidney and a diagnosis of diverticulitis.
    I don’t know why my liver is inflamed but I stopped taking the l – glutamine as it says no one with liver of kidney issues should take it…but I want to heal my gut as it more damaged now than just having leaky gut.
    Do you know if l – glutamine can cause inflammation of the kidneys?

    • Hi Stephanie – thank you for reaching out to us today.

      First, I’m really sorry you’ve been so sick.

      L-glutamine is a powerful supplement – but it isn’t right for everyone. While we don’t know of any research indicating it CAUSES kidney problems, it is not recommended for those with kidney or liver damage.

      If you’re looking to heal your gut, the best way to start is with the SCD intro diet – you can learn how by downloading our free quick start guide:

      http://scdlifestyle.com/scd-quick-start-guide/

      From here, we highly recommend following the directions in the eBook for best results: http://scdlifestylebook.com/

      The right diet is the foundation of gut health.

      I hope that this information helps you get to feeling better soon – if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]

  51. I have a problem histamine intolerance and therefore allergies and rosacea. Fermented foods including probiotics are prohibited. But now I see that glutamine and gelatine are also fermented. This means to heal the gut will make the allergies worse. What do I do?

    • Hi Roderick – histamine intolerance can make healing seem daunting at first but the more you heal, the more tolerant you’ll have for histamines (histamine intolerance is a big sign of a leaky gut!)

      Another healing supplement we like is colostrum.

      If you can’t tolerate supplements right now, focus on diet and lifestyle changes first as these are the foundation of lasting health.

      You can learn more about what we suggest by attending this free webinar: http://solvingleakygut.com/webinar/internal-leakygut2/

      • i’m also suffering from histamine as well.. but i cant use glutamine to treat my leakygut issue. i’m currently only using quercetein, so that means i should avoid glutamine, or should i take it even i’m reacting bad to it.

          • hi Mariel thank you for recommending me the colostrum. i’m currently trying “Jarrow Colostrum Prime Life (500mg, 120 Capsules)” and i don’t seem to be reacting bad to it. how much would you recommend for taking each day. and i see other supplements, e.g. aloe, DGL are also used for leaky gut, do you recommend these as well for histamine intolerance people. once again thank you for helping out.

          • Hi Danus – Steve and Jordan are not familiar with that brand or your particular case so we can’t give a dose suggestion on the colostrum. Your doctor or naturopath should be able to help you if you’re uncertain after reading the supplement recommendations. With any supplement, we recommend starting at a low dose and adding them in one at a time so you can watch for a reaction, and stopping the supplement if you notice an adverse reaction! I hope you only continue to improve and 2016 is your healthiest year yet 🙂

          • Hi Mariel i would like thank you million times for recommending colostrum to me. YES the products helps really well. after taking for two weeks i can see some improvement and now it is more than a month and i can finally reintroduce the foods i was reacting before and don’t have any issues. for those of you who want to try, i was uing a colostrum from Immuntree. yes they are pricy, but the health is more important than money. also i’m using ‘wild oregano oil’ from last week which is also good for GI problems and it is a natural antibiotics too..
            Once a again Thank you..

  52. What is L Glutamine derived from? Just looking at the Jarrow brand, it does not exclude corn or rice which I’m intolerant to. I want to try the powdered brand, as I’ve taken a capsule form before and had a reaction. Thank you, Connie

  53. I am at 25mg now and I’m already noticing some major benefits. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease 3 years ago and was unable to do any exercise without extreme exhaustion. This past week I breezed through some mild exercises. I joined a Zumba class on Tuesday and sailed through it like it was nothing. I am flabbergasted. I am also sleeping better for the first time in years.

  54. I tried incorporating L-Glutamine in my daily regimen to control my cortisol level, but unfortunately, I am unable to tolerate this supplement. Shortly after beginning my regimen, large pimples began appearing on my face. I haven’t used L-Glutamine for a few days now, and my skin is fine.

    • Hi Carol – thanks for sharing this.

      We haven’t heard of this reaction before, but we always recommend you test a supplement and see if it works for you.

      There is no perfect-for-everyone supplement, and if you’re reacting to l-glutamine, we recommend you discontinue it.

  55. Alexandra Perez says:

    Thank you for the post! I just wanted to know how much of the powder I can mix with water? I have the one you guys recommend (Jarrow) but it says to mix 1/2 teaspoon in a glass of water. But you said to mix just enough to dilute it? So are you saying I can mix a full tablespoon or so in a little bit of water?

