Can L-Glutamine really help with your leaky gut? There are so many fancy supplements out there that promise the world and deliver nothing. Thankfully this simple 1-ingredient supplement delivers on its word.
Whenever people get the ‘desert island’ question they usually hum and haw about what they’d take. Maybe their favorite book. Or family photo album. Or perhaps their loved one.
Not me. I’ve already chosen my one thing. That’s right. It’s L-Glutamine!
In fact, I’m almost serious. You see, I always have a small tub of high quality, pure L-Glutamine powder with me. Even when I travel. It’s such a simple thing and yet I find it has such a profound impact on my gut health.
And whilst there are all kinds of expensive supplements and medications out there for supporting intestinal health, this 1-ingredient supplement seems to be king for me.
Now it’s all good for me to say “it works”, you should try it. But before you do, I think it’s important for us to look at why it works and exactly how it can help you repair your leaky gut.
P.S. and if you want my entire step-by-step system for tackling leaky gut, download the FREE ebook here.
Why L-Glutamine works for leaky gut…in plain English
So as you probably know leaky gut happens when your gut lining is too permeable, aka intestinal hyperpermeability. Meaning things that shouldn’t go through your gut lining and into your bloodstream, do.
Well, L-Glutamine helps strengthen the gut lining so this doesn’t happen. Here’s how:
L-Glutamine is 1 of 20 amino acids. But unlike many of the other amino acids, it is unique, because it is the primary fuel used by the cells in your gut lining. They love it! So much so that they’re actually able to absorb it directly. Which makes supplementation even more effective.
And since it is their preferred source of fuel these cells, lining the mucosa of the small intestine, consume it ravenously in order to repair and regrow themselves.
By feeding these cells the fuel they love, your body is able to produce more intestinal mucus and Secretary Immunoglobulin Type A (SIgA), as well as tighten up the openings in your gut lining themselves, thereby stopping things like large undigested food molecules and other toxins crossing the gut barrier and into your bloodstream (ie stopping leaky gut).
When the gut barrier strengthens like this, the inflammation in your body starts to slow down since fewer and fewer toxins are successfully hitting your bloodstream. Plus your immune system starts to enjoy some relief – and unsurprisingly it is able to strengthen. And that’s when you really start to enjoy the benefits that come from the repairing effects of L-Glutamine.
As you can see taking L-Glutamine is all about feeding your gut with the fuel it needs to be strong. Kind of the same way athletes and gym goers take protein powder to feed and support their muscles.
The great thing about L-Glutamine is it also works to support your overall health. For example it helps remove waste such as ammonia from your system, synthesizes proteins and even helps your body maintain stable blood glucose levels.
Because of the many and varied powers of L-Glutamine, unsurprisingly it is also used to support several other conditions too. For example, people with sugar or alcohol cravings have been known to use it to reduce said desire.
For such a simple 1-ingredient supplement it sure does offer a lot of benefits.
Do I need to supplement or are glutamine-rich foods and protein powder good enough?
I eat a lot of foods high in glutamine like chicken, beef, fish, avocado and spinach, and I consume a daily protein drink, which contains approx 3-4g of glutamine. Isn’t this good enough?
Well, not really. For starters, when glutamine is taken alongside other amino acids (in food or in protein shakes), it has to compete for uptake in the body. So expecting all the benefits of glutamine to accrue whilst you ask it to duke it out with other amino acids is not realistic.
But for normal people without GI issues, glutamine through food and protein shakes may suffice.
By contrast, for those of us looking to support our gut health, higher doses of AND more pure sources of glutamine are needed.
Let’s take a look at exactly how much glutamine you should supplement with.
How much L-Glutamine should you take for leaky gut?
If you Google around you might see some people complaining that L-Glutamine doesn’t work for their leaky gut.
But here’s the thing…
…Whenever I dig into their leaky gut protocol, I usually discover they’re only taking 1-2g of L-Glutamine a day.
You see, most of these people decided to buy L-Glutamine in capsule form and on the label of these bottles it is often recommended to just take 1-2 x 1g capsules.
Unfortunately, this dose simply does not work for those with leaky gut. In fact, I’d argue it is not even good enough as a long term maintenance dose.
So why do these bottles recommend such a low dose?
Well, most L-Glutamine supplements are marketed towards athletes and weight lifters, who use L-glutamine to help their bodies and muscles recover after intense training.
For them, a 2g dose of L-Glutamine after training and before they go to bed (on training days) works. It gets the job done.
But if you are looking to repair your gut lining, you need to feed your intestinal tract more L-Glutamine. Like a lot more!
There are several L-Glutamine protocols out there for this.
One of the most popular protocols was pioneered by Charles Poliquin, a world class athletics training authority. His suggestion is to take 80g of glutamine a day for 5 days, then to taper off to a long term dose of 10-20g.
During the 5 day megadose phase, Poliquin recommends that you take the L-Glutamine in small sub-doses throughout the day. For example, 10g (2 heaped teaspoons), every hour or so.
I personally think that is a tad too aggressive. Both the megadose amount and the long term maintenance dose.
Instead, I find it much better to work up to a megadose of 30 g over 3 days. Then to sit on 30 g for 4 days. Then taper off to a smaller long term dose of 5-10g a day – depending on how well you recover. I personally stick at 10g a day when using L-Gluatmine for more than a week – almost as an insurance policy of sorts.
During the first 3 ‘build up’ days you go from 10 to 20 to 30g.
