Glutamine Benefits & Side Effects

by Travis Hlavka

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found naturally in your body and is a building block of protein. It’s produced in the muscles and the body can make plenty for its normal needs. In general you get enough glutamine without needing to supplement. However, extreme stress like heavy exercise or injuries may cause your body to require more glutamine than it can produce naturally.

Alternative name: L-Glutamine

Glutamine Dosing

Adults should not take more than 40g of glutamine per day. I take about 10g/day of glutamine on workout days only. My homemade preworkout drink has about 5g and my homemade postworkout drink has about 5g.

Glutamine Benefits

Athletes who train at high intensity may reduce the amount of glutamine in their bodies causing the immune system to become weak and cause susceptibility to catching a cold. Some experts believe that glutamine plays a role in immune support and one study showed fewer infections in athletes that used glutamine. However, athletes that work out at a moderate intensity did not have the same benefit.

What’s the take away on intensity here? Give it 113% every time you wokout!

Also, researchers from the Department of Anatomy and Physiology in the United Kingdom (http://www.dpag.ox.ac.uk/) reported that when 8 grams of glutamine was added into a 330 ml glucose polymer solution and administered to subjects after exhaustive exercise, plasma glutamine concentration was increased and whole body nonoxidative glucose disposal was also enhanced by 25%.

What? Basically, they are saying you can speed up the time it takes to recover from your workout by taking glutamine after your workout.

It’s also used for depression, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and even used to help attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and alcohol withdrawal.

Glutamine Side Effects

Glutamine is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults and children when taken orally, but potential side effects are unknown.

I have never noticed any side effects from taking 10g/day on workout days. However, I am not a scientist or a doctor so be sure to do your own research and talk to your physician before supplementing glutamine.

Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of glutamine during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Severe liver disease with difficulty thinking or confusion (hepatic encephalopathy): Glutamine could make this condition worse. Don’t use it.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) sensitivity: If you are sensitive to MSG, you might also be sensitive to glutamine, because the body converts glutamine to glutamate. (I am not sensitive to MSG, but I did go on a ramen noodle eating binge for a couple weeks and trust me, MSG is not something you want to eat too much of. Duh, that’s obvious right?)

Mania, a mental disorder: Glutamine might cause some mental changes in people with mania. Avoid use.

Seizures: There is some concern that glutamine might increase the likelihood of seizures in some people. Avoid use.


BodyBuilding.com – How Glutamine Benefits Training
BodyBuilding.com – Glutamine Supplementation
University of Maryland Medical Center – Glutamine
WebMD – Glutamine

Travis Hlavka (9 Posts)

I may act like a 12yr old a lot of the time, but that's because I have a genetic defect that will not allow me grow up. HOWEVER, I do take strength training and fitness very seriously and I love using what I know to help others reach their fitness goals and avoid the bazillion mistakes I've made in my 25+ yrs of training. Since I don't know everything, I never stop learning. Note: I am no longer a "certified" trainer, but I truly understand more about fitness and health now than I ever did with that official piece of paper.

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