  56. Hello…….I was taking about 10,000 grams of L-Glutamine for a few days and noticed quite a bit of water retention. I suppose that can be one of the side effects. I also read an article by neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock that L-Glutamine is an excitotoxin and can do damage to our brains and contribute to dementia. Anyone know anything about this?

  57. Hi,
    I’ve been chronically ill for about 13 years. Paleo, mostly grain free for past several years. I think my diet is fairly well dialed in. Have seen much improvement, but I know my gut is still leaky. Several years ago, I was prescribed L-Glutamine by a functional medecine nutritionist. I think I tried Designs for Health, which I believe is pure L-Glut. I tried it 2 or 3 times in a very small dose and every time, I began producing copious amounts of mucoous/phlegm in my throat. The practitioner told me to stop. I’ve never tried it again. This also happens with Great Lakes Grass fed gelatin. I am SO CURIOUS as to why this happens with these particular products. What could be the mechanism??? I know I need some good stuff to heal my gut. Would you recommend that I try it again with a different brand?, or should I try a different product such as DGL. I experimented w/ a little slippery elm recently, but not exactly sure about it.
    Thanks Guys!
    I always appreciate the info. that you make available!
    Suzanne

    • Hi Suzanne – thanks so much for reaching out!

      We don’t recommend you continue with glutamine if you’re experiencing negative reactions like those you describe.

      Fortunately, there are a lot of other things you can try to heal the gut.

      Steve and Jordan discuss these in their free webinars – you can use the link at the end of this article to sign up and learn more!

      Hope this helps 🙂

  58. I started taking L-Glutamine and tolerated it very well. I had been on it for about 4 months, 20 – 40 grams per day, when I had an allergy test. To my great surprise, I tested allergic to the glutamine. Is anyone able to explain this? Thanks so much in advance.

    • Hi Tricia – I have just dipped my toes in the research on this topic, and it’s really interesting. Steve and Jordan haven’t reviewed any peer-reiviewed studies and don’t have a strong opinion on this topic just yet. I recommend you consult with your doctor regarding glutamine supplementation and see what they advise. Also, don’t be afraid to dive into the research yourself and form your own opinions!

      If you decide glutamine isn’t right for you, there are lots of other things you can try for your gut. You can learn more of what we suggest by attending the free webinar! The link to attend is at the end of this article 🙂

  59. The reason some can not tolerate glutamine is because it can get converted to the neuro-excitatory neurotransmitter Glutamate. High levels of glutamate can cause anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and the inability to focus. Elevated glutamate levels are neurotoxic and must be avoided. Go slow with glutamine if you feel these symptoms or look for other ways to heal leaky gut: zinc, fish oil, colostrum etc.

  60. Hi, I loved your article and thank you for the great info! I have some kind of autoimmune issues with positive ANA and SSA, but my rheumatologist said I don’t have symptoms of lupus, Sjogren’s or RA. To heal my leaky gut, my health coach had told me to take 1 T of l-glutamine first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I also try to drink the juice if a lemon with water each morning on an empty stomach. I took them at the same time but then had to wait 1 hr to have my 1 cup of coffee. You say to take the l- glutamine with food. I’m confused! Please enlighten me! Thanks!

    • Hi Marthe – thanks for asking!

      Steve and Jordan recommend l-glutamine with food as their research indicates the absorption of l-glutamine (amino acid) will be aided by other amino acids (in the food you ate).

      Steve recommends you take it at the end of meal in the smallest amount of water needed to dissolve the l-glutamine.

      We recommend you consult with your practitoner if you have any questions about when to take l-glutamine 🙂

  61. Actually, the science IS quite clear on one reason why some people can not tolerate L-Glutamine, its the same reason those same people can not tolerate Glutamate, MSG and all the plethora of hidden sources of it, GABA imbalance.

    Glutamine is very important for Brain Health, but it HAS to be in balance with Gaba otherwise it excites brain cells too much, and they will burn out. This is why Brain Fog is a very common reaction to taking it, and to eating many foods, Glutamate ramps up too much in the Brain and if not properly opposed over excites brain cells = Brain Fog.