The reason I love this build up is it gives your body a chance to get used to the L-Glutamine and see how it sits with you. Many people find going from 0 to 80g basically overnight can play a little havoc with their stomach.
If you dose per my protocol you shouldn’t experience any noticeable stomach problems. But you sure will notice the L-Glutamine working (in a good way).
Once again though, make sure you spread your dose throughout the day. So what I would do during the 30g days, is 1 heaped teaspoon (5g) in a small glass of water every 1-2 hours.
But of course this might not be convenient for you. In which case taking 2 heaped teaspoons (10g) when you wake up, before lunch and before dinner will work too.
Either way, you can look forward to the positive effects of L-Glutamine kicking in very soon since the cells can take up glutamine powder very easily and the gut itself can regenerate fast.
With all that said I do recommend you consult with your doctor before commencing a L-Glutamine protocol like the above. As some people do NOT respond well to L-Glutamine, either in large or small doses.
I also recommend you pair such a protocol with a leaky gut supportive diet. You can see my exact approach to tackling leaky gut in this free guide here.
The single most important thing you need to know about supplementing with L-glutamine
You can follow my protocol above and still not get results. Seriously.
And when I hear from readers who unsuccessfully used the L-Glutamine protocol I always find out the same reason.
They took L-Glutamine with food.
That’s a big no no. As I talked about above, you want to consume pure L-Glutamine and by itself, so the body can take it up easily. I.e. the L-Glutamine is not having to compete with other amino acids.
So just make sure you are taking it in between meals on an empty stomach.
One other big no no is mixing L-Glutamine in hot or warm drinks.
Unfortunately, heat denatures L-Glutamine and thus diminishes the effectiveness of it. (This is another reason to store your L-Glutamine in a cool dark place).
It seems a small minority of readers have tried adding glutamine to their Bulletproof Coffees, or coffees in general. Some even in their tea. And understandably have told me they are not experiencing great results.
So I wanted to make sure this point is clear. No hot glutamine-infused drinks por favor!
Best L-Glutamine supplement for leaky gut
The most important thing to look for in a L-Glutamine supplement is the form it comes in, i.e. capsules v powder.
Because if you are going to be taking high doses of glutamine you do not want to buy it in capsule form. After all, who would want to swallow 30 (1g) pills of glutamine a day?!
So powder is the way to go. Especially since it is also going to be easier for your body to digest. Which is particularly important if your digestive system is already in poor health.
Now, when it comes to L-Glutamine powders, you want to search out one that is…
- Highly absorbable – unfortunately, a lot of L-Glutamine products are designed for body builders and so they cram all kinds of other amino acids into them. Which is great if you’re trying to look like a mini Arnold Schwarzenegger, but not so great if you’re looking for gastrointestinal support. For optimal absorption, L-Glutamine by itself and in free form is the way to go.
- Mixes easily – L-Glutamine can often clump making it hard to drink. So a blend that mixes with just a spoon is preferred. No need to carry your Nutribullet everywhere!
- Unflavored & odorless – for some reason a lot of L-Glutamine supplements, especially those mixed with other ingredients, tend to include a heavy dose of flavors to mask the taste and odor. Often they’re artificial ingredients or other sweeteners that can cause gastric distress. So a formula without them is best.
- Convenient size – most L-Glutamine fans like to take it often. Which makes those 2 pound tubs locked away in some cupboard at home pretty inconvenient. Ideally you have a nice size tub you can keep nearby at all time and travel with.
- No fillers – surprisingly when you read the ‘Other Ingredients’ section of many L-Glutamine powders they include ingredients all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients. Who knows why. Look for a L-Glutamine powder that doesn’t even have an ‘Other Ingredients’ section. That’s when you know it is good.
- 100% L-Glutamine – if you look at the amount of L-Glutamine per serve in ‘leaky gut support’ powders, you’ll often find only 1-2g. This is well short of most people’s preferred 5g target per serve. So check the label dosing guidelines carefully.
Unsurprisingly, it can be hard to find a L-Glutamine supplement that ticks all the boxes above.
That’s why I got together with my research team at Essential Stacks and created Clean L-Glutamine (currently available in USA only).
It is a high quality, bioavailable L-Glutamine powder designed for people looking to support their gut health and NOT for those trying to look like mini Arnold Schwarzeneggers.
That means it is free-form L-Glutamine (highly absorbable), mixes easily, super easy to take and comes without gut-irritating nasties like artificial flavors, sweeteners and fillers.
I think you’ll really love it. In fact, I know you will, because it is the #1 supplement readers tell me made THE difference for them.
And let’s not forget it is also my desert island companion (my family will love reading this article!).
If you live in the US, you can buy this L-glutamine powder here on Amazon.
Whilst for my international readers, rest assured, I’m working hard to make it available worldwide.
Just before we end, it’s worth remembering that whilst L-glutamine will help feed your gut the fuel it loves, you should also consider:
- Digestive enzymes for breaking down your food, as this reduces inflammation since large food particles will get broken down before they hit your gut, and it increases nutrient absorption allowing the gut to get better faster.
- Probiotics for rebuilding your gut flora.
Whilst it is hard to get enough L-Glutamine and digestive enzymes from food alone, it is possible with probiotics, eg sauerkraut.
So if you’re not a big fan of supplements, then consider eating your probiotics and supplementing your L-Glutamine and digestive enzymes.
Want a simple solution for your leaky gut that actually works?
Stop Googling till 3am, reading dozens of blogs or buying expensive courses. Instead, just download my FREE leaky gut recovery guide (PDF) below. Everything you need to know to is in this simple step-by-step guide.