    I used to think L-Glutamine was not part of the MSG/Glutamate picture, until my own Gaba receptors were damaged thanks to Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, now I can not tolerate MSG, Glutamate OR L-Glutamine sadly, and I know my gut is leaky too so I have tried with pure L-Glutamine (and even L-Glut mixed in supplements) and it results in Brain Fog every time, maybe in the future I will be able to use it again, or maybe I will have to take Gaba before taking it, have not tried this yet. I can tell you though I have successfully brought myself out of terrible terrible Glutamate induced Brain Fog episodes by taking Gaba, it can work as fast as 25 minutes. L-Theanine is supposed to help with this as well.

    • Wow, Dave that is really interesting. This just goes to show that each person has to experiment on their own and see what works for them. There is no miracle cure-all supplement.

      There are a lot of reasons why a person might not be able to tolerate l-glutamine, and this is definitely a possbiility.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

    • Hi Christina! Thanks so much for commenting 🙂 I’m really glad this was useful to you!

      You should check out Steve and Jordan’s Solving Leaky Gut program, which includes their full protocols. The best way to learn more is to sign up for the free webinar by following the link at the end of this article!

  62. In registering the comments above about GAD mutations and GABA, there is a further consideration which I should have mentioned which has obvious central nervous system implications.
    If the GAD enzyme is mutated and downregulated in its function, then any increased consumption of the glutamine precursor can lead to build-up of glutamate in the CNS. Glutamate is a known excitotoxin, but it is also a necessary excitatory neurotransmitter.
    It is well known that glutamate, the excitatory neurotransmitter, and GABA, the inhibitory neurotransmitter, play off of one another, hopefully in a healthy and feel-good balance.
    In what seems to be a ubiquitous issue of multiple GAD enzyme allele SNP’s, it is a plausible hypothesis that the “sweet spot” of glutamine intake referred to in the main article is affecting this critical balance of glutamate and GABA in a positive manner in many individuals. In other individuals who use it who experience untoward effects, I suspect that GAD allele SNPs are also at play. The array of GAD SNPs which I see can be many or few, and can be a combination of heterozygous and/or homozygous mutations. Furthermore, these SNPs can be associated with a variety of other neurotransmitter mutations which respond to excess glutamate, such as the DAOA mutation (D-amino acid oxidase activator) which is very glutamate sensitive.
    I often measure levels of GABA, serotonin, glutamate, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in order to help discern what all of the different kinds of neurotransmitter SNP’s are creating from client to client in terms of their actual neurotransmitter levels.
    The use of high dose glutamine is very interesting and helpful information, and I appreciate learning more about this.

    • So interesting! My initial response yesterday taking 0.5 g was racing heart and anxiety which I don’t need help with getting! Ugh! So I tried again this morning and here we are again same symptoms! So I’m guessing my crazy lil brain isn’t going to cooperate with this supplement and I’m going to need a different route to heal my gut!

  63. Thank you for the helpful article about glutamine considerations.
    One mechanism of glutamine’s effect on central nervous system function is that it is the precursor molecule for the formation of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) which is the calming neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter will have effects on cravings.
    Most of my clients have genetic SNP’s in their Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) enzyme. The GAD enzyme is the enzyme which functions to transform glutamine into GABA.
    By flooding the GAD enzyme with the glutamine substrate, GABA production is enhanced.
    The GAD enzyme allele mutation is present in everyone I have run genetic testing on, and so the penetrance of some kind of GAD allele mutation is 100%, at least in the many clients who have done such testing (www.23andMe.com) to date.

  64. Michal Strozyk says:

    Dear Steven,
    Sorry but I don’t think that L-glutamin has to be converted to the glucose to be energy source. This is the fuel for “cut” (or “impaired”) citric acid cycle (for mitochondria), converted to ketoglutaral and there farther, very good symptom that mitochondria doesn’t work properly and they must consume L-glutamine instead produce it (impaired metabolism).
    Let me know your opinion.
    Best regards
    Michal Strozyk

  65. This is great information. I have been taking L-Glutamine as well and it has helped greatly with cravings and I like that it is gut healing. However, my cortisol levels are really low and I am wondering if Glutamine is not good for me to take. Would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks so much.

    • Hi Kathleen –

      Steve and Jordan’s research shows that the body’s systems (the digestive system, adrenal system, etc.) are all interconnected and adrenal fatigue symptoms like low cortisol can be a sign or root cause of leaky gut. We recommend you work with your doctor to correct your low cortisol levels- you can also attend Steve and Jordan’s free webinar (the link to register is at the end of this article) to learn more about what they suggest for low cortisol + leaky gut!

      We recommend you consult with your doctor or practitioner if you have any corners about adding in any supplements, too!

  66. I’ve been using organic gelatine twice a day in warm fruit juice to get my l-glutamine fix – it seems to be having a positive effect overall and i’ve been in remission from crohn’s for a good six months now. How does gelatine compare to just l-glutamine – there seems to be lots of other amino acids and stuff in the breakdown on the label – is this a better more natural source?

    • Gelatin is a great source of important amino acids – that’ why its an important food on the SCD Diet. If gelatin is working for you (congrats on Crohn’s remission!) then we say you should continue with it!

      Thanks for commenting!

  67. I was taking L-Glutamine & found that it really helped me to sleep & other things, but it made my constipation worse. As I have a rectal prolapse, constipation is not good, so I have had to stop it, but have gone downhill since stopping it. I really really want to be able to take it though. Do you have any tips on how to stop it causing constipation? Even a very small dose seems to constipate me & I do drink plenty of water. At the moment though, I take it before a meal in a large glass of water. Would taking it after a meal make any difference do you think?

    • Hi Chirstine, thanks for commenting.

      Taking it after a meal is worth a try, but it’s possible l-lgutamine just isn’t the right supplement for you.

      You could try slowly working up a higher dose as well.

      We also recommend these steps for fighting constipation: http://scdlifestyle.com/2011/10/ibs-c-naturally-heal-constipation/

      We don’t advise you continue l-glutamine if it’s making you constipated. There are lot of other great supplements that can help heal your gut if l-glutamine doesn’t work for you. We recommend you join the webinar to learn more about what Steve and Jordan suggest!

      • I read glutamine controls ph
        If yours are off certain ph favor bad bacterial conditions
        When ph is corrected to much expelling could cause that as a symptom . That’s what I exp if I usually start a new probiotic or enzyme at first. They also alter ph conditions

    • Hi Christine, I am a bit surprised nobody said this yet, but drinking a large glass of water before your meal (or during/right after a meal) isn’t a good idea and might contribute to your constipation. It dilutes your stomach acid which stops your food from being properly digested. There are enzymes in your stomach acid that predigest the food before moving into your bowel (along with the acid itself to break it down to small enough pieces), when the acid is too diluted there are less enzymes to go with your food resulting in bad digestion- i guess for some this will lead to diarrhea and for some constipation. I’ve read that it’s better to wait at least 20/30 minutes before you eat when you drank water, and wait for about an hour after eating. Chewing your food really well also helps to aid digestion, because doing so your saliva will add important digestive enzymes as well.

    • Hi Renae – some people experience brain fog when they take l-glutamine.

      If this happens to you, we recommend lowering your dose, and if that doesn’t help, not using l-glutmaine right now. It may not be the right supplement at this time.

  68. Thanks for the article. I have leaky gut and minor Hashimotos which I’m treating with diet/lifestyle changes, MSM, probiotics and other supplements. I’m getting there, making progress.
    I was thinking about taking L-Glutamine as well but I was put off by an article in the Mercola site (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/05/01/glutamine.aspx) where they take about the danger of Excitotoxins when taking L-Glutamine.
    Can the author (and others) please comment on this?

    • Hi Bob, thanks for commenting and sharing the interesting link.

      Steve and Jordan support using l-glutamine as a gut healing supplement (this is what Mercola says in the article, too!), but it definitely isn’t right for everyone. If you are worried about using it, we recommend you consult with your doctor. If you try it and have an adverse reaction (like brain fog, for example) we don’t recommend you continue with it.

      We encourage you to keep doing your own research and being your own health hero!

      • Thanks Mariel. I think I’ll try it early next year, in very small dosages as this and other articles recommend.
        From my research, it seems like doing the other things first to heal a leaky gut (gluten free with lots of veg, MSM, probiotics, cut out/down sugar etc) is the first thing to try for some time, then at a later point try the glutamine to get that final healing of the gut. Anyway, that’s how I understood things. I hope that about right.

        • Hi Bob – that sounds like a solid plan to me 🙂 The best approach is always to test it and see what works well for you!

          If you want to learn more, I recommend you check out the free webinar (link is at the end of this article!)

    • Hi Dori, thanks for asking!

      L-Glutamine in powdered form is derived by fermentation. Steve and Jordan recommend Jarrow (it’s widely accessible, fairly priced, and they trust the brand for this supplement) and it’s also produced by fermentation and free of common allergens

      I think the brand you chose just plays up the fact that it’s produced by fermentation- any high-quality l-glutamine likely is.

      If you have an adverse reaction to the l-glutamine, we recommend first lowering your dose, and if that doesn’t help, eliminating it and seeing how you do.

  69. L-Glutamine is amazing for cravings. I have cravings right after the dinner meal. Tried the L-Glutamine 5g. and with amazing results, the cravings died on just a 5g. dose. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for helping me overcome this battle for cravings.

    Blessings,
    Pat

  70. I have used Powder L-Glutamine for years because my husband is into body building and he kept telling me how it helped him to repair his muscles. I always recommend it to people and was wondering why there weren’t many studies showing how it helps to repair tissue in our bodies. L-Glutamine, colostrum, Slippery Elm Bark, Omega 3, vitamins and a clean diet; and I have been in remission for years now!

    • Hi, Brenda. I’ve been taking Glutamine on an empty stomach for a few months now. But I was wondering how did you take L-Glutamine, with food, without food? And did you mix it with Slippery Elm; since it’s mixed with water. And, I’ve heard not to take it with to much water.

      • Slippery elm should not be taken with a supplement or meds. It should be taken 2 hours before or after any supplements or meds. It can cause your supplements and meds to not work as they should.

  71. Wow, take it WITH food? This goes against everything I learned about taking G, it’s always been the theory that you have to take it away from food bcs amino acids from food would compete and thus prevent G from being absorbed… Are you guys sure?

    • Hi Kira – there are definitely proponents of taking it with and without food.

      The idea of taking it without food is that it’s better absorbed without competiton from other amino acids.

      The idea behind taking it with food is that it is better absorbed with other amino acids AND it helps if you get an upset stomach from supplements, too.

      We recommend you try it both ways if you’re concerned and see what way works better for you!

  72. Everything I’ve heard suggests taking glutamine with meals if you’re trying to digest it and use it for muscle building.

    If you’re using it for gut repair you want to take it on an empty stomach. That allows the glutamine to be absorbed directly by the stomach lining and also by the intestinal walls when they’re not as busy with digestion, and when the glutamine doesn’t need to compete with other food for absorption.

    One recommendation: put 20 g in a water bottle and sip it away from meals. That will give a steady supply of the amino acid to the gut in case it’s getting digested away.

    One thing glutamine does is to turn into glutamate / glutamic acid in neurons. Those are excitatory neurotransmitters and would be responsible if you feel anxious or overly excited after taking glutamine.

    Glutamine is not usually converted into glucose. It can be turned into glucose through gluconeogenesis if you take more than your body needs, but that’s a secondary function, not the primary mechanism for action.

    The glutamine is used in the gut as a building block to repair tissue, and it also increases mucosal secretions.

  73. I’ve been chronically ill for just over 20 yrs. & it hit me like a ton of bricks when I was in the prime of my life. Hard to believe I’ve suffered that long but what’s more amazing is that when I started praying about it I was led to L-Glutamine of all things. The minute I took it, my body was screaming YES! So, for me it’s been a total lifesaver. I also agree with what you said about it being “one player on the team”, albeit a major player!! I decided to go totally grain free 8 months ago and everyday I’m seeing new signs of life. I recognize now that my body didn’t totally break down overnight, therefore, the healing process can sometimes seem slow. But for anyone who is still struggling, I would highly recommend giving this amino acid a try!!!!!

    • So glad you found something that helps you, Lynn!

      We always say, you didn’t get sick overnight and you’re unlikely to get better overnight – healing is a journey! Patience and perseverance are important tools! Keep pressing on 🙂 It sounds like you’re making great progress!

    • It was floored when I seen your comment about praying and you were then led to L-glutamine…me too! I am chronically ill with Celiac, A progressive form of RA, and fibromyalgia just to name a few of my biggest problems. As I was exhausted one afternoon and my body riddled with pain I cried out to God to please help me. I was nearly immediately led to a website that stated that almost people with RA were deficient in L-glutamine. I didn’t have any on hand but I did have a bottle of NOW Foods brand complete amino acids, so that is what I took. I took one and then another about a half hour apart and I then could feel my head clear and the excruciating pain leave my feet that I had endured all winter. I had already known that if I “cheated” on my GF diet it would cause terrible flare ups with the RA so I had already removed all the gluten, but that just quite wasn’t enough. Praise God for us finding what we needed to help heal us! I pray everybody with autoimmune diseases finds this useful information.
      PS I am also now juicing and it is giving me the endurance I have been lacking for years!

  74. Same as Jessica, I had been taking L-Glutamine at 5g dosage. Done this first thing in the Morning with a little water. Did not notice any particular results except when it had helped to speed up my recovery after a bad sunburn. Overall, I had a great success with the SCD supplements protocol (purchased a 2 months supply of NuMedica supplements). I am also taking Ubiquinol and Ovation. Now I’ll try to raise the dosage of L-Glutamine, take if with food, and see how it works. In the mean time, I want to share, that I found another amazing way of healing my gut taking Great Lakes gelatine. I experimented with hydrolyzed type and the original one, and noticed that even though the one from the red can is harder to take, it has a much more pronounced effect really making a difference in digestion. I am even off digestive enzymes so well it works. The most important thing in all of that, to never give up and continue looking and trying! This took me 5 years to get better before I stumbled over this web site.

    • I am so glad to hear about your health. Please any advise could help. I am trying to take l glutamine on an empty stomach and the side effects have been awful. I want to try with food, but everyone swears it needs to be empty stomach. I have gut inflamation and many other other heath problems no matter how clean grain free, dairy free eating 7 small times a day I do. I am lost. Please help

          • Hi Carol – L glutamine is one of those supplemnts that not everybody tolerates well. There are other things you can do to heal the gut, though! For now, you can omit it (if it’s just an intolerance you can come back to it) and in the meantime stick with your other supplements and your customized diet.

      • I’ve been battling leaky gut for a couple of years now. When I was first diagnosed the l-glutamine worked great. No reactions, and along with a restricted diet I improved quickly to the point it was much easier to live with. Without going into details, I had things get steadily worse from about October to February, and went back to the naturopath who immediately put me back on l-glutamine. This time I had a really bad reaction to it–rash across my torso. We tried slippery elm, same thing. I’ve gone to a really low dose in pill form plus some bone broth and a mild rash is still there. Any reason why I’d be reacting to any supplement that will help? I have been having it on an empty stomach. Any ideas of something else to try? Thanks.

        • Wendy – I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through 🙁 If you’re reacting to everything, you’re probably having some detox issues.

          Steve suggests first and foremost making sure you poop, pee, and sweat every day to help support your body in detoxing. If you’re not pooping every day, here are some tips: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/real-food-tips-constipation/

          You might also consider a couple supplements to support the body in detoxing – NAC and glutathione. Steve discusses his glutathione experience here: http://scdlifestyle.com/2014/06/most-stressful-time-of-my-life/

          • Hi Mariel,
            I knew glutathione was very pwerful in detoxing. But it was available in injectio ( costly and time consuming) or in different pill forms (still very costly) until I found a sublinguinal form that is very cheap. I don’t have the brand name in frong of me but you can find it quickly with a gogle search. Buy it iherb, amazon, some stores. It made a huge difference for me. Bentonite clay is also a toxins absorbent. Reading this post I realized that I need to correct my intake in glutamine. Also organic chicken broth refuce inflamation.
            Good luck and continue your search. It took me eight years to understand all the pieces of the puzzle.

        • I know you asked this question a long time ago about l glutamine , slippery elm and rashes but I had the same problem and it was due to a histamine and oxalate intolerance. I cut out all high oxalate foods and went on a low histamine diet and now I am hugely better. Hope his helps.

      • Try chicken broth or beef bone broth. Make it yourself and cook it for 24 hours on a slow cooker. Drink two cups or more of that everyday. You will see huge improvements in ur gut.

    • I try to make bone broths often for gelitan. Wondering about taking l-glute with food though. Amino acids compete with other for absorption so I always take it with an empty stomach.

    • Hi, I’ve just brought some l-glutamine (coeliac) and I already have Great Lakes gelatin but I find it hard to take – any advice, recipes? Mines always gritty and hard to swollow. Thanks

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